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Articles Tagged with disorderly conduct

Nearly 1,500 Chicagoans were arrested as violence continued across the U.S. as Americans took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd. Roughly 80% of those facing charges are facing simple disorderly conduct charges. Chances are, many of the misdemeanor charges will be dropped, although disorderly conduct can be charged as high as a class-three felony in certain situations.

253 cases have been handed over to Chicago’s felony review division. Of those, 184 charges remained, the majority of those relating to unlawful possession of a weapon. Another 40 charges were for burglary. The majority of those cases have been approved and will be prosecuted. 

What is Felony Disorderly Conduct?

You have likely heard this from both President Trump and your local news anchor. Out-of-state provocateurs infiltrated the peaceful protests to instigate violence and looting. But is it true? Well, they caught at least one man who has been arrested for looting in Chicago, but who also made an appearance at the Minneapolis riots. The man appears to be encouraging others to attack police and destroy private property.

Matthew Lee Rupert has been charged with civil disorder, carrying on a riot, and possession of unregistered destructive devices. These are all federal crimes

U.S. officials are attempting to determine if extremist groups had anything to do with the escalating violence. Meanwhile, President Trump has declared Antifa a terrorist group, something that experts are unsure that he has the authority to do, amid reports that far-right groups also may have contributed to the chaos of the past few days.

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Disorderly conduct has become the catch-all and go-to remedy for law enforcement agencies. The typical scenario is that of a police officer working on a hunch or anecdotal evidence that someone might be engaged in criminal activity. In the absence of a clear provable offense, the officer makes what is effectively a preventative arrest under the disorderly conduct law in Chicago. However, that scenario raises civil liberties issues, particularly as they relate to minorities who have historically faced much more stringent scrutiny within the criminal justice system. Frisking is a popular political tool for those who want to be tough on crime but not touch on the causes of crime. Some members of the public are just reassured by any statistical evidence that arrests are increasing even though those arrests may not necessarily mean a reduction in criminality within a given area or population.

Processing Issues and Cost-Benefit Calculations

At a time when the police are anxious to engage with communities in innovative law enforcement projects, it seems that stop and search and disorderly conduct are soon going to become anachronisms. Worse still, the abuse of those provisions in Chicago will open up the law enforcement agencies to series suits for civil rights violations. The definition of disorderly conduct is also not set in stone. That means that police discretion is playing an important role in determining whether a prosecution will take place or not. If the police are given the option to turn a blind eye to potential infringements based on their judgements, then we must also accept that an element of personal prejudice may come into play with time.

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