If things weren't bad enough in Michigan, the city council of Brighton has had it with people who "in a course of conduct or repeatedly commit acts that alarm or seriously annoy another person and that serve no legitimate purpose." As a result they approved a public conduct code Monday night, which includes fining someone up to $500 for being annoying.
The bill states it's unlawful for anyone to insult, accost, molest or otherwise annoy any person in public. The ordinance was modeled after one in Royal Oak, where Brighton police chief Tom Wightman previously worked.
Examples where this rule could apply are: ongoing neighbor disputes; an ex-boyfriend or ex-spouse harassing an individual; unwanted and repeated text messages; harassing phone calls or hang-up calls; and co-worker harassment. Wightman said the goal is to interrupt these behaviors and put a stop to it. "Our intent is to protect citizens and to protect free speech as well," Wightman said.
Two council members expressed concerns for the language of the ordinance, but voted for it anyway. Brighton officials said the ordinance would be subjective and the call will be made by police officers.
Existing harrassment laws may work just as effectively and be less subjective? The law's passing left one local business owner, Rick Stames, scratching his head, "It just makes the city look stupid. There's enough that happens that make you look bad to begin with; why go out of your way?"