A Louisiana man has been arrested for saying an expletive word in front of an elderly woman. Jared Dylan Smith, 20, was arrested for allegedly saying the word “f***” in the presence of a 75-year-old woman in West Monroe on April 8, the Daily Mail reported.
“While standing next to my 75-year-old complainant, Jared yelled the word ‘f***’ and clearly disturbed her peace,” the arrest report stated, according to the Ouachita Citizen. Smith was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center for disturbing the peace through language and disorderly conduct. His bail was set at $200, and he is currently awaiting his sentence.
The 20-year-old has denied the allegation, and there were no other witnesses at the scene, according to the arrest report.
Under Louisiana law, a person can be charged with disturbing the peace by “addressing any offensive, derisive, or annoying words to any other person who is lawfully in any street, or other public place; or call him by any offensive or derisive name, or make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with the intent to deride, offend, or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business, occupation, or duty.”
The penalty for disturbing the peace can be a fine of up to $100 and 90 days in jail.
Several social media users on The Advocate’s site were outraged by the arrest.
“He could have issued him a citation that would have caused him to be charged a fine,” wrote one reader. “It works just like tickets. Otherwise this is just plain silly. I wish he’d have been in my neighborhood for the party two doors down Saturday night. Now that disturbed the peace. The noise went on half the night and could be heard several houses all around.”
“I disagree with many others comments,” wrote another. “Since when is it crime to use constitutionally protected speech, regardless of how offensive it may be. I can’t believe any American would be advocating for the arrest of people for their use of language…”
“When I worked, there were only two subsections to the disturbing the peace ordinance that weren’t struck down as being unconstituitional,” wrote another commenter. “(1) Disturbing the peace by public intoxication and (2) Disturbing the peace by fistic entounter (fighting in public). The rest was ruled to be unconstitutional.”
He added: “I guess this law officer and his supervisor didn’t get the memo from the D.A. yet. I would say that it was about 25 years ago that these ordinances were trashed as being unconstitutional.”