An off-duty police officer allegedly beat a cancer patient in a violent road rage incident in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The alleged victim, Tom Trickle, who recently had surgery for brain cancer, recalled the incident to WTHR:
I never saw a badge or he never acknowledged he was a police officer.
Trickle said he crossed the road to talk to his neighbor Robert Turner when “a car came blowing past behind me and he was just laying on the horn. Not giving me any kind of break whatsoever.”
Trickle recalled that he yelled at the car to slow down: “I gave him the bird.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the City of Houston v. Hill that “the First Amendment requires that officers and municipalities respond with restraint in the face of verbal challenges to police action, since a certain amount of expressive disorder is inevitable in a society committed to individual freedom, and must be protected if that freedom would survive.”
Trickle said the man in the unmarked car drove away, but returned about two minutes later and “stopped in the middle of the road.”
Trickle recalled that the driver got out and “stood behind his door and was cussing at me. Of course I became mad and was cussing back at him.”
Turner, the neighbor, said the man in the car “made the comment to Tom, ‘Who in the F do you think you are flipping me off?’ Then Tom said, ‘Who in the F do you think you are speeding down our road?’ The officer came around from behind the door and then it just escalated very quick.”
Trickle added: “Then he said, ‘Get out of my face. He took both hands and just…just blasted me.”
Turner recalled: “The officer took one step back and just went ‘Boom!’ knocked (Trickle) back 8-10 feet. He hit his tailbone he went back and snapped and hit his head, glasses fell off.”
Turner said the man never identified himself as a police officer: “Tom was trying to get up, so he was shoving him back to the ground.”
Trickle recalled: “If he would’ve said, ‘I’m a police officer, it might’ve went a little different, you know?”