A Brighton teenager found out words have consequences. In Colin Andersen's case, the hit is to his wallet.
“I was completely shocked," Andersen said, who is 19. "I wasn’t expecting that at all" after he was given a $200 ticket for disorderly conduct for cursing within ear shot of a police officer on April 11.
It happened near the Imagination Station, a park in downtown Brighton that is frequented by families with young children.
Andersen told 7 Action News he was hanging out that afternoon with a group of his friends. One of them was ticketed for skate boarding, which is not allowed. Andersen said the officer told the teens they should leave. That's when he got himself in trouble by reacting out loud.
“As I was walking away, under my breath, I’m like you know what, this is f'ing BS."
The officer wrote the ticket right in the parking lot.
“I tried to ask him like what I did wrong and he was like, 'you can’t use that kind of language down here,' and I was like, I wasn’t really around anybody," Anderson said.
Brighton Police Chief Tom Wightman said the city doesn't have a law that prohibits specific words.
“It’s a violation of the city ordinance for language or conduct that causes a breach of the peace," he said. “We do get complaints about teenagers that hang out there, that misbehave that type of thing, so we are alert to that and pay a lot of attention to that.”
Andersen said he was nowhere near kids at the time of his indiscretion.
“I have morals, I mean, I’m not going to swear in front of little kids, that’s not the kind of person I am," said Andersen. "it’s just that I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess.”
It’s not a free speech issue to police but it is to some we spoke with.
Andersen tried fighting his ticket in court but lost. He’s paid $80 toward the $200 fine. He has until May 30 to take care of the balance.