Cursing not just bad manners, it’s breaking the law, police say

Erin Ailworth

Mom always threatened a potty mouth with a bar of soap — Evanston police are bit more strict.

Craig McGee, 19, of the 1600 block of Simpson Street, learned this the hard way after he allegedly swore at Evanston Police Department officers Wednesday night.

McGee was arrested and charged with violating a city noise ordinance, said Cmdr. Michael Perry of EPD.

According to City Code, it is illegal for anyone to make an “unnecessary or unusual noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers” anyone.

Apparently, cursing falls into this category.

Officers were conducting an investigation on the 1900 block of Jackson Street when they stopped McGee for questioning around 7 p.m., Perry said.

McGee started yelling and threatening officers after he was asked to comply with a pat down, Perry said.

According to the police report, McGee told one officer he would “kick (the officers’) asses if (they) were in an alley.”

According to the report, officers told McGee that his profanity was a violation of city law.

McGee reportedly replied, “Fuck you and all that shit you are talking about.”

He was arrested and taken to EPD, where he posted bond.

McGee is scheduled to appear at Circuit Court in Skokie on Dec. 13.

Greg Phillips, president of Northwestern’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the incident “ridiculous.”

Although Phillips said the event didn’t sound like it had much to do with the free speech issues the ACLU often addresses, he thought his group had an obligation to look into the incident.

“It sounds like an abuse of police power,” Phillips said.

“This is just an anachronistic law that the police decided they would enforce just because they could,” he said. “I guess I feel bad for (McGee).”