Saskatoon driver disputes ticket for flipping 'the finger,' says he was wiping his face

Saskatoon's Kevin Kaufmann says he received a traffic ticket because a police officer thought he was giving "the finger," when he was only wiping his face.

Kevin Kaufmann says he received $150 ticket because officer thought he was making offensive gesture

Kevin Kaufmann points to his traffic ticket with a different finger than the one he says police accuse him of using. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)

A Saskatoon man says he was fingered by police for giving "the finger" — although he maintains he was only wiping his face.

Kevin Kaufmann told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning  that the traffic ticket he received after driving across the Sid Buckwold Bridge following a long day of work was a case of mixed signals. 

"My eye started to kind of water up because I had been covered in sawdust and I was pretty dirty from that day, and all I really did was just a regular old farmer's scratch," said Kaufmann.

According to Kaufmann, moments later he was pulled over by police. He said the stop came as a surprise.

"I was like, 'Hi, is there a problem? I was doing only 65.' And [the officer] really kind of looked confused so he radioed back to see what was going on," said Kaufmann.

Expensive itch

Kaufmann said the officer came back to his window with news he would be issued a $150 ticket for "stunting," because he allegedly extended his middle finger to another officer on the bridge.

"I explained to him that I was just wiping my face, or as some of my friends call [it now], the $150 itch," said Kaufmann.

He said the officer could "clearly see" he was covered in sawdust and wearing coveralls. 

"All he said was, 'I've already discussed this with you so I can't really say anything else. I suggest you show up in court.' And he handed me this ticket."

Police response

Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson Alyson Edwards was unable to comment on the specifics of the case, but explained what constitutes stunting in the eyes of police.

"A stunting ticket is given when a person using the roadway does anything that draws attention to themselves which may cause drivers to take their focus off the road," said Edwards in an emailed statement. 

"If you draw attention to yourself, with whatever behaviour you choose, you could get a stunting [ticket]: spinning tires, honking horns, loud stereo, [a] pedestrian jumping up and down on the sidewalk even," Edwards's statement said.

"If the driver who was ticketed wishes to appear in court to dispute it, he is welcome to do that."

Heading to court

Kaufmann said he intends to fight the ticket.

"I plan on going to court and giving the same story I'm giving to you guys," he said.

"I've been laid off since September. I'm in the trades and there's just no work and $150 for nothing just really hits me hard."

Kaufmann has received traffic tickets in the past, and said this isn't simply an issue of of trying to avoid a fine.

"If I was actually giving the cop the finger and I really felt like it, I would have been like, 'That's fine, thanks for the ticket guys,' and gone and paid it," said Kaufmann.

"But this is ridiculous."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning