1969: The Details Of When Jim Morrison Got Arrested On Stage For Indecency

By Jacob Shelton
Rock singer Jim Morrison of the Doors posing in front of red and yellow psychedelic backdrop wearing leather head-to-toe. (Photo by Yale Joel/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

At the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, Florida, on March 1, 1969 Jim Morrison and The Doors walked onstage to thousands of people crammed into a hot, overstuffed venue. By all accounts the band - John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, and Robby Krieger - played a hypnotic set, but their musicianship was overshadowed as it often was by Morrison’s antics. That night, inspired by a cosmic buzz and who knows what substances he allegedly incited a riot while exposing himself from the stage.

We say allegedly because no one actually knows what happened. He was knocked off the stage and rushed out of the audience by police but an arrest wouldn’t come for days. After the band left Florida six warrants for his arrest were issued, one for “lewd and lascivious behavior in public by exposing his private parts and by simulating masturbation and oral copulation,” the rest were misdemeanors like public drunkennness and profanity. There was clearly a moral panic over the way that Morrison inspired his audience, but were the police right to arrest him? Or were they just scared of the Lizard King, this Messianic figure of the ‘60s counter culture?