Mother ticketed for swearing in Wal-Mart

August 13, 2008 5:48:33 PM PDT
A woman is in trouble for cursing inside a busy store in La Marque. An assistant fire marshal heard her, and wrote her a ticket on the spot. But investigators say that's not the only reason she ended up with a citation. The incident happened inside the Wal-Mart off I-45, the night before Tropical Storm Edouard hit.

"She should have gotten a ticket. She's lucky she didn't go to jail," said one shopper.

The woman was responding to a recent incident which sent a mother home with a ticket for cursing in public.

The shopper continued, "Because, you're in public. You can't do that."

That's exactly what La Marque's assistant fire marshal, Alfred Decker, tried to tell Kathryn Fridge, 28, when he allegedly overheard her use the 'f-word' in the store last week.

"He said, 'Ma'am, please refrain from using that language. You're not allowed to cuss in public like that,'" explained La Marque Fire Department Chief Todd Zacherl.

Zacherl spoke on Decker's behalf. He said the officer's warning to Fridge was only met with more expletives.

"I think he just originally went to just ask her politely not to use that type of language," Zacherl said. "Things escalated to the point where he had to do something. He couldn't just walk away."

The single mother walked away with a ticket, and concerns, say the chief, about his assistant fire marshal's actions. Zacherl says as far as he can tell, Decker responded appropriately.

"He said he did have to place cuffs on her in the parking lot because he couldn't get her to calm down," Zacherl said.

Cursing in public is certainly not a federal case. But people do get in trouble for it, just usually not at a Wal-Mart.

Zacherl explained, "These are the type of tickets you would find around the Kemah Boardwalk, things like that, or outside of a bar or something."

Most people we spoke with about the incident sided with the officer, but not everyone.

"It depends on what the reason is," said one woman. "She might have had a reason. She could have had a bad day and somebody just touched her wrong."

We made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Fridge. She was ticketed for disorderly conduct. She will either have to pay it, or go before a judge.

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