MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A new Mankato ordinance that allows police to arrest someone for being a nuisance while drunk in public is getting mixed reviews.

The “disruptive intoxication” ordinance became official at the end of last month. It gives officers the option of citing or arresting anyone who’s being unruly while drunk.

The Mankato Free reported that police say the ordinance provides a vital tool for dealing with disruptive drunks. Before it was enacted, they said, officers had a tough time dealing with extremely drunk people when there wasn’t a direct victim.

But one public defender who has represented people cited for the offense calls the law “silly,” according to the newspaper report ( ).

“It allows additional charges for the same act,” attorney Mike Mountain said. “You’re just replacing apples with apples.”

One of the first people arrested under the ordinance was a 21-year-old student at Minnesota State University. He was confronted by police officers earlier this month after he called 911 to report a problem at a bar.

He said the bar was treating him unfairly, while employees said he had been kicked out twice for causing a disturbance and was refusing to leave.

The officer who interviewed the man said he was yelling and spitting and wouldn’t calm down. When another person stepped in, the suspect allegedly “got in the officer’s face” and told the officer to show him respect, police said.

He was arrested for disruptive intoxication. A preliminary breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit.

Without the new ordinance, police could have tried to arrest him for disorderly conduct, but the disorderly conduct ordinance that has been on the books for years required officers to show that a suspect’s conduct was causing “alarm, anger or resentment in others.”

The new ordinance only requires officers to show that a suspect is intoxicated while being loud or combative or disobeying an officer’s order.

“It just gives us another tool to use at night because disorderly conduct didn’t fit,” police Cmdr. Craig Frericks. “This works better with what we deal with downtown.”

Another person arrested under the new ordinance was a 24-year-old Rochester man. He had been accused of threatening someone with a knife but when police arrived the victim refused to cooperate.

The man refused to take a preliminary breath test. However, the new ordinance allows officers to arrest suspects who refuse a breath test but have bloodshot eyes, alcohol on their breath, slurred speech or dilated pupils.

That’s not right, said Mountain, the defense attorney.

“Just being drunk shouldn’t be against the law,” he said. “There’s a disease called alcoholism. Should police be taking people off the street just because they have a disease?”

A better option would be to take the person to a detoxification center, Mountain said.

Frericks said officers do use that option when they’re dealing with cooperative people. And for people who aren’t excessively intoxicated, police might also issue them a citation and send them home with friends.

“I really do believe our officers give people the benefit of the doubt,” Frericks said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (23)
  1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    The limit for DUI is 0.8%. What is their legally enforceable definition of ‘drunk’?

    1. Fed Up says:

      Wrong. DUI limit is .08

    2. Drivers ed instructor says:

      You are considered to be impaired at .04% and intoxicated at .08% or higher.

      1. Bella Notte says:

        So the legal limit for commercial drivers at .02% is all righty then?!

  2. Mike says:

    Unfortunately I lived in Mankato for 20 years, and the police there think that the Constitution is used to wipe their rear ends. I have never been arrested – so don’t start on assuming I’m some kind of criminal. They are just bullies, and this is another tool for letting them bully people more. shameful!

  3. katie says:

    another way to suck all the college kids money away..glad I graduated and got out of that hell hole they call a town.

  4. Dave L says:

    Do they not realize all the bar business in town that is tax generating revenue?? way to shoot yourself in the foot. idiots.

  5. Lori S says:

    Just another way for the jails to make more money!!!

  6. LarryL says:

    If the attorneys doesn’t likeitt confine the drunks to their neighborhoods so just the people in that area will be indangered and have to put up with the drunks.

  7. CommonSense says:

    this law reeks of bs

  8. Bryson Powers says:

    I lived in Mankato for a total of about twenty years. I don’t blame anybody for getting drunk in that horrible town. It’s either that or be a religious fanatic.

    1. Barney says:

      Now I understand why the police want another tool. You exemplify that reason very well. “Get drunk because somebody else makes this town miserable.” – I think not. I think you make any place miserable.

  9. SoSickofWhiners says:

    If you are going to be a loud, obnoxious, disorderly drunk then you deserve a night in jail! How about people just be more accountable for their actions?? Why is it always someone elses fault when other people are being idiots? If you’ve got a drinking “illness” maybe being arrested will shine some light on your problem so you can finally get help.

  10. Bella Notte says:

    Way to go podunks. Like the police need another justification to make up reasons to make an already miserable person even more so. Wow, dumb & dumberer.

  11. Bella Notte says:

    Oh, just so you know, I had an Interlock Ignition installed in my vehicle without a court order. That’s right, VOLUNTARILY. So before anyone starts trying to accuse me of stupidity, may I remind you that I still have the privilege of driving. Feel sorry for those who can’t even manage a nice walk while in their cups.

    1. @bella says:

      Wow you are stupid, you admit you’re so irresponsible that you need ignition interlock to make sure you act like an adult and don’t drive smashed. Well we’re quite impressed, winning you lol

    2. Wow says:

      You “VOLUNTARILY” just made yourself out to sound like a LOSER…why dont you put your real name and license # on here too so the police can just follow you when you go out? Classy,

  12. Bella Notte says:

    Very cutting edge. I thought officers have already been arresting people for having bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, alcohol on their breath, and whatever else they can make up. I wonder if the arresting officer’s eyes wold appear bloodshot or glassy while he stands in a -40% windchill while he administers that breath test?

    1. Really? says:

      YOU need to stop and research or google your info before you post things to make you sound like an idiot. What do cold temps have to do with the way your eyes appear?? Is the cold weather why your eyes appear “glassy”? If you need to have an igniton block THEN you probably NEED to be pulled over. Very “smart” …

  13. liam Gilmorasy says:

    If they came down hard on anyone who did offend another’s right while drunk this law would not be needed.
    It’s those who commit something miserable such as killing or maiming someone while drunk or punch someone in the face for no reason… and than are allowed to walk or serve some pitiful sentence that compels others to want this law.
    On the other hand remember Otis and how he’d just walk into the cell on his own?
    Now that’s honor for you and responsibility.

  14. mark says:

    The Tea Party is sounding very good right about now. Our rights are slowly being taken away.

    1. captainobvious says:

      Yes your right, how infringing on the government to expect you to act like a human being, I drink as much as any1 on these comment boards but if you’re going to act like a lunatic at bar close, or in the streets then too bad, i hope they arrest you before you drive home or step in front a car get killed then sue the bar, like a typical fool would do.

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