Utah Woman Charged with Hate Crime for Stomping on “Back The Blue” Sign

There is a troubling case in Panguitch, Utah where a woman has reportedly been charged with a hate crime for allegedly “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign” at a gas station.  There is a national movement to add attacks on police as a category of hate crime in various states. This case is an example of the serious free speech concerns raised by such prosecutions. Many of us find this conduct to be offensive and obnoxious. However, it is also a classic form of protest and political speech.

The police affidavit states that a Garfield County police officer was conducting a traffic stop for speeding at a gas station when the officer saw a woman “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign next to where the traffic stop was conducted, crumble it up in a destructive manner and throw it into a trash can all while smirking in an intimidating manner towards me.”

The officer confronted the woman and demanded to know where she got the sign. While the woman claimed it was her mother’s., the officer said that the sign was clearly one of those made by the local Sheriff’s Office and thus “she had acquired it in our community.” He then arrested the woman and cited her “inconsistent stories” about where she found the sign.

That would be a pretty weak case of property destruction but the police then added a “hate crime enhanced allegation” due to “the demeanor displayed by [the woman] in attempts to intimidate law enforcement while destroying a ‘Pro Law Enforcement’ sign.”

The charge was brought under Section 76-3-203.3, which states a person who commits any primary offense — such as misdemeanor property destruction — with the intent to “intimidate or terrorize another person or with reason to believe that his action would intimidate or terrorize that person” is subject to a class B misdemeanor primary offense becoming a class A misdemeanor.

As a result, the woman could received up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $2,500.

The case run afoul of the First Amendment and controlling precedent in my view.  We have previously discussed flag burning cases.

In Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is considered one of the core cases defining free speech in the United States. Brennan was joined by Marshall, Blackmun, Scalia, and Kennedy (Kennedy wrote a concurrence). I agree with the decision as did conservatives like Scalia, who Trump has expressed great admiration for. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a powerful concurrence where he famously stated:

Justice Kennedy
Justice Kennedy

“For we are presented with a clear and simple statute to be judged against a pure command of the Constitution. The outcome can be laid at no door but ours. The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result. And so great is our commitment to the process that, except in the rare case, we do not pause to express distaste for the result, perhaps for fear of undermining a valued principle that dictates the decision. This is one of those rare cases.

Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the human spirit. The case here today forces recognition of the costs to which those beliefs commit us. It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt.”

Congress has shown the same opposition to the decision as Trump. It passed the 1989 Flag Protection Act to make it a federal crime to desecrate the flag. That law was struck down in United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).  The Court ruled that “the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

In an interview, the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia explained why flag burning is protected speech:

“If I were king, I would not allow people to go around burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged — and it is addressed in particular to speech critical of the government,” Scalia said. “That was the main kind of speech that tyrants would seek to suppress.”

If the American flag can be burned as protected speech, the same is true with “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ flag.”

Police are asked to perform a public safety role that many would find impossible. They are asked not only to put their lives in jeopardy every day but must also cope with citizens who heap scorn and insults on them. They are symbols of the state and some view them as personifications of systemic racism and violence. As such, they are often the subject of protests.  It takes a great deal of training and discipline to ignore such insults and verbal attacks, but officers do so on a daily basis.

None of this makes the burning or desecration of flags any the less objectionable. Indeed, this week, many of us were appalled by a video of a young boy pulling a flag out of the ground in front of a house and tossing it to the ground — as a woman watched without apparent objection. It is incredibly sad to see a child warped by such hatred. However, this was not a hate crime. It was the destruction of private property, but the penalty cannot be constitutionally enhanced due to the attack on a flag.

Some insults are protected. There are even insults from city governments. For example, in Palo Alto, California, five police officers have filed a lawsuit against the city in Silicon Valley over a Black Lives Matter mural featuring a cop killer. The objection is to the depiction of Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, was convicted in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper. She subsequently escaped prison, fled to Cuba. The lawsuit states “Law enforcement officers, including Plaintiffs, were forced to physically pass and confront the Mural and its offensive, discriminatory, and harassing iconography every time they entered the Palo Alto Police Department.”  National Police Association has petitioned for its removal.

The petition is obviously lawful and itself a form of protected speech. However, while the officers have every reason to be insulted by the mural, they have no legal basis in my view to seek its removal. The city is allowed to speak in ways that are offensive or ill-informed. It is also allowed to create forums for others to engage in such speech.  The remedy in such cases is found in the court of public opinion.

75 thoughts on “Utah Woman Charged with Hate Crime for Stomping on “Back The Blue” Sign”

  1. “Indeed, this week, many of us were appalled by a video of a young boy pulling a flag out of the ground in front of a house and tossing it to the ground — as a woman watched without apparent objection.”

    Just watched it. I have three theories which are not mutually exclusive:
    Mom is a leftist pig;
    Teach is a leftist pig and mom doesn’t know it;
    The boy has behavioral problems and mom was too embarrassed to apologize.

    We may never know which is the case because the justice system will try to protect the minor’s anonymity. I’m good with that.

    Our justice system AS PROVIDED BY OUR CONSTITUTION is benevolent. It is not racist. Its enemies are.

  2. I agree that this is an illegitimate charge but this is what happens as a result of leftists charging their opponents with “hate crimes” for stealing a pride flag or defacing a BLM emblem. There were legal scholars who warned where “hate crime” charges would lead back when this started in the 90’s. Remember this well when these cases were first litigated.

    antonio

    1. A hate crime designation is appropriate, Antonio, where the offensive action is addressed toward an inherent quality someone is born with, but is not appropriate when the action is addressed toward an occupation, such as policeman or lawyer or plumber.

      1. The popular interpretation of “hate crime” is based on diversity [dogma[ (i.e. class-based judgment), inequity, and exclusion. For example: racism, sexism, ageism, genderpbobia… perhaps not the last, or second to last, and other others selectively, opportunistically, when it is politically congruent.

    2. Stealing the light from a parade of lions, lionesses, and their [unPlanned] cubs playing in gay revelry? Defacing a Baby Lives Matter icon, sometimes the baby, too? The bigots.

  3. Suppose you are correct that the right is starting to believe in applying intimidation equally and turnabout is fair play. In that case, it isn’t that many steps for the nation, including the right and many that are center-right and center-left seeing their futures negatively impacted, to turn to increasingly violent measures to protect themselves.

    Your idea, which the vast majority of Americans will support, will mimic the left. This idea has been talked about before. Suddenly there will be a shift in mindset. The ten to 15 metropolises will become isolated islands, and a new type of Jim Crow or KKK will be born. That isn’t good for anyone, especially the islands left to fend for themselves independently.

    I hope something of that type never happens, but the left keeps pushing for it. In the end, if the left succeeds, the oligarchy (essentially a dictatorship) in power will not care about minority status or victimhood. Dictatorships try to satisfy the majority, which by that time will become very self-serving and not be willing to flagellate themselves to prove how Woke they are. They won’t have the resources to satisfy their egos.

    The Marxist-type revolution that many support falls flat as those in power go from first-generation ideologues to second-generation persons who think of what is in it for me. (take note how we saw that with Patrisse Khan-Cullor)

    1. Civil war has already broken out, thanks to the Alt-Left, which encompasses most of the media, half of congress thousand of judges around the country, most of sports, and all of big tech. It’s not if things turn violent, it’s when. There will be an all out war, right vs left, people will take up arms, it’s coming, it’s not a joke, this is not hyperbole, it’s actually going to happen. Wait and see.

      1. There will never be another hot American civil war. Stop your wishful dreaming.

        1. Based on all the erroneous information passed by Jeff Silberman and his inability to provide facts to prove what he believes, why should anyone trust anything he says? At best, what he says can be considered meaningless.

          1. See, there are serious logical gaps in looking at the modern world through the lens of 1860’s thinking. If you can only keep one thing in mind in regard to this, just know that, from a strategic military policy alone let alone the southern poverty stricken states being the biggest tax base deficit pullers, any breakaway states that would result are at an immediate strategic disadvantage in what would be inevitable invasion from all directions. A military industrial complex never likes to lose resources from which to draw from.

            So it might be a good idea to pull down the Confederate flags, use the material from your Klan robes to make a tent or something, and stop doing shots this early in the day.

            eb

  4. “For example, in Palo Alto, California, five police officers have filed a lawsuit against the city in Silicon Valley over a Black Lives Matter mural featuring a cop killer… while the officers have every reason to be insulted by the mural, they have no legal basis in my view to seek its removal.”

    I’m not so sure. In this case, the city of Palo Alto commissioned the mural on public property right next to a police station. Just imagine any community commissioning a portrait of the Grand Wizard of the KKK next to black homes. That would not stand and rightly so.

    What you do with your own property is free speech, but public officials condoning the use of public property to selectively insult or intimidate specific groups within the community is gross misconduct. In a sane world, those officials would be charged with something.

    All this just goes to show how insane and hypocritical the left has become in this country.

    1. You have a point. Frankly there is an argument that the City of Palo Alto can not commission the builtin board at all.

      The board is clear political expression, and the city has not provided a neutral public platform – in which other viewpoints can be expressed.

      Either the police are free to ask the city to commision a board with a message of their chosing – or the board must come down.

      Government can not provide a public forum for speech and then discriminate based on the content of that speech.

      1. John say,

        “ Either the police are free to ask the city to commision a board with a message of their chosing – or the board must come down.”

        The police ARE free to ask, and they did by petition. Realistically that’s all they can do. But what kind of message would that be? The city has bigger problems to deal with. I doubt they will spend money on a counter message next to it. The optics of a police department creating a mural that would be perceived as opposition to Black Lives Matter would be a very counterproductive endeavor.

    2. Diogenes,

      “ What you do with your own property is free speech, but public officials condoning the use of public property to selectively insult or intimidate specific groups within the community is gross misconduct.”

      No it’s not, just because a message or mural, in this case, is on public property and is insulting to a specific group does not mean the government is condoning it. Government is neutral in such matters and being neutral is not supporting or opposing the message or mural. If members of the public apply for and the rules allow for such messages the government is obligated to grant it. It’s the public’s street, they paid for it.

      Just like the confederate statues issue. If you really believe your own statement then you should also be supportive for calls to remove those statues because they were created to selectively insult a specific group.

      “ In a sane world, those officials would be charged with something.”

      Looking for something to charge them with because you found it offensive is exactly why we have the 1st amendment. To be free from government punishment because you offended someone.

  5. Did she kill the sign? Did it have a Pulse? Thank God she didn’t put her knee on the sign posta

    1. Thank God the sign didn’t have advanced (i.e. extremely severe) heart disease (five arteries blocked, three of them 90%), have copious amounts of illegal drugs in it’s system and an enlarged heart. That’s a recipe for heart failure and SCD (sudden cardiac death) should the sign have decided to resist and overexerted itself.

  6. Actually, the “hate crime” laws are violations of the First Amendment. Hatred is an emotion. Laws against hate are attempts to control thought. There are laws against murder, manslaughter, assault, battery and on and on. Hate crime is just another attempt to pacify unpacifable blacks who have been fed a diet of hate since the sixties.

    1. Sam– I agree with you. Well said. I have said several times in comments on this blog that hate crimes should be abolished altogether. They easily morph into any shape one wants. Almost inevitably they become arbitrary, capricious and tyrannical.

      1. Of course hate crimes are a constitutional violation – they are a clear violation of equal protection.

        Sam noted that they punish emotion – I think it is more enhanced punishment of motive than emotion.

        You can not enhance the punishment of a crime – because the victim was wealthy.

        There is no such crime nor could their be constitutionally of agrevated robbery of a wealthy person – or a white person.

        If you expect the rule of law – crimes must be defined by ACTS – not the status of victims or the motives of the offenders.

        Hatred is not even inherently immoral.

        No one whould be chastized for hating Hilter.

        The left constantly attempts to compare all those they do not like to hilter specifically BECAUSE it is acceptable to hate hitler.

        While at the same time the left idiotically and hypocritically posts signs saying “hate not welcome here”.

        That is obviously false. The left is inarguable far more consumed with hatred than any other consequential group in the US.

        If the left was not hypocritical – the relevant question would be whether that hate is justified.
        If half the country were actual nazi’s – that hatred would be justified.

        But they are not – and therefore the real intolerant haters are on the left.

        1. John Say,

          “ The left constantly attempts to compare all those they do not like to hilter specifically BECAUSE it is acceptable to hate hitler.”

          Labeling the left with quite a broad brush aren’t we?

          What you stated is not true. There are SOME elements of the left that have done that, but it is not exclusive to the left. There are those on the right that are guilty of making such accusations.

          “ That is obviously false. The left is inarguable far more consumed with hatred than any other consequential group in the US.”

          Again, false. There are multiple groups from the right that are just as consumed with hatred as those on the right.

          Jan 6. is one glaring example. Groups such as the 3 percenters, the proud boys, boogaloo boys, etc. all are extremely hateful of the left and what they represent. That same hate was present at Trump rallies while the president himself stoked their ire at media, and anyone else who wasn’t a supporter of trumps dogma

          So let’s not pretend that this is solely an issue exclusive of the left.

        2. John say, if you liked the documentary on the Chinese exclusion act this should be interesting as well.

          https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/scholar-carol-anderson-on-the-anti-blackness-coded-into-the-second-amendment/ar-AAM3iPg

          “ In her new book, Anderson, the chair of African American studies at Emory University, shares a history of the Second Amendment that few of us ever heard, arguing that it was included in the U.S. Constitution after demands by slave states for a constitutional right to form militias to put down slave revolts. Anderson details how Virginia’s Patrick Henry and George Mason expressed fears that the federal government would not help them defeat slave uprisings, and demanded that the Second Amendment be included so they could deal with such revolts themselves — an acute concern in the slave-owning oligarchy of that time.”

  7. Equality under the law is something most of the right on this blog understands. The left neither understands the principle nor cares about it.

    1. You are confronting the fundimental problem with CRT – actual CRT – the legal theory, rather than the racist nonsense that is being taught in elementary schools that some on the left like Svelaz try to argue – probably correctly – is NOT CRT. But missing the fact that it is ahistorical religious nonsense that has no place in schools.

      One of the core thesis’s of CRT is that all western law is rooted in racism – and specifically racism targeting blacks.

      This is despite the fact that multi-racial societies were almost non-existant prior to the 19th century.

      In 1800 there were 5000 blacks in England. How many do you think were there at the time of the Magna Carte ?

      Prior to the 18th century slavery was primary the enslavement of the losers in a military conflict by the winners – rarely racial.

      Even the black slavery that has somehow become emblematic of all past slavery – originated from black tribes selling their defeated enemies to slave traders. This started before the first white slave traders and lasted long past the last.

      African warriors continued to sell their defeated enemies – primaruly to the mideast into the 20th century.

      But back to CRT – racial diversity in a nation is a modern development and still primarily western and anglo.

      Contra CRT – it is even today pretty much the west and western law that recognizes any concept of racial equality.

      To the detractors of the west – absolutely the path towards blind justice – has been a racky one – with the west frequently acting hypocritically.

      Americans should be rightly outraged at the racist conduct of our forefathers.
      We should be aghast at their hypocracy. Their failure to live up to their own principles.

      But we should not be blind to the fact that the principles our forefathers could not live up to were exclusively WESTERN principles.

      Even today – very little of the world has significant ethnic much less racial diversity. Within the last few decades Hutu’s were masacring Tutsi’s – two ethnic groups that most people in the world could not tell apart. The chinese are committing genocide against Uighurs.

      The examples of truly diverse nations are exclusively western. And by far the most diverse country is the US.

      I recently watched a documentary regarding the chinese exclusion act in the US.

      Americans went to unbeleiveable lengths to keep the chinese out of this country in the 19th and 20th centuries.

      But the most heinous part of this was that it violated american principles.
      Until extremely recently no countries in the entire world have welcomed immigration – especially ethnically and culturally diverse immigration.

      Those countries in the world that have opened themselves up to significant foreign immigration have experienced serious problems as a consequence.

      Turns out it is incredibly difficult to construct a stable nation from significantly different ethnicities.

      Personally I am actually for nearly open boarders. But I am not blind to the fact that may impose a significant cost.
      Nor blind to the fact that you can not have the social safetynet that we have AND substantial immigration.

      Biden’s border seive will likely bring nearly 2M illegal immigrants to the US in 2020.

      These people are NOT likely to get minimum wage jobs. And if they get government benefits – they will bankrupt the places they go.

      1. John Say,

        “ You are confronting the fundimental problem with CRT – actual CRT – the legal theory, rather than the racist nonsense that is being taught in elementary schools that some on the left like Svelaz try to argue – probably correctly – is NOT CRT. But missing the fact that it is ahistorical religious nonsense that has no place in schools.”

        John, CRT is NOT being taught in schools. That’s the continued fallacy being foisted on gullible parents and politicians by right leaning think tanks because they do not want the issue discussed in the classroom. It’s not racist and it definitely does not teach children that they are inherently racist because of their skin color. These unfounded claims are designed specifically to divide people. It’s obvious the majority of those opposed to CRT have never read the theory’s concepts. They are relying on talking points and “curricula” that has not nor has been taught in schools. You’re already calling it a religion as if it were some sinister dogma.

        The core of the theory is about the racism that was and in some places still is embedded in our laws and even in the constitution itself. You said you watched a documentary on the Chinese exclusion act. I’m sure it was a surprising revelation that such laws were deemed constitutional at the time until it wasn’t. The Chinese exclusion act is exactly the kinds of law CRT forces us to acknowledge. With the black population and slavery it is more nuanced in some areas and more pronounced in others. You at least acknowledge that there are certainly things about our past that Americans should be outraged and that we should be aghast at their hypocrisy. A hypocrisy that still survives to this day. It’s the reason why CRT is so controversial. The idea that such hypocrisy still exists is deemed by those who don’t want to acknowledge it as racist. Such as those who oppose CRT.

        “ Americans went to unbeleiveable lengths to keep the chinese out of this country in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

        Yes they did. The only reason why the Chinese came here was because there was a serious labor shortage and railroads were in danger of not being able to complete their routes. They were paid, but not often by what they deserved. Racism was still rampant at the time and the Chinese were not immune. Later it came down to the Japanese, American citizens.

        CRT points out the racist nature of our nation’s founding and its subsequent growth by noting and analyzing the intent behind those events.

        “ These people are NOT likely to get minimum wage jobs. And if they get government benefits – they will bankrupt the places they go.”

        False, the majority do get minimum wage jobs others go into business themselves. The majority don’t use government benefits. They come here to work. Not sit around and rely on government benefits. That’s just a long running fallacy perpetrated by racists who fear the competition.

  8. For far too long there have been two sets of laws in this country. It is about time for our laws to be enforced equally. In many parts of the country people who display the blue line flag are subject to threats of political violence, while are children our subject to political indoctrination in the name of ‘education.’

    We all owe a debt of gratitude to the police, prosecutors and people of Panguitch who are setting a courageous example for the rest of us.

  9. The whole concept of thought crimes, AKA as “hate crimes” is inherently political. The cop didn’t feel intimidated by the woman, or if he did, he has no business being a cop. She is being charged for offensive thoughts. When asked why blacks were never charged with hate crimes, former AG Eric Holder stated that hate crime legislation was enacted for the benefit of blacks and nobody else. Which appears to be true. I’ve never heard of a black ever being charged with a hate crime against an Asian, despite the clear evidence of racial animus, nor a white. If I were on a jury, I would never go along with a hate crime enhancement. Charge the defendant for his actions, not his thoughts.

    1. The fact is, like it or not, Thought (hate) Crimes have been with us for decades and until the Supreme Court rules otherwise (and as far as I know there are no such cases being petitioned before the court) they aren’t going anywhere so they must be not be applied selectively (i.e. only to white people).

  10. We need a free speech mafia. Then the prosecutors and no names can be shot and shut up for good

    1. Leftists should be shot and shut up for good. All of them, every last one of them, Starting with you.

  11. Professor Steve Franzich , who taught Political Science at the US Naval Academy, used to do a “Rights Survey” with every audience he spoke to about Constitutional rights. The questions were phrased in a general way at the beginning of the survey, and became personal later on. In every audience that he spoke to, including ones where members of the audience had advanced degrees, a majority of the audience would profess to support rights when framed in the abstract, but when framed to include a personal interest, such as preventing Nazis from doing a march down your street, , a majority of the audience would favor restrictions on rights. It doesn’t matter what political affiliation, , people find it harder to support the exercise of rights when there’s a personal connection that would be advantaged by restricting the rights of others.

    1. Today those on the left do not even pretend to support individual rights in the abstract.

      Regardless, none of us have any more rights than those we allow those we disagree with the most.

    2. You speak of mostly of liberals. Conservatives aren’t nearly as likely to restrict others rights, even when they passionately oppose what those people stand for . Sorry, it’s true.

  12. The boy pulling down the flag. Until I looked at the video, I thought the woman who did nothing had no connection to the boy. It is hoped that later the woman educates the boy to respect the property of others.

  13. The time for thugs to be confronted by law enforcement over destruction of public property passed some time ago. We have an absolute right to free speech, but when we allow thugs to take the property of other people and destroy it, we are enabling them to riot and loot as we saw last summer. Where is the line for you? I saw a woman take a MAGA hat from somebody, and violently so… so she could burn it. Is that protected Free Speech?

    I admire your stand for Free Speech, but there are limits that need to be observed in our practice of that Right.

  14. Enrique Tarrio, FBI snitch since 2012, from the Proud Boys, was “arrested” on 1/4/20 for “burning a black lives matter flag” and having some ammunition on him. Of course it was the FBIs way of getting him off the case before 1/6..

    but the premise itself, arresting him for burning a BLM flag… was shocking, and went unnoticed by all

  15. She clearly has the right to do what she did, under numerous precedents supporting symbolic speech (I’m looking at Tinker v. Des Moines -1969). Her case would be even stronger if she had purchased the sign to make a public display IMO. Regardless, there is some potential schadenfreude here

    1. She has the right to stomp on and destroy property that is hers.

      The right to burn a flag in protest – is the right to burn YOUR flag – not someone else’s.

      The office in question does not appear to have adequately established that the woman was destroying someone else’s property.

      Should he be able to establish that – she can and should be charged with destruction of property.

  16. While one has the right under the First Amendment to burn the flag, one doesn’t have a right to burn “my” flag. Many of the burning flag incidents I’ve seen in riots the flags were taken from peaceful protesters and burned.

    1. Yep. Burning or desecrating your own flag is protected speech. Burning or desecrating my flag is larceny. And I might add laws criminalizing thought (“hate”) are odious and IMHO unconstitutional. You criminalize acts, and while “intent” may be an element in that crime, to simply criminalize one’s feelings is ridiculous. But what else do we expect from the Left?

      1. Intent and motive are not the same thing.

        Intent means you acted deliberately knowing what you were doing and that it was likely illegal.

        Intent is a required element of most crimes.

        It is rarely criminal to when you do something bad accidentally.

        Motive is something that juries like to hear.

        You can have a crime without a motive, and you can convict without knowing the motive.
        But juries are far more likely to beleive that a person committed a crime – when there is doubt, when there is a credible motive – especially when that motive is expressed.

    2. Agree 100% You want to burn a flag? Great, it’s your Constitutional Right. Go buy your own and you can burn to your heart’s delight.

  17. Officer shows the same authoritarian tendencies that so many Lefties have shown in previous posts.

    “Smirking in an intimidating manner towards me.”

    Both the officer and the prosecutor need to be punished for abusing their power.

    The country is developing a love of intimidation of anyone with dissenting views.

    1. Naw, it’s about time they are applying the law evenly. This is what us on the right have warned the left about… and now it’s happening to them too. Turnabout is fair play

    2. I tend to presume that the police are authoritarian.

      But even I am not going to accept the remarks of the person being prosecuted regarding the demeanor and mental state of the officer.

      What does
      “Smirking in an intimidating manner towards me.”
      mean ?

      I know what brandishing a weapon is – atleast when it is not being used by a left wing nut.

      smirking in an intimidating manner is just about the most subjective remark I can think of.
      It is neither provable nor falsifiable.

      1. John say, smirking in an intimidating manner is showing intent.

        As you said, “ Intent means you acted deliberately knowing what you were doing.”

        The person being prosecuted observed the smirking as the officer’s intent on doing something he knew he could get away with. Otherwise why would he smirk?

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