Nineteen-year-old Colin Andersen has been ticketed and fined $200 for disorderly conduct after he says he swore under his breath in front of a Brighton police officer. Now activists for free speech have planned a rally to protest. The event is called the “‘This Is F***ing Bullsh*t’ Rally” and it is getting heated support and opposition on social media.
Andersen was in a parking lot near the Mill Pond in Brighton, Michigan, as The Inquisitr previously reported. The area is home to a popular children’s playground called The Imagination Station. Andersen’s friend was ticketed for skateboarding, then a police officer with the Brighton PD asked the teens to leave the area. Colin claims he asked the officer why they needed to leave. Colin explained to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “That’s not fair. We’re just standing around.” After getting what Colin considered an unacceptable answer to his question, he told the Livingston Daily Press & Argus that he muttered under his breath while the officer was listening, “This is f***ing bullsh*t.” Andersen challenged the ticket for disorderly conduct in court and lost. Andersen explains his side in a YouTube video:
“I am fighting this unjust law because we are supposed to have freedom of speech, multiple higher courts in multiple states, including Michigan Court of Appeals in People v Boomer, ruled that swearing is constitutionally protected free speech. The Brighton PD and Courts are acting in an unconstitutional manner and, they are thus illegitimate. The protest is to let them know that we will not stand for this tyrannical oppression off free speech, and remind them that their powers come from the consent of the governed.”
Weeks explained that it is important to recognize that activists are defending Colin because he wasn’t swearing in front of kids, he was swearing in front of a police officer, “This wasn’t a case of a punk kids swearing at kids and the cops came into save the day.” Weeks also explained that Colin wasn’t actually close to the Imagination Station as it has been depicted; he was actually in the parking lot. The Imagination Station playground is separated from all parking areas by a large commons area.
The rally planned for next Saturday has stirred up pleas from the public. Ricky Gibson of Howell, Michigan wrote:
“I hope that this whole Rally thing for Colin Edward Andersen isn’t gonna be 60 people standing around the naked man [a statue] swearing saying ‘This Is EFing BullSh!t’ don’t do it right there. People are gonna be trying to enjoy their Saturday. The fact that people are willing to go downtown in front of little kids and family’s and bikers and people eating and walk around yelling THIS IS F***ING BULLSH*T!!! Need a reality check get there head out their a** and be respectful of the community.”
A law still on the books from 1931 in the Michigan Penal Code states, “Any person who has arrived at the age of discretion, who shall profanely curse or damn or swear by the name of God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” The Brighton officer didn’t give the penalty for this law though. According to Weeks, the officer charged Andersen with “disorderly conduct at parking lots” which is a section within the Brighton Municipal Code.
Facebook user Laura Ann writes, “Here’s another kicker… the city parking lot ordinance 54-104 that the officer said he was in offense of, doesn’t even mention any use of language as a violation. lol… unreal huh?”
CBS reported that police in downtown Brighton “are cracking down on disorderly conduct by issuing tickets” in response to complaints about teenagers in the Brighton Mill Pond area. A Brighton Police representative was heard on WHMI radio explaining that the ticket was issued, but it is not a part of a new crack down on swearing or teenagers. The idea that extra effort is being applied by the force to curb swearing is frustrating Brighton officers, who say it’s not being depicted accurately. According to WHMI, Brighton police Chief Tom Wightman said that it is fine for teens to hang out near the Brighton Mill Pond, and explained that the city doesn’t have a law prohibiting swear words.
At least 85 people have committed to attending next week’s rally to support Andersen and voice their opposition against the ticket for disorderly conduct after he swore in front of a police officer in the Brighton, Michigan city parking lot.
[Photo by Colin Edward Anderson]