Society

Teen Gets Ticket For Something That Isn't A Crime

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 19-year-old boy in Brighton, Mich., was given a $200 ticket for venting his frustration near a playground, even though there’s no law against what he said.

“This is f---ing bullshit,” Colin Anderson said under his breath after his friend was ticketed for skateboarding downtown last month.

Standing in the parking lot next to the “Imagination Station,” Anderson said there weren’t any kids in earshot, but the Brighton police officer who heard him issued him a ticket for disorderly conduct.

“What got me to start arguing a little bit, they were asking all of us to leave because he got a ticket,” Andersen said. “That’s not fair. We’re just standing around.”

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The disorderly conduct ticket is the first ticket the 19-year-old says he's ever received.

Brighton Police Chief Tom Wightman says there is no city law prohibiting Anderson from saying certain words, nor is it illegal for teens to hang out downtown.

The city ordinance on disorderly conduct includes language that “causes a breach of peace,” the Lansing State Journal reported. And Wightman said the utterance was in the “immediate vicinity of a municipal playground occupied by very young children.”

“The Brighton Police Department is particularly committed to the protection of young children who are attempting to enjoy our wonderful downtown park and playground,” Wightman said. “Older teens and young adults who choose to ‘hang out’ near the children’s area need to know that their conduct will be carefully scrutinized.”

Anderson tried to fight the ticket in Livingston County District Court magistrate, but lost. He was fined $200.

The teen thinks police should have warned him about his language rather than ticketing him.

“I would have respected his authority,” he told the Lansing State Journal.

“I don’t think I deserve this ticket,” he added. “I don’t think I did anything wrong.”

Sources: Battle Creek Enquirer, Lansing State Journal