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What are the general Missouri low for verbal abuse and threatening? What

Resolved Question:

What are the general Missouri low for verbal abuse and threatening?
What action can be taken by calling police in this type of situation? Will they take any action?
What legal actions can be taken?

I have following two cases.

(1) We gathered at the place of worship. Few members of the congregation (four to five) came and verbally abused and attacked Chairman of the board in front of many members and his wife inside the building, causing insult, embarrassment and emotional stress regarding policy related to children’s behavior.

What can Chairman do? What police actions can be taken?? What right chairman has for legal actions as an individual or as a board chairman? People in the community in general do not like Chairman to get aggressive.

(2) This argument later continued outside the building. The Chairman was upset and he told one guy who was verbally abusing him not to shout ever again. He said let me come back in 10 minutes (his wife was with him and crying; his intention was to drop her off at home). The guy said; “are going to bring gun and kill me? “The Chairman threatened him if you sought again at ------. The guy is claiming that Chairman threatened to kill him.

What this verbal life threat means? What action police will take if guy complain?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.

Good morning Abdul,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of the entire situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Under the Missouri Revised Statutes, the following is the law as concerns the crime of Harassment:

 

Harassment

565.090. 1. A person commits the crime of harassment if he or she:

(1) Knowingly communicates a threat to commit any felony to another person and in so doing frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress to such other person; or

(2) When communicating with another person, knowingly uses coarse language offensive to one of average sensibility and thereby puts such person in reasonable apprehension of offensive physical contact or harm; or

(3) Knowingly frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress to another person by anonymously making a telephone call or any electronic communication; or

(4) Knowingly communicates with another person who is, or who purports to be, seventeen years of age or younger and in so doing and without good cause recklessly frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress to such other person; or

(5) Knowingly makes repeated unwanted communication to another person; or

(6) Without good cause engages in any other act with the purpose to frighten, intimidate, or cause emotional distress to another person, cause such person to be frightened, intimidated, or emotionally distressed, and such person's response to the act is one of a person of average sensibilities considering the age of such person.

2. Harassment is a class A misdemeanor unless:

(1) Committed by a person twenty-one years of age or older against a person seventeen years of age or younger; or

(2) The person has previously pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of a violation of this section, or of any offense committed in violation of any county or municipal ordinance in any state, any state law, any federal law, or any military law which, if committed in this state, would be chargeable or indictable as a violation of any offense listed in this subsection.

In such cases, harassment shall be a class D felony.



Under Missouri law, while the group who became disruptive, and the one guy in particular, were acting inappropriately, they did not violate any laws by creating a disturbance in the house of worship. There actions were certainly inappropriate for the circumstances, but the freedom of speech---even disruptive and disrespectful speech---applies in houses of worship as well as other public and private places.

So there would be no legal action which could be taken with regard to what occurred inside.

As regards XXXXX XXXXX outside, the guy who taunted the Chairman and tried to place words in the Chairman's mouth, the communications did not reach the point where there was any imminent threat of bodily harm, no weapons readily available, and no indicia that any threat would be carried out, and therefore there was no crime committed. Your statement attributed to the Director is not clearly a threat to commit a felony, and so I don't see it as being covered by subsection A(1) of the above law.

If this guy who confronted the Chairman tries to make a report to the police, the police would likely take the report and nothing else would happen.

Based on the totality of the circumstances that you describe, I see nothing illegal that the police would have any legal grounds to take any kind of action against. The place of worship is a private property and the owners of that property may choose to limit who may come onto the grounds, and if the operators of the place of worship determine that the members of the congregation that created the disturbance should be prevented from coming onto the grounds in the future, that may legally be accomplished by a no-trespassing warning issued to these members. And a violation of the no-trespassing order could make the individuals subject you arrest for trespassing.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Doug,


 


Thanks for your answer.


 


As per my understanding, group of people shouting and insulting, creating emotional stress in fron of family would not be taken as anything illegal at public places.


 


and in second case, even if Chairman thretened and said if you sought again , I will cut your throught will not be illegal because there was no weapon involved or there was no immediate danger. Guy put words in his mouth and threat was if he sought at him.


 


So in both the cases, police would not have done much.


 


Of course if they want to go to the court for ehatever reason any one can go at any time wright?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.

Good afternoon Abdul,

Thanks for your follow up questions.

You wrote:

As per my understanding, group of people shouting and insulting, creating emotional stress in fron of family would not be taken as anything illegal at public places. Yes, that is unfortunately correct. The free speech right is extremely powerful, and the feelings of others won't be considered as a probative factor if a court were to look at this particular situation. And certainly boisterously disagreeing with another person---even in a crude and irresponsible manner, is not illegal in MO---or in any other state for that matter.

and in second case, even if Chairman thretened and said if you sought again , I will cut your throught will not be illegal because there was no weapon involved or there was no immediate danger. Guy put words in his mouth and threat was if he sought at him. The threat by the Director was a figure of speech---the cutting of a throat would silence the loud person. I just don't see any real threat of a felony here. There was no weapon involved, none available and no threat to go get one. With no imminent threat, and no indication of the real intention to do so---I don’t see the police or the state's prosecutor doing anything about the verbal exchange.

So in both the cases, police would not have done much. Yes, that is correct.

Of course if they want to go to the court for ehatever reason any one can go at any time wright? Unfortunately, very little can prevent one person from suing another in the civil court. That is correct. But winning in court is another thing altogether---and in this case---I see no winnable civil action either.

Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated.Please keep in mind that until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be credited with helping you.

Thanks again.

Have a great day,

Doug

LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27881
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Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.
Good evening Abdul,

I wanted to thank you for using JustAnswer, and to inquire whether my answer to you was helpful to your understanding of the law, as regards XXXXX XXXXX

Is there anything else that I can assist you with, please feel free to ask. If you do not require further legal information at this time, please feel free to bookmark my profile so you can request me when you do have another question. Here is a link to my profile: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thank you very much and take care.

Doug
Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Abdul. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise. I am generally available at least 6 days a week, and often 7, and it would be my privilege to assist you again in the future.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have, or simply ask for me by name in the first sentence of your new question:
http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thanks again.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It would be tremendously appreciated.

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