ACLU sues after Kansas man was ticketed for flashing lights to warn of Missouri speed trap

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued a Kansas City suburb for pulling over a driver for flashing his headlights at oncoming traffic to warn that a speed trap was ahead.

The federal suit was filed on behalf of Jerry L. Jarman Jr., who was ticketed in August in Grain Valley, a town of about 13,000 residents on the eastern edge of Kansas City, for violating a city code that bars against interfering with radar and other speed-checking devices. Ryan Hunt, the interim city administrator for Grain Valley, said he just learned about the lawsuit and was still researching it. He said he couldn't comment about the suit or the ordinance that was being challenged.

The ACLU of Missouri alleges Jarman was "engaged in expressive conduct." The suit said the traffic stop violated his First Amendment right to free speech and Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Jarman, who lives on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area, seeks damages, as well as a court order barring the city from ticketing light-flashing drivers.

The charge was dismissed in October, but the suit said that without a court ruling, Jarman fears he will be penalized in the future. The ACLU said that Jarman wasn't giving interviews.

Earlier this year, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the St. Louis County town of Ellisville from arresting and prosecuting drivers who flash headlights to warn others of nearby police and speed traps.

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