It's one thing to walk around town calling yourself "St. Cloud Superman", but this man's crazy sidewalk antics are really ticking off some residents in the city. When Superman starts imitating spanky sexual acts, making fun of people's disfigured body parts, and questioning an officer's sexuality, we even start getting a little annoyed.
But it's all free speech, Superman says. John Fillah got into some legal trouble for his sidewalk mayhem, but a judge dismissed some of his charges based on his First Amendment rights, according to a St. Cloud Times piece. He's still got one charge against him though.
Can Superman weasel his way out of this mess?
Fillah had three misdemeanor charges against him for disorderly conduct twice in two days back in March. He also had a charge for making harassing phone calls when he contacted the officer that wrote one of the tickets. A Stearns County judge dismissed two of the charges.
In the first incident, a woman told police she saw Superman on a corner "making a slapping motion while bending his knees." She was driving by with her two young daughters when she saw it. The woman believed he was imitating a sexual spanking act with an imaginary woman in front of him. Sexy.
The very next day, a man on the St. Cloud State University campus approached him and told him he was a "loser" and he should "get a job". Superman doesn't take well to being called out on his own idiocy. So instead of leaving the situation, he commented on the man's disfigured arm and told him to "mind his own business." The comments led to an argument between the two men.
Following those tickets, the St. Cloud police officer who wrote the first ticket received voice mail message from Fillah making fun of the officer's name and questioning his sexuality.
Superman lucked out and the judge sided with him about dropping two of the charges.
From the St. Cloud Times:
Fillah's messages to the officer fell far short of the legal definition of criminal speech, Grunke wrote. That would require words that tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace or have an immediate tendency to provoke retaliatory violence.
Grunke dismissed the disorderly charge that stemmed from imitating the sexual act. The act didn't amount to fighting words, Grunke wrote, and it also didn't meet a requirement that the expression was an invasion of privacy, especially when the exposure to Fillah's actions was so brief.
"It is understandable that a mother and her two teenage daughters were offended by their unwilling participation in (Fillah's) X-rated game of charades," Grunke wrote. "However, as occupants of a moving vehicle their exposure to (Fillah's) antics was short and could have been avoided altogether by looking away."