DENVER — A ballet dancer who was arrested on a disorderly conduct complaint while exercising in an Oklahoma City park in high heels and with a cane is getting another opportunity to sue the city.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a judge in Oklahoma City should not have thrown out Allen Galbreath’s challenge to the disorderly conduct ordinance.
The Denver-based court decided 3-0 that the ordinance might be so vague that “a reasonable jury could conclude (Galbreath) lacked fair notice that his conduct in the park could lead to criminal sanctions.”
Galbreath, a former dancer with the Oklahoma Ballet, was arrested in 2010 in Goodholm Park when a woman called police, reporting she was concerned about a “man in high heels with a big stick and a purse.” The charge later was dismissed.
Judges of the six-state court, including Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma City, stated in a 17-page decision that a reasonable person could conclude that “Mr. Galbreath’s conduct was neither threatening or out of the ordinary.”
The appellate judges instructed U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City to reopen the lawsuit.
“We merely hold that (Heaton) erred in granting summary judgment to the city at this juncture because a reasonable jury could find Mr. Galbreath lacked fair notice that his conduct could be punished,” the judges wrote.