Does Refusal to Comply With Police Directions Constitutes Disorderly Conduct ?
In People v. Arko, 199 NYS 402, 405 [App Term, 2d Dept 1922], the defendants were convicted of disorderly conduct for, inter alia, refusing to disperse when ordered by a police officer, while engaged in picketing on a public sidewalk.
The court reversed the conviction, holding that, at times, refusal to comply with the direction of a police officer does not constitute disorderly conduct.
The court reasoned, "Mere disobedience of an officer is not always an offense punishable by law, any more than his command is not always the law ...
The case must present proof of some definite and unmistakable misbehavior, which might stir, if allowed to go unchecked, the public to anger or invite dispute, or bring about a condition of unrest and create a disturbance." (Id., at 405.)
In light of the broad parameters and potential unfettered discretion surrounding the use and application of Park Rule 1-03 (c) (1), it is incumbent upon the People to provide explicit factual allegations detailing the underlying conduct that justified the police officer's order.
The instant accusatory instruments fail to allege the violation of any Park Rule that would justify an order to disperse, or any other conduct that would justify the issuance of such an order.
Thus, the informations fail to allege that the defendants failed to comply with a "lawful order."