MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee man thinks it’s pretty darn ridiculous that he got fined $500 for swearing on a county bus.

Terry Duncan tells WISN-TV that he considers it un-American to get slapped with a $500 disorderly conduct fine for saying two words. The words in questions started with the letters “f” and “s.” After Duncan uttered them last Tuesday, an undercover deputy ordered him off the vehicle and handed him the ticket.

Duncan says he’s new to Milwaukee, didn’t know about the law and pointed out it’s not posted anywhere in the bus. He says he simply cursed during a conversation and that the words weren’t directed at a specific person. He says he’ll fight the ticket in court.

A spokeswoman for Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says he’s warned the public about his zero-tolerance approach to disorderly conduct on buses. She says he considers it a quality-of-life issue.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (34)
  1. Nancy Aleshire says:

    It’s about time something like this happens. I have been after Metro Transit for years to kick people who do this off the bus. My son won’t even ride the bus

  2. twinkimama says:

    Good!! I’m so tired of hearing people cuss. It shouldn’t be part of everyday conversation. It makes people sound so ignorant. I don’t want my children thinking this type of langiage is acceptable.
    Would you talk that way in front of your Grandma??!!

    1. John says:

      This is freedom of speech issue, people can say what people want, and they shouldn’t be getting ridiculous tickets for doing so. Support your First Amendment rights.

    2. Ignorance must be bliss says:

      Ignorance is calling someone ignorant for cussing. This does not show ignorance it just shows that these are words that the person who sais them choose to use. Ignorant would be using words that you do not know the meaning to. If this is a big issue for people maybe we should start rethinking our priorities. Not saying that people that go on the bus a swear up a storm are in the right, but let’s face it, we do have A LOT bigger problems right now.

  3. PJ says:

    Get off your high horse it’s NOT the end of the world as we know it because of someone’s Profanity on a city bus it’s the wholesome goody-goodies like you that are destroying this world!

    1. getridofem says:

      Why don’t you get real also–a lot of people are sick and tired of filthy mouths and do not want to hear that sort of garbage, if you like it so much go sit by yourself somewhre–where someone might care and curse to yourself–

    2. Jack says:

      Cursing in public is selfish, immature and uneducated. There are other words to use to express yourself. People who cuss in public don’t care about other people. They only care about THEIR rights. Well, they can get over themselves and pay fines for their rudeness and arrogance. The rest of us are fed up with you lot.

      1. NSouk0034 says:

        Jack the Supreme Court decided this issue in 1972 with Cohen v. California. They stated that unless it’s a direct threat, profanity is a part of the first amendment. Whether you support profanity or not is not the issue. The issue is the first amendment. Simply because it violates your moral code does not mean it’s okay to fine someone. You can also reference the 1942 Supreme Court decision of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire.

      2. Jake says:

        How dare you use such profanity!? You should pay a fine for using those words! There might be children somewhere!

        And no I don’t have to provide any rational reason that those words are special or profane. Neither you nor the law did for Mr Duncan

  4. chuck says:

    I wish we had that in effect here in Mankato, boy we would not have to many riders and the ones we did have would be broke.

  5. chuck says:

    I wish we had that in effect here in Mankato, boy we would not have to many riders and the ones we did have would be broke.Now if we could only enforce some sort of law on cell phone users on the bus life would be Great.

  6. Fascism says:

    Cops are meant for violent crime and major theft.

    For some reason they are being turned into playground kindergarten teachers.

    1. Matt says:

      no the police are there to protect the people by enforcing laws

  7. Matt says:


    First amendment does have limits

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    1. Fascism says:

      1st Amendment says you can tell a female co-worker she has nice honkers.

      Funny how some people pretend the 1st amendment has astrisks.

  8. Bob says:

    Paul if you think that’s what the first amendment is for you are a moron…..

  9. mwern says:

    I agree that if there are children on the Bus they should clean up there mouths, but I also believe that they are only words and we can choose to be offended by them or not.
    Cops have bigger fish to fry, but I guess they now can carry a Bar of Soap in there holster.

  10. PinkPiny says:

    I think he can say whatever he wants but then be fined for it appropiately…..:) 500 bucks sounds like a good amount. What a fool.

  11. johnny says:

    what a pathetic country we live in,, Next we shall be fined for looking the wrong way.. To all those fools who then cry “Well if you dont like it leave” I unlike most have just that option if i so choose,,

  12. Dave Seavy says:

    It’s just another indication that some people have no respect for anybody, including themself. There’s no reason that people need to use particularly vulgar language in public. It’s so moronic, and a very good indication of the character of that person. It has nothing to do with anybody being a goodie-goodie; it’s about using common sense and showing a little decency. But evidently some people have no clue as to what either of those mean.

  13. Joe Hite says:

    you all have an issue with cussing and think a fine is ok right ?
    well then by all means let the games begin!
    80% of parents should be getting fined dailiy for not knowing how to control your children! i mean by all rights if you raised them proper they wouldnt cuss on a bus right ?
    also how about some of you get tickets for bad attire most of it is plain out offensive! or ticket you for that really bad perfume / colonge you have on.
    or your bad hair cut. or even your offensive breath!

    everyone also has a right to move if they dont like it
    sit elsewere or look elsewere or even listen elsewere!
    bottom line im not trying to condone it but a ticket i just to far!

  14. Xian Marxer says:

    About time! Some people swear so loudly and disturb the other passengers you really wonder if they do it just to show off!

  15. BostonBound says:

    Paul’s not sure what he means I am thinking……he’d flip and flop if he had kids with him. 😉

  16. Maude says:

    Forget the fine … have him clean up the graffitti his kind leave behind. trash in – tash out

    1. Brian says:

      Someone who swears = graffiti artist? I’m sorry but where did you make this connection?

  17. Ignorance must be bliss says:

    Is it “the land of the freer, and the home of the brave”?

  18. Se777en says:

    As much as I don’t like cussing, this is absolutely ridiculous. What’s next? Fining people for their tone of voice if it’s not nice enough? What are you people? Delicate flowers that can’t let peoples’ speech roll of your backs if you don’t happen to like it?

  19. Nancy Aleshire says:

    Profanity is not protected speech. Neither is yelling “Fire” in a crowded movie theater or inciting a riot. Little things such as cursing must be stopped before they escalate into major things.

    1. Se777en says:

      You are way off base. Cursing has nothing to do with the examples you provided. Cursing does not endanger people’s lives. The worst that it is is distasteful.

  20. Brian says:

    Let me get this straight, this poor guy got ambushed by a plainclothes cop waving a $500 fine for swearing? Why exactly, because it is distasteful to some folks? What about the things I myself find distasteful? Can I go around reporting people for things I find distasteful and expect them to be kicked out of the establishment with a huge fine?

    1. Se777en says:

      That’s my point, Brian. It’s ridiculous that he was fined. Read my original comment.

  21. Get a life says:

    To all of you that think this fine is justified GO F YOURSELVES !!

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