Ordinance amendment makes disorderly conduct a punishable offense

Blatant disregard for orderly conduct within the city of Lake Ozark could get you in trouble.

The board of aldermen amended an existing ordinance Tuesday night aimed specifically at individuals who violate a variety of social courtesies. At the request of Police Chief Mark Maples, City Attorney Roger Gibbons drafted a bill that would make it unlawful for a person to knowingly or recklessly engage in disorderly conduct in a public place within the city.

The intent is to help law enforcement officers maintain peace and order, and to prevent conduct that might incite violence.

Alderman Todd Painter was concerned that the ordinance might raise First Amendment issues, but Gibbons said not all words ― including fighting words ― are protected by the Constitution.

“We’re having people coming out of bars, possibly in front of children, who are cussing other individuals out,” Maples said.

Disorderly conduct

A person commits an act of disorderly conduct if he or she knowingly:

•Uses abusive, offensive, indecent profane or vulgar language and the language tends to disturb the peace of another person, invoking or inciting violence in another person, or causes alarm or annoyance in another person.

•Makes an offensive gesture or display and the gesture or display tends to disturb the peace of another person, invoke or incite violence by another person.

•Insults, taunts, challenges or threatens another person in a public place that tends to disturb the peace of another person, invoke or incite violence.

•Engages in fighting, brawling or other violent behavior.

•Obstructs or hinders the movement of people in vehicles on any public street or highway

•Creates a condition that presents a risk of physical harm or injury

•Displays a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a public place in a manner that tends to cause alarm to another person

•Without any lawful authority disturbs lawful assemblies or meetings.