Free speech or felony? Framingham prosecutors split the difference with a woman who smeared a police station with tasty pork products last year.
Lindsey McNamara was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property after throwing, and then wiping bacon and pork sausage on an intake window at the Framingham Police Department. The Middlesex District Attorney's office dismissed the destruction charge this week, and McNamara must pay $150 in court costs on the disorderly charge.
Here is video of McNamara's pork protest at the police station:
As you can see, officers are quick to place the cuffs on McNamara. So were they correct in arresting her and charging her with multiple criminal offenses?
Wanton Destruction With Wonton Contents?
Massachusetts criminal statute chapter 266 section 127 outlaws malicious or wanton destruction or injury of personal property. In this case, it may have been difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Dunkin' Donuts bacon and sausage smeared on the station injured the property.
Especially considering how delicious the station smelled afterward.
Disturbing the Meat?
McNamara was forced to pay a fine under chapter 272 section 53, which prohibits "Disorderly persons and disturbers of the peace." Broad disorderly conduct laws are known as "catch-all" crimes, allowing police wide discretion in arresting disruptive people, as the officers did with McNamara.
The lesson here is that while insulting a cop might not get you arrested, it is possible to take the "Cops are pigs" joke a bit too far.The Supreme Court has ruled that verbal challenges, including calling officers "pigs" or even "rent-a-cops" is not enough for an arrest. Although defacing a police station with actual pig parts just might be.
Your best bet is to leave the bacon where it belongs, in the frying pan.