Pennsylvania court rules making ‘gunlike hand gesture’ is a crime after man, 64, was convicted for pointing his fingers at a neighbor during an argument
- Stephen Kirchner, 64, was seen on home surveillance making the hand gesture
- He made the gesture after an argument with a neighbor in June 2018
- The neighbor and others who witnessed it felt ‘threatened’ and called police
- Kirchner was found guilty of disorderly conduct but appealed the verdict
- The case was reviewed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court which ruled on Tuesday, August 27 that it was a ‘crime’
- Kirchner was ordered to pay a $100 fine and court costs
A man who made a ‘gunlike hand gesture’ at a neighbor during an argument committed a crime, according to a new court ruling.
Stephen Kirchner of Lancaster County was caught on home surveillance footage making the hand gesture at a male neighbor after the argument on June 7, 2018.
Court documents say that Kirchner and his girlfriend were walking by the neighbor’s home when the incident occurred.
The 64-year-old reportedly, ‘stopped, made eye contact with [the neighbor], and then made a hand gesture at him imitating the firing and recoiling of a gun.’
Kirchner can be seen making the gesture in a video shared by WGAL.
Kirchner(pictured) and the neighbor have a history of confrontations and the neighbor felt threatened enough to install six home security cameras
The neighbor felt ‘extremely threatened’ by the gesture and nearby residents who witnessed the hand gesture called authorities
The neighbor had reportedly installed six home surveillance cameras due to ongoing confrontations with Kirchner.
The girlfriend had a ‘no contact’ order against the male neighbor at the time of the incident, according to court documents.
It’s not clear what those confrontations were about, or what the argument was about in this case.
But during the incident, the male neighbor felt ‘extremely threatened’ by the gesture, as did nearby residents who called authorities.
One neighbor witnessed the confrontation from her front porch, confirming that Kirchner ‘put his finger up like he was going to shoot him’.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled on Tuesday that Kirchner’s (pictured) hand gesture was a crime
Kirchner (pictured) was given a citation for disorderly conduct, a $100 fine and tasked with paying court costs
She felt ‘insecure’ about the hand gesture and called police.
Kirchner admitted he made the ‘gunlike hand gesture’ during the initial trial, but said he did so in retaliation to the male neighbor’s own hand gesture.
He claimed the male neighbor ‘gave [him] the finger with both hands.’
Kircher was found guilty and issued a disorderly conduct citation.
The Lancaster County District Attorney Office said in a press release that Kirchner appealed the verdict.
In the appeal on October 27, 2018, he argued the gesture ‘did not cause a hazardous or physically offensive condition, that he did not intend to cause public alarm, and that there essentially was no harm done to the victim or society’.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed the case, but upheld the verdict on Tuesday, August 27.
They say Kircher ‘created a hazardous condition as it risked an altercation’.
‘This act served no legitimate purpose, and recklessly risked provoking a dangerous altercation,’ court documents say.
Kirchner was ordered to pay a $100 fine and court costs.