Show Mobile Navigation
Weird Stuff |

10 Times Farts Broke The Law

by Blake Lynch
fact checked by Jamie Frater

No matter what anyone tells you, everyone farts. In fact, if the average person farts 14 times a day, there are 365 days in a year, and the average lifespan is approximately 80 years, then you will fart over 400,000 times in your life. Not only human beings fart, though. All kinds of animals, including cats and dogs, do, too. This is because any animal with the right diet as well as a certain type of gut bacteria is able to generate gas in its digestive system.[1]

In nature, some animals use their farts for strategic advantages. On the other hand, as is the case in this article, some farts result in situations that leave a person facing the strong arm of the law. This list will review ten times that intervention by law enforcement was ultimately required just because someone broke wind.

10 The Fart Joke That Landed A Man In Prison

Farts can empty rooms. So can bomb threats. In 2012, Harold Wayne Hadley was studying at the Jones County Junior College’s Terrell Tisdale Library in Mississippi when he went to the bathroom.

While there, Hadley decided to write a fart joke on a piece of toilet paper. Because Hadley was born in a rural area, he decided to refer to his fart as a “bomb,” which resulted in him facing quite an amount of trouble when someone else found the slip of paper.

A nearby teacher was able to distinguish that the writing was Hadley’s. A total of 11 emergency response agencies arrived at the school to find out that there was not actually a bomb. As a result, Hadley was arrested and held on a $20,000 bond.[2] At time the accident occurred, Hadley was a straight-A student and was scheduled to graduate in a few months.

9 Farts That Led To Brawls

Most people don’t enjoy it when someone passes gas around them. In 2016, Deborah Ann Burns of Immokalee, Florida, became angry when her boyfriend, Willie Butler, “farted in her face” while the two were watching TV. When the woman confronted her boyfriend about his flatulence, he told her to shut up. At this point, the two began arguing. At some point, Burns threw a kitchen knife at Butler’s stomach. She also picked up a stick and hit Butler’s harm. The fight ended when Burns ran away from her farting boyfriend. Police later arrived and arrested her on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Bail was set at $50,000.

This isn’t the only fight that occurred in 2016 over farting in Florida. At the Sloppy Joe’s bar in Key West, an argument arose one night between two couples when someone farted at the bar.[3] Unable to let the rule “whoever smelt it, dealt it” decide matters, one of the patrons ended up trading words with another customer, which led to a fistfight and a dislocated shoulder. While law enforcement was called to the scene, the injured patron declined to press charges.

8 The Creation Of Cow Fart Laws

California’s Governor Jerry Brown has been a staunch advocate for laws that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which includes regulating activity at dairy farms and landfills.

In 2016, Brown even approved Senate Bill 1383, which addresses black carbon, methane, and other gases that harm the environment. In addition, these gases also can make people sick.

One of the primary products at dairy farms that emits these gases is manure, or cow poop. Gases are also emitted by cows that belch and fart. In accordance with 1383, dairy farmers are required to cut methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.[4]

To help farmers follow these regulations, the state of California even established a fund to help dairy farmers purchase digesters, which are large machines that turn the methane gas from cow farts and manure into electricity. California, however, lacked the funds to provide a digester for every farm in the state. As a result, more cows than California would like are still farting.

7 Berlin Upholds The Right To Fart

One of the largest crime scandals that shook Berlin didn’t involve violence at all. Instead, the subject was farts. In February 2016, police officers asked a man who had been partying for ID. The man farted. Twice.

The officers accused the man of having aimed his flatulence at one of them, and he was eventually fined €900. The man refused to pay and was ultimately forced to go to court over the matter in September 2017. The case was dismissed in less than ten minutes.

The whole smelly affair, or rather the taxpayer money spent on trying to prosecute this apparently criminal farter, ignited a scandal in the city. The press referred to the debacle as the Irrer-Pups Prozess (the “Crazy Toot Trial”).[5]

6 Farts That Grounded Planes

Farts can do all sorts of things, like clearing a room. In the case of the following story, one forced a plane to land. In 2018, an elderly man’s flatulence on a flight from Dubai to Amsterdam caused the airplane to make an emergency stop.[6]

Passengers on the plane were unhappy with the man’s gassiness and asked him to stop, but he refused to do so. The pilot of the plane even directly ordered the man to stop farting, but this request didn’t work, either. As a result, two passengers who were sitting next to the elderly man started a fight, which got so out of hand that the pilot was required to make an unscheduled stop.

After the plane landed, police boarded the aircraft and removed the men who caused the fight as well as two women who were seated nearby. No arrests were made in the end.

Farts have disrupted other flights as well. In 2017, an American Airlines flight was evacuated because it smelled like someone made a very foul fart. The smell, however, was determined to be a mechanical failure.

In 2006, law enforcement was required to bring bomb-sniffing dogs onto a plane due to the smell of burning matches, which were determined to be from a woman who was trying to hide the smell of her farts by lighting a match.

5 The Fart Exorcist Lawsuit

Photo credit: Henry Fuseli

There is no shortage of strange lawsuits, with one of the most infamous being the McDonald’s coffee that was too hot. In what was likely the first lawsuit of its kind, however, a case arose in Romania concerning farts.

In 2013, a lawyer in Pitesti, Romania, sued an Orthodox bishop and four priests because these religious leaders failed to exorcise the “flatulent demons” from the man’s home.[7]

The case arose when the lawyer’s home began to stink badly, which the lawyer attributed to very gassy demons. In an effort to remove the smells from his home, the man contacted religious authorities. While the four priests attempted to drive the farting demons from the lawyer’s home, their efforts were unsuccessful.

Accusing the priests of fraud, the lawyer told the court that after these efforts, he continued to see the demons in the form of animals, including crows. The demons, the lawyer claimed, also turned his TV on and off and continued to make foul smells that gave him headaches.

Both a lower Romanian court and the Romanian high court rejected the allegations. As a result, the lawyer took his case to the European Court of Human Rights, which hears cases involving potential violations of various human rights provisions.

4 Fired For Farting On The Job

Farting too much can annoy people around you. Sometimes, it can even cost you a job. In 2014, Richard Clem was fired from his comptroller position at the Case Pork Roll Company in New Jersey due to flatulence.

Clem alleged that his extreme gas (as well as uncontrollable diarrhea) resulted from a gastric bypass surgery he had in 2010. Later, in 2013, Clem’s symptoms grew worse and created a significant disruption for other workers at the Case Pork Roll Company.

According to Clem’s wife, the company’s president made Clem work at home and said things like, “We cannot run an office and have visitors with the odor in office,” and, “Tell Richard we are having complaints from people who have problems with the odors.”

In response, Clem’s wife filed a lawsuit against his employer, claiming that the termination was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clem also took legal action through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Clem’s attorney insisted that farting was “the sexy part of the story,” but that Clem suffers from obesity, which is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was dismissed.[8]

3 Farts That Led To Fires

Photo credit: Christopher Sadowski

People don’t often forget pranks, particularly those involving farts. In 2018 in Yakima, Washington, Joel Cruz got mad when he started thinking about his brother farting in his face a decade earlier. So, Cruz put a pot of vegetable oil on the stove, turned up the heat, and left the house. The fire that arose burned down his parents’ home. Police arrived and arrested Cruz on charges of arson. After claiming that he heard voices in his head, law enforcement gave Cruz a mental evaluation. They tried to place him in a state hospital but could not because he was determined to be a danger to himself and others.

There are many other cases of farts leading to fires. In 2016, a woman was undergoing surgery at the Tokyo Medical University Hospital when she farted and ignited a laser that was being used in the operating room.[9] The resulting fire burned most of the woman’s body, waist, and legs, necessitating another surgery. Medical professionals reported that there were not any other potentially flammable materials in the room at the time that could have caused the fire.

2 Revenge Farts

It’s never a wise idea to use a fart for revenge purposes. In 2016, a man in Sweden was reported to law enforcement for executing a revenge fart because a woman did not want to have sex with him.

This event occurred after a man and woman in Laholm, located in Southwest Sweden, agreed to have sex and went to the woman’s home. Once they were there, she changed her mind. After she denied the man’s advances, the disgruntled suitor farted and left. The woman proceeded to inform law enforcement about the gas and claimed that the event disrupted her peace of mind. While Swedish law enforcement is obligated to investigate any reports of crime, they declined to pursue the matter in a court of law, as it could not be proven that the man broke wind on purpose.

Farts might just be an effective measure to stop the authorities. In 2017, police in Kansas City, Missouri, took Sean Sykes Jr. in for questioning over drug and gun charges.[10] During the interview, Sykes leaned to one side of his chair and let loose a loud fart. Afterward, he continued to be particularly flatulent. The detective questioning him decided to end the interview early due to Sykes’s flatulence. He still ended up facing the aforementioned drug and firearm charges, though.

1 Farts That Led To Death

Farts can have some particularly grisly ends. In 2012 in Ohio, 16-year-old Shaakira Dorsey got into a fight over farting. Dorsey had teased another girl after she passed gas, resulting in a fistfight that led to Dorsey’s death. As a result, the accused farter was charged with one count of murder.

Among the many other farts that have resulted in the deaths of people, the incident that probably claimed the most lives occurred in Jerusalem during the first century AD. The historian Josephus reported that during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a Roman soldier dropped his pants, bent over, and farted.[11] This fart enraged the surrounding crowd, resulting in a riot that claimed the lives of 10,000 people.

fact checked by Jamie Frater