Policing the Police (Rosendall, Metro Weekly) 04/05/07
GLAA supports revisions to disorderly conduct statutes
From: Richard J. Rosendall Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 11:21 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: Moore, Brian (COUNCIL) Subject: Revision of disorderly conduct statutes
We understand that you are about to mark up a revision of the District's outdated disorderly conduct statutes (DC Code §§ 22-1307 and 1321), based on the work of a Council for Court Excellence Task Force.
We agree with the CCE Task Force that public sex or simulated sex should not be treated as a matter of disorderly conduct, but should be dealt with as a problem of indecent or obscene exposure (DC Code § 22-1312), which the Court has interpreted to require exposure of genitalia. We believe that is sufficient to deal with the problem. If there is no exposure, there should be no crime.
We thus disagree with the Metropolitan Police Department, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, and the U.S. Attorney, who insist that the disorderly conduct statutes should cover public sex and simulated sex. These authorities like permissive laws as long as the permissiveness is in their direction; for example, if they cannot prove prostitution they like being able to arrest on the absurd charge of simulated sex. Perhaps we should also prohibit public tango dancing, leapfrogging, and piggyback rides out of an abundance of caution. Can the Task Force for the Invention of New Crimes be far behind?
Please go with the sensible recommendations of the CCE Task Force.
Thank you for your attention.
Vice President for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Cc: ACLU of the Nation’s Capital
[Note: Councilmember Mendelson responded that he shared our opposition to the simulated sex provision and that it was not in the bill heading to markup. He said, "If someone makes a gesture by undulating his hips (really crudely), is that simulated sex?" Exactly. Such a vague provision would be an invitation to police abuse. Councilmember Mary Cheh, a committee member, sent us a message on Friday morning, November 19, that the provision on simulated sex was not in the marked up version of the bill. We thank the committee members.]