Civil Liberties

Teens Busted for Dancing

Cops are unforgiving critics


LAWRENCE — Two men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after breaking out into dance moves when police tried to disperse a large crowd of people on the grounds of the South Lawrence East School Thursday.

But the bigger crime may be bad dancing since, according to the police report, the officers could not distinguish whether they were doing the "Harlem Shake" or dancing the "Dougie."

It all went down Thursday about 3:10 p.m., when Patrolman Radames Gonzalez responded to the neighborhood near the Stadium public housing project on North Parish Road for a report a disturbance involving a large crowd of teens preparing to fight. Upon arrival, he reported "50 to 60 kids grouped together walking through the Lawrence Housing Authority property" and headed to the school.

Gonzalez and police Capt. Michael Driscoll exchanged words with some of those in the crowd, and ordered the group to disperse.

"I announced my presence on the public announcement system to disperse or we would have to begin arresting people," Gonzalez wrote in his report. "It was at this moment I observed Shamal Nelson and Demarius Mckeithen begin to dance in the middle of the street with a dance I interpreted as the 'Dougie' or 'Harlem Shake.'"