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Dallas Police to Cite Erykah Badu for Disorderly Conduct

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Dallas Morning News: After consulting with city prosecutors, the Dallas Police Department has decided that it will issue a disorderly conduct citation to Erykah Badu for getting naked in Dealey Plaza last month.

Erykah Badu
Deputy Chief Mike Genovesi, who oversees the special investigations division, said he expects that the citation will be issued next week. "The statements from the witness would rise to the level of disorderly conduct," he said. "The issuance of a citation is pretty routine for that charge."

Genovesi said police had one witness who told the authorities that she was with her two small children when she "observed Ms. Badu remove her clothing on the public street. The witness had two small children with her and was offended."

Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine, and akin to a traffic ticket.

City officials also are considering whether city law should be strengthened to prevent similar incidents, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said Thursday.

Caraway, chairman of the Dallas City Council's Public Safety Committee, said he wants to examine whether tough penalties, such as a hefty fine, could be established for people who produce a film for profit in the city without the proper permits.

"None of this would have occurred had she stayed clothed," Caraway said. "But since she didn't, it elevated the need for making sure that we have policies in place that will protect folks and the integrity of the city as best we possibly can."

Badu's representative did not return a call or e-mail seeking comment Thursday.

City officials have said the Dallas-born artist did not seek the proper permits to produce the video for her song "Window Seat."

In the video, which was shot in one take on the afternoon of March 13, Badu strips as she walks toward the spot where President John F. Kennedy was shot. An edited-in rifle sound is heard and Badu falls to the ground with adults and children looking on.

The video went viral and has made headlines across the country.

Dallas police said this week that no witnesses had come forward to complain. That has since changed; police now say they are gathering information and have spoken to at least one woman who said she witnessed the video shoot.

"The most that will come out of this from a criminal standpoint is a disorderly conduct [charge], if that," said Lt. Andy Harvey, a police spokesman. The charge, a misdemeanor, would probably result in a citation for Badu.

It will be up to the city attorney's office to decide whether to pursue charges.

Caraway gained national attention for his battle against another type of exposure. His "Pull 'Em Up" campaign targets males who consider saggy pants a fashionable look.

In this case, Caraway said he is concerned about whether Badu or others could take the public nudity concept to the next level.

"What if there is another take to her bizarre activity?" Caraway said.

"What if there is a part two and we don't take some type of action or put it up for discussion and she comes out and really gets with it and does a Michael Jackson-type video and have 15, 20 people and all of them take their clothes off?

"We damned if we do, damned if we don't," Caraway said.

Badu can still count Caraway among her fans, the council member said.

He even enjoys the new song - just not the video that goes with it.

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