City Council repeals ban on street dancing

Hundred-dollar fines for dancing in the street are history.

The City Council voted to repeal the ordinance outlining street dancing on May 12.

Proponents of repealing the 1960s-era law said they want to prevent its misuse. At a public hearing in April, local advocates noted two occasions wherein the dancing law was the only charge used to arrest people who were homeless and suffering from mental health problems.

Mark Anderson of the Barbara Schneider Foundation said the law's dismissal should be &#8220part of a broader effort to decriminalize mental illness.

&#8220There is no requirement for mental health training for police officers in the state of Minnesota,” Anderson said following the hearing. &#8220Some might be thinking they are being tough on crime, but they're creating greater and greater problems for people with mental illness.”

Police spokesman Ron Reier said all Minneapolis Police officers undergo extensive training to deal with mental illness cases.

City Councilmember Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) has said he plans to take a closer look at other misdemeanor offenses such as loitering and lurking. At the public hearing, he said instances of arrest for dancing have created embarrassing publicity for the city.

The City Attorney, Police Department and Public Works Department do not object to the suspension of the dancing law. City officials said police have many ways to enforce traffic obstruction, such as laws against congregating on the sidewalks or interfering with vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The retired law states &#8220no person shall dance or engage or participate in dancing upon any public street or highway in the city; and no person shall provide for, promote or conduct any dance or dancing upon any public street or highway in the city, except at a block party.”

Gordon also said the dancing ordinance should be repealed because the definition of &#8220dancing” is subjective.