A Duluth Woman Is Challenging Whether Or Not It Is Illegal For Her to Be Topless at the Beach
According to FOX 21 Michelle Bennett of Duluth is now raising questions about the ambiguous wording of what defines "indecent exposure" in the state of Minnesota. This came about about after a woman called and reported her for being out on Park Point Topless.
Bennet has said she loves the beach as much as the next person but she prefers to be topless. She claims she has been out at Park Point topless for the last two years and nobody has ever complained until last month. She went on to say " A woman approached me after about twenty minutes of laying in the sun asking be to put a top on, saying it was making her children uncomfortable!"
Bennet declined to put a top on so the Duluth Police were called out to Park Point, when the Police Officer arrived he said their was a report of someone refusing to put a top on and that Park Point is not a nude beach. In return Bennett said to the Officer that she was not nude she was topless.
Here is where the ambiguous language portion comes into this. Bennett explained to the officer " One Minnesota law that says a person can’t publicly expose their private parts, but that same law doesn’t say if a woman’s breasts fall under that category.A separate Minnesota law does say, however, nudity includes a woman’s breasts, but nudity is only defined as illegal if you’re presenting it to an audience." She claimed that she was not displaying them for an audience but was laying in the sun minding her own business so she was not arrested.
Duluth Police Department’s public information officer Ingrid Hornibrook said “If there’s people that are around that are feeling uncomfortable with behavior that’s attached to a law stating that that behavior isn’t legal, then that’s a point to step in.”
Bennett eventually did put her top back on that day, but after the incident, she reached out to Duluth mayor Emily Larson and the city attorney hoping to make a change regarding the vague laws, so she doesn’t run into that experience again. Unfortunately these statutes are state laws, so only state legislatures have the power to change the wording of the laws, if they choose to do so.