GA: Loud yelling and cursing at officers conducting a search here constituted crime of obstruction

Defendant was properly convicted of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer for screaming and yelling during execution of a search warrant where the officers tried to get him to stop three times, and finally it took two to deal with him, both stopping what they were doing inside. This crossed the line from mere speech. Johnson v. State, 2014 Ga. App. LEXIS 801 (November 21, 2014):

The officer testified that he explained to Johnson that because he did not live there, he did not have a right to be present and therefore needed to step over to another property, but Johnson refused to leave. According to the officer, Johnson’s continued “hollering and cussing . . . got everybody else yelling and screaming” a couple of houses down. He testified that he was concerned for his and other officer’s safety and could not simply ignore Johnson, because “when I’m trying to take pictures and someone standing behind me hollering and cussing I don’t know what they’re fixing — and I’ve got a gun on my side, I’ve got to deal with him. I can’t take a chance of them grabbing my gun and I don’t know what they’re going to do in that state of mind.” The officer testified that he asked Johnson “a minimum of three times” to calm down and let him do his job before arresting him for obstruction. Finally, the officer stated that Johnson’s conduct prevented him from continuing to photograph the scene and going inside to collect evidence; it also caused another officer to stop his activities inside the house and come outside to assist.

Johnson was charged by accusation with the misdemeanor offense of obstruction of an officer, for that [he] … did knowingly and willfully obstruct and hinder … a law enforcement officer with the Polk County Police Department in the lawful discharge of his official duties, by screaming, cursing, and hindering said officer from performing his search and gathering evidence while [executing] a search warrant, in violation of OCGA § 16-10-24 (a).

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