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New York Giants Fans Claim Free Speech Violated Over Arrest for Heckling Players

Two New York Giants fans filed a lawsuit claiming that their First Amendment rights were violated when they were arrested during a game at Levi’s Stadium last year for heckling and flipping off players, according to the Mercury News. On Nov. 12, 2017, the Giants were losing to the then-winless San Francisco 49ers in the second half when Kyle and Patrick Flynn, who were seated in the rows closest to the field, started to raise their middle finger at their favorite team, and shout such things as “you (expletive) suck.” 

Santa Clara police officer Nicholas Cusimano told the Flynn brothers to stop, but weren’t aware that “further similar behavior would lead to ejection or arrest,” the suit claims. When they continued to conduct themselves in a similar manner, authorities came over to forcibly remove them from the stadium. Kyle alleges in the suit that he was grabbed and choked by officers before being taken to a temporary holding facility where he was put in a total body restraint.  

Patrick responded to his brother’s arrest by kneeling against the railing. Special Events Officer Theodore Rodgers attempted to free his hand from the railing by striking him with a baton. That’s when Lauren Alcarez tried stepping in. “Ms. Alcarez, who knew that Patrick Flynn had recently broken his left hand, yelled at Rodgers to ‘leave him alone’ and ‘stop hitting him,'” the suit said. “After seeing that Rodgers would not stop hitting Patrick despite her pleas, Ms. Alcarez grabbed the baton.” 

Alcarez was allegedly elbowed by Rodgers, arrested, and like Kyle, taken to a holding facility. As she was being handcuffed, Patrick was pushed over the railing, crashing onto the field where he was pinned to the ground, allegedly tased, and kneed in the face. The video below shows a portion of this altercation as it unfolds.   

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