East Lansing law to rein in celebratory fires struck down

People around a large fire in East Lansing following MSU's Big Ten title win over OSU. (Courtesy WILX - Dec. 8, 2013)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A 1999 ordinance aimed at preventing raucous rallies near Michigan State University has been declared unconstitutional.

The Lansing State Journal says East Lansing police have ticketed people who are within 300 feet of a fire but don’t alert authorities.

District Court Judge Andrea Larkin last week said the ordinance is vague and penalizes what could be “innocent conduct.” She dismissed a case against two women who were arrested.

Over the years, mattresses and couches have been set on fire after big football victories, especially in the Cedar Village area on the edge of Michigan State’s campus.

East Lansing police Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth says the ordinance has been an effective way to control large crowds and fires. The city hasn’t decided whether it will appeal to a higher court.

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Information from: Lansing State Journal

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