If you're going to mow your lawn at an odd hour in Oklahoma City, you might make sure all of your neighbors think it's a reasonable time first.
City officials said a man arrested last week after a neighbor complained about him mowing his lawn at 4:30 a.m. is charged with violating the city's noise ordinance.
A section of the ordinance prohibits noise that “annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”
It will be up to the city's municipal court system to decide if such a person would be annoyed by Phil Ray Gage, 40, mowing his lawn in the early hours of Aug. 26.
His first appearance in court is scheduled for Sept. 26, a court spokesman said.
Restrictions don't apply to lawn mowers
The noise ordinance does prohibit sustained noises of 50 decibels or more from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and 55 decibels or more from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but a lawn mower wouldn't count as sustained noise under normal circumstances, city spokeswoman Kristy Yager said.
She said a generator running for hours is an example of a noise source that would count.
City code enforcement personnel, not police, enforce that part of the ordinance, Yager said.
A city worker would measure the decibel level on the part of a property line closest to the noise source.
Lawn mower noise produces about 105 decibels, according to information provided by the American Speech-
The part of the ordinance police allege Gage violated is subject to what a municipal court judge would define as reasonable, police Capt. Patrick Stewart said.
Police or members of the public can sign a complaint alleging that part of the ordinance was violated.
Man reportedly argumentative
Gage, who is black, was argumentative with officer Kylie Turner, who is white, called her a racist and used a slur for black people during the incident last week, Turner wrote in a police report.
Turner reported Gage “continued to yell and cuss” throughout her contact with him, spurred by his neighbor's call to police.
Turner handcuffed Gage and put him in the back of her car, then cited him and released him at the scene after conferring with her supervisor, Stewart said.
Gage admitted telling Turner he thought she was “acting racist” and said he thinks he may have been treated differently if he were white, but otherwise downplayed the role of race or his alleged unruly behavior.
“I don't see why I had to be handcuffed and thrown in the back of the car,” Gage said Thursday.
Gage's house has a lawn in slightly better shape than many of the other drought-ravaged lawns on his middle-
He said he knows all but one of his neighbors well, has mowed at odd hours for years and didn't know anyone would be upset.
He faces a maximum fine of $500, plus fees and court costs, if he's convicted.