Knox County Sheriffs arrested a Vinalhaven man on Tuesday for allegedly giving the finger and spitting toward a crowd that was peacefully protesting a homicide that occurred at his Roberts Cemetery Road home last month.
The Village Soup reported that 27-year-old Dorian Ames was charged with disorderly conduct for the alleged gesture and with violating a condition of release because he was also allegedly carrying an expandable baton. Ames was collecting some belongings when he allegedly made the gesture and spat toward the 30 to 40 protesters at the house, which is where 28-year-old Roger Feltis was stabbed to death on June 14, police have said.
Ames denied giving anyone the bird and that it would not be illegal if he had, according to the Village Soup.
While it is generally defined as speech protected by the First Amendment, the gesture might also violate state law. The Maine Criminal Code defines disorderly conduct as a Class E offense and applies to a person who “knowingly accosts, insults, taunts or challenges any person with offensive, derisive or annoying words, or by gestures or other physical conduct, that would in fact have a direct tendency to cause a violent response by an ordinary person in the situation of the person so accosted, insulted, taunted or challenged.”
Class E crimes are punishable by up to six months incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
Feltis died of a neck wound after police were called to Vinalhaven on a report of a confrontation there between he and Briannah Ames, who suffered a cut hand during the incident and was treated at Pen Bay Medical Center, police have said.
No one has been arrested in connection with the stabbing, and Stephen McCausland, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, declined to comment Wednesday on whether police had any suspects.