Americans are guaranteed freedom of speech in the First Amendment — well, unless you’re a parent and you live in North Augusta, South Carolina. In that case, you’d better watch what you say.
Danielle Wolf and her family were at a local Kroger doing their grocery shopping – the bread aisle, specifically — when she dropped an f-bomb, WJBF reported. According to Wolf, she was speaking to her husband and telling him not to smash the bread. But a woman in the store thought Wolf used the f-word in speaking to her children, and the bystander called the police.
An officer from the North Augusta Department of Public Safety arrived on the scene and arrested Wolf, 27, for disorderly conduct.
The town’s law defines disorderly conduct as “to utter, while in a state of anger, in the presence of another, any bawdy, lewd or obscene words or epithets.”
Wolf described the arrest: “He was like, ‘You’re under arrest’ … right in front of kids, in front of my husband, in front of customers.”
According to Wolf, the woman in the store had been following her and her family. “She’s like, ‘You said the f-word’, and I’m like, ‘When did I say this to my kids?”
The incident report reads:
… Officer Smith met the complainant, [redacted], at Kroger in reference to a subject using profane language toward the subject’s children. [Redacted] stated that she further heard the female tell the children to “Stop squishing the F—— bread.” [Redacted] stated that she heard the female use similar phrases multiple times. [Redacted] stated that she approached the female and requested that she not use that language towards her children … Officer Smith advised Ms. Wolf that she was under arrest for disorderly conduct. Ms. Wolf was handcuffed behind the back with the handcuffs being double locked and checked for proper fit. Ms. Wolf was transported to the Booking Room ….
It’s probably fair to say that seeing their mother arrested was more disturbing to the children than hearing expletives.
Customers in the store had mixed reactions to the arrest, WJBF reported. “It seems a little extreme,” said Amy Sawicz, who shops at the store.
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Fellow shopper Terry Hunt said, “Parents, we don’t guide our children in the proper way.”
Wolf, the mother of two little girls, says she is a good mother and loves her children more than anything.
Others wondered: Couldn’t she simply have been warned?
“I didn’t harm nobody. I didn’t hurt nobody. The [bystander] lady said she was having a bad day. So, because you’re having a bad day you’re going to ruin somebody’s life,” Wolf said.
Investigating officers say that because the law is on the books, they have to enforce it. They added they treated Wolf with dignity and released her as soon as possible.
WAGT in North Augusta showed video of Wolf playing a phone message from the witness in which the woman apologized. She said in the message that hearing the profanity made her recall her own abusive childhood.
Wolf said that she regretted cursing in public and vowed that she would not use profanity in public, in front of her children, or with her husband again.
She is due in court September 12.