A useful column from Colby King. This statistic leapt out at me:
Residents are arrested in D.C. for disorderly conduct in large numbers: nearly 5,000 in 2007, more than 4,200 in 2008 and 4,469 this year as of Aug. 5. Many are probably arrested for good reasons: noise violations, blocking public spaces, etc.
If that's accurate, that's a vast increase in such incidents this year. Many of the charges, if challenged, are dropped. King notes:
Disorderly conduct laws apply to a breach of the public's -- not a cop's -- peace. As the Office of Citizen Complaint Review (its name in 2003 when this ruling was made) noted, echoing the D.C. Court of Appeals, and courts in other jurisdictions such as Massachusetts, a "police officer is expected to have a greater tolerance for verbal assaults . . . and because the police are especially trained to resist provocation, we expect them to remain peaceful in the face of verbal abuse that might provoke or offend the ordinary citizen."
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