Georgia police arrested a North Carolina man after he uttered a profanity into a live streaming video he was recording while getting cited for an open container.
Morgan Wilson, 26, an automotive journalist visiting a touristy town named Helen for a car show, was walking the streets with an open container of Corona, which drew the attention of police.
The video shows that Wilson was being cooperative and was just warning others on their way to Helen that it is illegal to be in public with an open container.
However, at one point he said the situation “fucking sucks,” which is when the Helen police officer writing the citation pulled out his handcuffs and arrested him.
The charge was disorderly conduct, which is described by state law as when a person “without provocation, uses obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of or by telephone to a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace.”
Police claim children were in earshot and heard his words even though his video shows they were maybe 30 yards away and gave no indication that they heard him.
He ended up spending 18 hours in jail until he was released on a $2273.50 property bond.
According to the White County News:
In a phone interview with the White County News, Wilson adamantly denied the police claim that minors were in hearing distance of his words. He said he appreciates the support he’s received from people in Helen and others online.
Wilson said it was his third visit to Helen – with stops in 2014 and 2015 for car shows – and that he was covering this year’s event as an automotive journalist. He said police didn’t appear to take issue with people walking around with open containers during his previous visits. After the city experienced problems associated with crowds at the previous shows, Wilson believes this year police “had chips on their shoulders.”
“They’re just trying to make an example out of one of the supporters of this event,” he said.
Wilson said he started the live video to let others know about the open container law and to document what was transpiring without ill intent. Since his release, he continued to post video updates about the case on social media. However, Wilson said Tuesday morning he had lost his day job doing wraps and graphics for vehicles after his employer saw the posts.
He said multiple lawyers have contacted him, offering to represent him for free. He said he is confident he will beat the criminal charge and plans to file a civil suit.