In North Augusta, South Carolina, the city’s legal definition of disorderly conduct effectively criminalizes situations when someone might “utter, while in a state of anger, in the presence of another, any bawdy, lewd or obscene words or epithets.” 27-year-old mother Danielle Wolf, who had just moved to the area from Ohio, found out first-hand how seriously the town prosecutes swear words when she angrily uttered an “f-bomb” at her husband during a family outing to Kroger. According to WJBF News Channel 6, a bystander, upset that Wolf had used the profane word in front of her own children, confronted and reported her, leading to Wolf’s arrest on charges of disorderly conduct.
Wolf claims she was having a rough day and lost her temper when she cursed at her husband for placing frozen pizzas on top of bread in their grocery cart. The witness who reported the incident took issue with the fact that the mother had used the obscene word despite having her children with her. A North Augusta Department of Public Safety officer responded to the scene, and, according to Wolf, “He was like, ‘You’re under arrest’…right in front of kids, in front of my husband, in front of customers.” She was then handcuffed and led out of the store in an embarrassingly public perp walk.
According to WAGT-26, the bystander that reported Wolf later apologized to her for reporting her to authorities. Though the witness claims she did not want Wolf to be arrested, the police incident report states otherwise, noting, “Officer Smith asked [the witness] if she wished to testify in court about the incident. [The witness] stated that she would.”
Danielle Wolf said of the woman who reported her, “I didn’t harm nobody. I didn’t hurt nobody. The lady said she was having a bad day. So, because you’re having a bad day you’re going to ruin somebody’s life.” The witness to the incident, who said the swearing reminded her of a traumatizing incident from childhood, alleged that Wolf had used the swear word towards her kids, rather than her husband, which Wolf denied.
The North Augusta Department of Public Safety told WAGT-26 that it had no choice but to enforce the law, which seems to imply that officials also found it to be a questionable reason to arrest a mother in front of her children. The incident took place on August 10, and Danielle Wolf is due to appear in court on charges of disorderly conduct on September 12.