Ohio man arrested for cutting grass in public park

Friday, May 29, 2009

A 48-year-old man in Ohio has been arrested and is facing charges of obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct after refusing to stop cutting the grass at a local public park.

John Hamilton of Sandusky says on Thursday the grass in Sandusky Central Park was over 12 inches long. He decided to take up the task of cutting it after driving around his city and seeing how long the grass was in vacant lots and in public parks. He was also inspired by Toledo's mayor, who spent his time off cutting the grass in his local parks.

Aerial view of Sandusky, Ohio

"I was only trying to save the city some money," said Hamilton to FOX 8 in Cleveland. As Hamilton was cutting the grass, city workers attempted to stop him, showing him a list of lawns they were going to cut, including the one he was mowing. Hamilton told the worker to go cut another lawn while he finished cutting the one in Sandusky Central Park.

A short time later, police arrived on the scene and told Hamilton to stop cutting the grass. When he refused, police verbally warned him. When he refused a second time, police arrested him and charged him with obstruction and disorderly conduct. Police say that the trash was not removed from the lawn prior to him mowing it and his riding mower was throwing the debris onto the sidewalks and into the streets.

City officials call the incident unfortunate, but that they knew the grass would be an issue months before the growing season started. Officials say there are over 600 acres of park grass that needs to be mowed regularly, but that only three or four people are assigned the task due to city budget cuts. Officials also add that residents can adopt local parks in an effort to help maintain them, but Hamilton did not go through the process.

Hamilton appeared in court today where he pled not guilty.

"I am a citizen," said Hamilton who added he had no regrets about the incident. "The only thing I'm worried about is...how am I going to tell my wife."