Police Chief & Others React to Naked Man in Downtown Burlington

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Something you don’t see too often is now  quite the topic of discussion and conversation.  A man walking naked on Church Street and near the Waterfront for the last couple days.  Many were surprised, but the man walking in his birthday suit did nothing illegal.

Tuesday wasn’t the first time Ben Green saw a naked man roaming the streets of Burlington.  But it was the same reaction both times.  “Take out the phone and take a picture, immediately,” said the Burlington resident.

Tuesday an individual was seen by hundreds downtown with nothing but socks and shoes on.  “I think there’s a lot of people who have this notion of Burlington as these antithetical laws, you can walk outside naked, but you can’t take off your clothes,” said Green.

“Seems a little weird you can’t smoke on Church Street, but you can walk around naked,” pointed out Tim Halvorson, Owner and Operator of Halvorson’s Upstreet Cafe on Church.  He remembers seeing the same man strolling nude last year.

It’s an act hat’s completely legal.  “When I first came to Vermont I was informed early on nudity for the most part, is not a crime,” stated Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo.  He says he’s gotten a handful of phone calls since Tuesday afternoon.  “I let folks know as much as some people found that shocking or offensive, it was legal conduct,” he said.

There’s nothing in Vermont law that prohibits public nudity, only how you act when in the buff.  According to Vermont statute, a person guilty of open or gross lewdness and lascivious behavior could be arrested or fined, and possibly jailed.  The City of Burlington also prohibits public nudity in city parks.  But so far, the man has not broken those laws.  “We have the opportunity to send a message about what is reasonable behavior in public.  There is a difference between something that’s modest and something that’s legal,” said Chief del Pozo.

When it comes to serving the clothing-less customer, Halvorson was unsure.  “Nothing really surprises me.  I don’t even know whether or not we would have to serve him if he came in or anything.  Where does he keep his money,” asked Halvorson.

One thing’s for sure, “Keep Vermont weird, this guy is doing that very well,” stated Green.

We reached out to all Burlington City Councilors for comment.  We heard back from two.  Their consensus was that unless a large group of citizens come forward with concerns, public nudity is not a topic the Council will address anytime soon.
 

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