Cussing at cops doesn't constitute disorderly conduct in the District, according to the D.C. Court of Appeals. But it's still a really bad idea. That trip to jail, the conviction, and the wait for your acquittal on appeal is a drag. Just ask Raymond Shepherd, who got himself into that predicament with some stupid behavior on his part during an encounter with two Metro police officers.
The officers had confronted Shepherd in a Metro station because they believed he was fare jumping, which triggered a loud, angry tirade. Shepherd accused the officers of racial profiling and said "you don't know who you are fucking with, I'm with the FBI." Shepherd's FBI status was "an assertion not borne out by evidence," which is the funniest line in the five-page opinion that was released last week.
After a bench trial, Superior Court Judge John Ramsey Johnson convicted Shepherd of disorderly conduct without sufficient proof that his "loud verbal protests to a police officer were `likely to produce violence on the part of others,'" stated the ruling, which referenced the court's earlier decision in 2000 on the same issue.
Shepherd's arrest had more to do with the officers' fears or misperceptions about the people in the station. At trial, Metro police officer Andrew Vance testified that only five to seven Metro patrons were watching and "looked a little annoyed by what was going on." Vance admitted Shepherd didn't say anything to incite anyone, but the officer testified he still "felt unsafe because in that area they're not particularly police-officer friendly and immediately I'm the villain in that situation." No word in the ruling on which Metro stop we're talking about.