At a local Walmart, shoppers were shocked as an angry father started screaming obscenities and racial slurs at his 4-year-old son. However, after the dad was arrested for the disturbing scene, he has come forward to demand that the arresting officer lose his job.
In the parking lot of a Louisiana Walmart, 29-year-old Kevin Mitchell began hurling racial insults and curse words at his 4-year-old son. According to the father’s own admission, he unleashed the vulgar tirade after his little boy nearly hit the car next to them by opening the door too far while exiting his vehicle.
Mitchell unashamedly told WDSU that he was cussing at his child for almost damaging a police officer’s patrol vehicle, which was parked next to them. However, he never expected that his parenting technique would land him in handcuffs.
Mitchell says that the officer could hear him screaming obscenities from inside his patrol vehicle, prompting him to roll down the window and intervene. The officer then told the angry dad that it’s illegal to yell out curse words in public in Slidell. This only made Mitchell more furious.
“That’s when the officer let his window down and said, ‘You can’t be cursing like that.’ I said, ‘Sir, I’m talking to my children,’ and he kept saying, ‘Well, you can’t talk like that in Slidell.’ I said ‘Sir, I’m talking to my children,'” Mitchell said.
Mitchell and his wife, Jordan, shrugged off the officer’s warning and headed into Walmart to buy asparagus. When they left, however, they realized that the incident was far from over.
Along with security, the officer who had addressed Mitchell moments earlier was waiting for him and his family to exit the store. The officer explained that he can’t act in such a manner in public. Video footage captured the confrontation, which quickly escalates when Mitchell feels that the officer is telling him how to speak to his child.
“You can hear me telling the man, ‘You can’t tell me how to talk to my children.’ He kept saying, ‘You can’t curse in Slidell. You can’t do this in Slidell,’ and I just told the man, ‘What are you going to do?’ and he arrested me,” Mitchell said.
The indignant dad grows more outraged and appears to square up with the officer in question before raising his voice further. After becoming belligerent, Mitchell was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disturbing the peace.
“It’s just outrageous about the way he reacted with the whole situation. I feel like if I say something wrong, you approach me as a man,” he said. “A policeman like that shouldn’t have a badge. I feel like a policeman like that shouldn’t work in the city of Slidell when you approach people in that manner. And the way you approached my wife and asking her for her personal information of her children, should definitely lose his job.”
According to local ordinances, disturbing the peace includes offenses from appearing intoxicated to “addressing any offensive, derisive, or annoying words to any other person.” The penalty for such a conviction is a fine of up to $100 or up to 90 days in jail.
“Addressing any offensive, derisive, or annoying words to any other person who is lawfully in any street, or other public place; or call him by any offensive or derisive name, or make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with the intent to deride, offend, or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business, occupation, or duty;” RS 14:103 states.
Slidell Police issued a statement defending the officers, confirming that they had “more than enough probable cause” to arrest Mitchell.
“Not in relation to this particular incident, but in general, if someone is repeatedly yelling extreme profanities and racial slurs, at a public place like Walmart (during a Mardi Gras parade), and refuses to calm down and continues to carry on, causing alarm and distress to innocent bystanders…yes, they will be arrested. That is normal and will remain the standard for anyone acting like that inside the city limits of Slidell. It should be noted that Disturbing the Peace is a state law and can be enforced everywhere in the State of Louisiana. People live in our community because they enjoy a safe and family-oriented place to live. People should not fear going out in public to have their peace disturbed by someone screaming profanities and racial slurs.”
While some viewers have defended Mitchell’s right to speak freely, even if he is hurling obscenities at a 4-year-old child, others insist that the speech is child abuse and isn’t protected by the law.
On one hand, we must protect our intrinsic right to freedom of speech. On the other hand, our rights end where another human being’s rights begin, which may be the case when it comes to Mitchell’s behavior.