15-year-old boy arrested after using foul language in McChesney Park, police say

Steve Pierce is not proud of what his child did, but he says it wasn't criminal.

"I think the arresting officer's actions were just as abhorrent as the language used by my son," said Pierce.

His 15-year-old son was sitting with friends under a tree at Port St. Lucie's McChesney Park last week. Police say it appeared he was singing along with an MP3 player. Then, all of a sudden, he screamed out two curse words and a racial slur.

"We reserve arrest as the last resort, but in this particular case, a point needed to be made," said Port St. Lucie Police Chief John Bolduc .

A parks officer says there were children on the playground. He arrested the teen, citing a St. Lucie County ordinance. It says no person shall engage in insulting or indecent language or behavior that breaches public peace.

"I have a big problem with criminalizing a 15-year-old boy over a mistake that wasn't directed in animosity or meant to assault anybody in any way," said Pierce.

Pierce says criminalizing language is a slippery slope. Police Chief John Bolduc defends the arrest. He says the teen's behavior was unacceptable.

"The intent there was to disturb and breach the peace, and we take that very serious because we've had some incidents in our parks recently," said Chief Bolduc .

The most recent was a shooting at Sportsman's Park, in which a basketball player died.

Pierce says he wishes the officer just called him after the cursing incident, so he could discipline his son without the help of the law. 

Pierce plans to have the non-violent misdemeanor charge heard in teen court. That way, it won't be on his son's record, as an adult.

Meanwhile, police have banned the teen from all city parks for a year.

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