"With limited exceptions not relevant here, even profanity is protected speech," explained a judge for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. "Criticism of law enforcement officers, even with profanity, is protected speech."
Should criticizing the police get you charged with criminal harassment? Not if you didn't make any threats, according to the ACLU and an Adams County man. Nevertheless, the man was charged with harassment in the third degree when he criticized the behavior of an Adams County Sheriff's deputy.
The First Amendment protects us from being prosecuted or persecuted by the government for what we say -- our opinions, our arguments and our rants. That said, not all speech is protected by the First Amendment. Fraud, plagiarism, defamation, perjury and solicitation to commit crimes are all examples of speech that is not protected. Also, incitement to imminent lawless action and true threats fall outside the First Amendment's protection.