A Snowmass man was arrested last month for apparently doing little more than using the “F” word too many times in front of four Aspen police officers.
Quincy Rouson, 32, was handcuffed and led to the Pitkin County Jail on Sept. 17. He was arrested for resisting and interfering with an officer.
Shortly before midnight, Rouson allegedly approached Aspen police officer Rob Fabrocini and three other officers who were standing on the Hyman Avenue Mall discussing where they were “anticipating problems at bar closing,” according to Fabrocini’s police report.
“Rouson was smiling and reached out to shake my hand,” Fabrocini wrote. “I shook Rouson’s hand and he pulled me towards him and said ‘f*** you very much.’”
Rouson then allegedly told the other three officers the same thing, according to Fabrocini, who then asked why he was being so rude.
The police report states that Rouson responded by saying “It’s my right so f*** you. You can’t touch me.” Fabrocini asked him to stop swearing at the four officers and to walk away but Rouson allegedly continued using profanities and “hovered” around them, according to the police report.
Fabrocini then told Rouson that if he “continued to swear at us he would be arrested,” according to the police report.
Rouson continued on and told officer Vanessa March “you can f***ing touch me anytime,” according to the police report.
“At this point I felt threaten (sic) by Rouson’s physical behavior as he was walking around us, between us and getting within inches of our faces while swearing at us,” the police report states.
After continuing on with that behavior, Rouson was arrested. Fabrocini wrote that Rouson appeared sober.
Rouson pleaded not guilty in municipal court on Wednesday. A court trial is scheduled for Oct. 19.
City prosecutor Jim True said he recognizes that Rouson has a right to freedom of speech but the law acknowledges that a person cannot interfere with the operations of a police officer.
“The general concept is that it goes beyond a few bad words here and there,” he said.
However, True is currently evaluating the case.
“I’m reviewing the extent of the conduct which may affect the ability to prosecute,” he said.
He declined to comment further, stating it’s an ongoing case.
Rouson has asked for a court-appointed attorney, citing financial hardship. That request is pending.
Rouson couldn’t be reached for comment.
Rouson also was arrested Sept. 10 for resisting and disorderly conduct after he allegedly wouldn’t leave the Escobar after being kicked out of the nightclub. He allegedly screamed obscenities at the club’s bouncer and at police, according to APD spokeswoman Blair Weyer. That case also will be heard on Oct. 19 in municipal court. Rouson has pleaded not guilty on those charges as well.
It’s not the first time a local man has been arrested for saying offensive words to an Aspen police officer.
Daniel Fordham of Aspen was arrested in early 2010 after calling a police officer a “douche bag.”
Fordham was arrested near Rubey Park after he got in police officers’ way while they were responding to a call. He allegedly yelled at them and called officer Adam Loudon a douche bag. He was handcuffed, arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Aspen attorney Lauren Maytin, who had previously represented Fordham, filed a motion in 2010 that argued the term “douche bag” was protected by free speech.
It’s unclear what the status of the case is.
And in 2003, Eric Vanatta, a deputy public defender for Colorado, filed a motion to dismiss in connection with a criminal charge filed against a Colorado teenager that argued the constitutionality of the word f***.
The teenager, who lived in Larimer County, was slapped with a disorderly conduct charge after he cursed his school vice principal with some variation of the profanity. The charge was eventually amended to interfering with the staff, faculty, or students of an educational institution.
In an effort to dismiss the misdemeanor charge, Vanatta argued that the popular curse word is protected by the First Amendment.
“F*** is certainly a controversial word that may be appropriate in certain venues and locales (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in others (weddings, Chuck-E-Cheese pizza parlors, district attorney offices),” the motion reads. “Some people may believe it is always inappropriate. But in all but a very few circumstances, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits our government from making that determination ...”
The motion was never argued because a plea deal was made in the case.
The website smokinggun.com awarded the motion the “2003 legal document of the year award.”
“The district court document is an amusing and profane look at the world’s favorite four-letter word, from its origins in 1500 to today’s frequent use of the term by Eminem, Chris Rock and Lenny Kravitz,” reads the website’s commentary on the matter. “TSG’s favorite part of the motion is the chart comparing Google results for the ‘F’ word and other all-American terms like mom, baseball and apple pie.”