Four teenagers who ordered their burgers by rapping rather than talking were issued disorderly conduct citations.
AP: The teens said they were imitating a popular video on YouTube. They rapped their order, which begins with, “I need a double cheeseburger and hold the lettuce …” once quickly before repeating it more slowly.
Spenser Dauwalder said employees at the restaurant told him and his friends they were holding up the line and needed to order or leave.
The 18-year-old said nobody was in line. He and his three 17-year-old friends left without buying anything.
The teens were ticketed by the American Fork police (that’s the town in Utah, we’re not making a joke) after a McDonald’s employee wrote down their licence plate number when the teens were leaving the drive-thru. The police tracked them down at a high school parking lot after a volleyball game.
The owner of the McDonald’s said that it was an “employee safety” issue; the teens were asked to speak slowly several times before the manager came out.
Disorderly conduct citations are issued, the local police sergeant said, when someone is doing something to “cause annoyance or alarm.”
And while most of us will read the case of the rapping McDonald’s teens as pretty funny (if you are from a small town, this is basically a typical Saturday night), the broad language of disorderly conduct laws are criticised by many as vehicles to dampen free speech. ‘Annoy’, after all, can mean a lot of pretty minor things.
Following professor Henry Louis Gates’s arrest over the summer, The Boston Globe ran an editorial called, “Is Complaining Against the Law?” which disucssed how often people get arrested for expressing their opinion to police officers.
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