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Chicken-Fried News: Orderly conduct




Allen Galbreath sued Oklahoma City after he was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct June 7, 2010.

The former ballet dancer was in Goodholm Park when his behavior — singing, spinning a large stick around, exercising, wearing high heels — frightened Mary Franklin, a woman at the park with her grandchildren.

She called 911.

It turns out Oklahoma City’s municipal code, section 30-81(b) describes disorderly conduct as someone causing “public alarm without justification.”

The charges were later dropped, but Galbreath sued the city because, as his lawyer argued, the ordinance “criminalizes so much conduct that a reasonable person would have to guess at what the ordinance either permitted or forbid.”

Look, we’re not saying that we’re often kicking around the park in high heels, spinning sticks and humming, but it doesn’t sound so disorderly that the police have to get involved. Being weird in public is pretty much all we do here, and none of us get arrested for it.

But a federal appeals court panel doesn’t agree with us.

They upheld the ordinance. So watch out, Oklahoma City! All it takes is one freaked out grandma and you might be sitting in handcuffs, too.

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