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‘Speed trap’ sign lands Houston pedestrian in jail

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From the chron...

http://blog.chron.com/newswatch/2012/06/speed-trap-sign-lands-houston-pedestrian-in-jail

Seems like an officer trumped up a charge against her in retaliation for warning drivers of a speed trap. I'm sure they'll sort that out, but do we private citizens have any defense against this sort of abuse of power by police officers? Does this rise to the level of official oppression?

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If you're going to be an asshat to cops when they try to do their job, then don't be surprised if they are asshats back at you. That is the lesson in this.

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No doubt, but they get to slap you in jail, at least temporarily, for doing something that is completely legal.

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If you're going to be an asshat to cops when they try to do their job, then don't be surprised if they are asshats back at you. That is the lesson in this.

Translation: If you are going to exercise your 1st Amendment rights near government agents, don't be surprised when government agents violate your civil rights.

There is no excuse for what the cops did, regardless whether they were annoyed at the girls lawful actions. Recording untrue statements in a police report is Tampering With a Government Document, a 3rd degree felony. Unlawfully arresting someone is Official Oppression, a class A misdemeanor (although kidnapping committed by a civilian is a felony). As long as law and order types condone, and even support the mistreatment of citizens by the government, this will continue to occur. Frankly, when even libertarian types like Niche condone it, we are in deep trouble.

Hopefully, a couple of witnesses come forward to help the girl out. However, the only punishment the cop will receive is a dismissal of the charge, or perhaps a Not Guilty at trial. And yet, judges still expect me to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag that condones this activity every morning.

I wish the girl was a HAIFer. I'd take on that case in a heartbeat.

Edited by RedScare
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Translation: If you are going to exercise your 1st Amendment rights near government agents, don't be surprised when government agents violate your civil rights.

Further translation from between the lines: cops and bureaucrats don't have to care. Or at least, enough of them don't care, and so the pragmatic solution is to not be an asshat. Those who ask for trouble are prone to find it. And then what? You take risks and exert energy and time to bust asshat cops for the sake of catharsis...and then what? There will still be asshat cops around, and they might even know you and resent you.

There are more enjoyable endeavors in life than antagonizing the police. Like beer. And you probably shouldn't be doing both of those things (beer and the antagonization of cops) at once, anyway. They are mutually exclusive activities, but only one has consistently enjoyable consequences.

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Sometimes you have to ask for trouble. We're coming up on the Fourth of July next week and, among other things, that commemorates some guys who decided they had had enough of the asshats across the pond trampling on their rights. I don't see how we should do anything less.

Completely agree on the beer comments.

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If that post sounded like the plaintive cries of a citizen who has given into his oppressors, it is. And, since most Americans agree with this logic, we get what we deserve. This is why I do not play the patriotic game, I laugh at tough talk bumper stickers that claim, "these colors don't run", and why there is no shortage of business in my line of work. We have given up. Our government owns us, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. We just drink more beer to dull the pain...and then they arrest us for that, too.

I am not really picking on Niche. There are far more p**sies who exhibit symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome by actually supporting the government thugs in their oppression. I suppose they are just hoping it never happens to them. Oh well. Job security.

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Yeah...I went over the top with the flag waving...chalk it up to too much beer and recently watched reruns of Mel Gibson's movie "The Patriot". Still, I applaud the girl for trying to stick it to the man, even though I'd probably have just flashed my headlights old-school style (since it's not likely that I would have been a pedestrian in the area anyway).

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Yeah...I went over the top with the flag waving...chalk it up to too much beer and recently watched reruns of Mel Gibson's movie "The Patriot". Still, I applaud the girl for trying to stick it to the man, even though I'd probably have just flashed my headlights old-school style (since it's not likely that I would have been a pedestrian in the area anyway).

It's interesting you mention headlights, someone in Florida got pinched for doing this not too long ago, it was decided that flashing your headlights is part of your first amendment rights. Thank god, cause I constantly wait for good looking girls to flash their headlights.

Anyway, I agree fully with RS, it's a sad state of affairs when cops just arrest and ask questions later. I like to make myself paranoid every now and then and go watch YouTube videos about police going too far. The last time I did that was when there were people partying in the north east and one happy Guy started walking towards a mounted officer, he saw he shouldn't have been there, started backing away and got trampled, beaten and arrested for walking on the sidewalk.

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The woman also learned that if you are doing something to annoy off the police, they will arrest you instead of citing you for such egregious offenses as "walking in the street when a sidewalk is available". If she had been on the sidewalk, the police would have had to think harder about which bogus charge to use.

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Further translation from between the lines: cops and bureaucrats don't have to care. Or at least, enough of them don't care, and so the pragmatic solution is to not be an asshat. Those who ask for trouble are prone to find it. And then what? You take risks and exert energy and time to bust asshat cops for the sake of catharsis...and then what? There will still be asshat cops around, and they might even know you and resent you.

There are more enjoyable endeavors in life than antagonizing the police. Like beer. And you probably shouldn't be doing both of those things (beer and the antagonization of cops) at once, anyway. They are mutually exclusive activities, but only one has consistently enjoyable consequences.

Victim blaming.

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Victim blaming.

I blame every deserving party. If a prostitute gets raped, you'd better believe I'm going to bring up her career as a risk factor. And if an asshat gets out-asshatted, well that's just the nature of things. When you play with fire, you're going to get burned. There is no completely blameless party and nothing that comes out of this story is likely to make our country less oppressive.

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The surprising thing is that people are surprised when the cops do things like this. I learned when I was a teenager that the police pretty much do whatever they want. They can take you to jail for looking at them funny. Sure, you'll get out the next day but they'll make your life miserable for a while. The last thing you want to say to a police officer is "You can't take me to jail for that." They love it when you say that.

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If you resist arrest, and the arrest itself was found to be unjustified/bogus, is the resisting arrest charge also generally thrown out?

I'm assuming here that the resistance did not result in injury to either the officer or yourself.

Also, Redscare: Can you not find a way to contact this girl and offer to defend her? Is that a violation of the rules or something?

Edited by Simbha

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If you resist arrest, and the arrest itself was found to be unjustified/bogus, is the resisting arrest charge also generally thrown out?

I'm assuming here that the resistance did not result in injury to either the officer or yourself.

No. Resisting even an illegal arrest is unlawful. Your only choice in that situation is to go along peacefully.

Don't fall for the BS claim that the girl resisted arrest, however. How do we know she didn't? Because, a cop who would take a girl to jail for jaywalking (her alleged crime) would CERTAINLY have trumped up a Resisting Arrest charge if given the opportunity. Cops routinely file Resisting charges that are not legitimate. While the charge of Resisting Arrest requires force to be used against the officer, they will file charges even against people who merely protest their arrest, or passively resist by tensing their muscles.

EDIT: Simbha, soliciting clients is illegal in some circumstances. While I could probably send a letter to her offering my services, I would not do so specifically to her. I feel comfortable that a person with enough indignation to contact the media about her arrest likely will contact an attorney as well.

Edited by RedScare

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She's blogging on the chron link from post #1 under the name Natalie_Plummer.

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Was she riding her bicycle on the sidewalk? Also wouldn't she want the police officer to be pulling over people who are speeding if she's a pedestrian/bicyclist; they are endangering her life more than theirs?

Another thought; W. Dallas is poorly paved on the right-hand lanes in both directions, it is very dangerous to speed on this road in that drivers in the right lane are paced much slower than a speeder in the left lane (similar to people who speed on lower Westheimer Rd. but with the curves).

Edited by infinite_jim

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One could argue whether she deserved a citation or not but to be thrown in jail is going way to overboard. Shame on them.

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I really really dislike traffic cops. Brb giving you a ticket for speeding while they speed to the Chick-Fil-A parking lot. I've heard cops say they can relax and surf the web on their phones because they already reached their quotas for the month (Arlington cops). These fools park their motorcycles on corner sidewalks, try to blend in with other motorcycles at a motorcycle shop, park on the bottom of the hill with a steep grade, knowing your speed will increase, etc. I hate them.

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This whole issue is petty... on both sides. I believe a Pulp Fiction quote sums it up well (obviously Antwan = the girl, Marcellus = the cop).

Happy Friday!

VINCENT

Still I hafta say, play with matches,

ya get burned.

JULES

Whaddya mean?

VINCENT

You don't be givin' Marsellus

Wallace's new bride a foot massage.

JULES

You don't think he overreacted?

VINCENT

Antwan probably didn't expect

Marsellus to react like he did, but

he had to expect a reaction.

Edited by SkylineView

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Hopefully there's a dash cam or something.... The fact that she made a video of the cop standing in the street and then took the effort to make the sign and stand out in 100 degree heat seems a bit suspicious. This is certainly a story that deserves attention, but it seems that people often side against the police quickly because it is easy (we hate tickets) and quite frankly, we all apparently want to get worked up over something. I do question why she didn't get a resisting arrest charge if that was really the case.

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Perhaps this will open the public eye to the level of corruption prevalent throughout city government.

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Hopefully there's a dash cam or something.... The fact that she made a video of the cop standing in the street and then took the effort to make the sign and stand out in 100 degree heat seems a bit suspicious. This is certainly a story that deserves attention, but it seems that people often side against the police quickly because it is easy (we hate tickets) and quite frankly, we all apparently want to get worked up over something. I do question why she didn't get a resisting arrest charge if that was really the case.

I agree with this statement. I believe that people should be punished for breaking laws that endanger others (arguably, breaking any law). I agree with Fringe in that jail seems like a very harsh punishment for this.

In my opinion, people - everyone - should be cited for speeding. We'd probably get far fewer accidents on the road after a bit of time, if that were the case. Unfortunately, it would also reduce the revenue to the city - but I don't believe PDs should be cash cows for governments.

I don't generally speed, but when I do it's either because there's an emergency or because traffic is moving at a clip that's faster than the posted limit and I think it would be more dangerous to go slower. However, ultimately, it's the responsibility of the PD to enforce the traffic laws. I don't think the girl was right to hold up a sign indicating that there was a speed trap, but I also don't think this charge is reasonable given the information that's been presented.

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I agree with this statement. I believe that people should be punished for breaking laws that endanger others (arguably, breaking any law). I agree with Fringe in that jail seems like a very harsh punishment for this.

In my opinion, people - everyone - should be cited for speeding. We'd probably get far fewer accidents on the road after a bit of time, if that were the case. Unfortunately, it would also reduce the revenue to the city - but I don't believe PDs should be cash cows for governments.

I don't generally speed, but when I do it's either because there's an emergency or because traffic is moving at a clip that's faster than the posted limit and I think it would be more dangerous to go slower. However, ultimately, it's the responsibility of the PD to enforce the traffic laws. I don't think the girl was right to hold up a sign indicating that there was a speed trap, but I also don't think this charge is reasonable given the information that's been presented.

Eh, it's not the speeding that causes accidents, but people's driving habits. People just pick a lane and drive whatever speed and don't yield for faster traffic. All speed limits in the urban areas should be raised to at least 70MPH and cops should enforce the same laws they do on the Autobahn, or hell, even China. These speed limits are nothing but a money grab. There are so many different cities in DFW, and the cops here will speed through one city, and then slow down once reaching their own to start pulling people over (have seen Fort Worth and Arlington cops do this...quite pathetic). I got pulled over for passing him at 64 (speed limit is 60)!!

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^^This doesn't make sense.

In the same sentence, you say raise the speed limit to 70 mph and then have cops enforce the laws as they do on the Autobahn which doesn't have a speed limit.

And then you throw in China. Which I don't remember what the speed limit in urban areas was - but it really doesn't matter. Because even on expressways, no matter what time of day, traffic was crawling. Imagine the worst wreck during rush hour during Christmas Season on the West Loop in front of the Galleria and you are about 1/3 of the way there as far as bottlenecks. And any existing traffic laws are totally disregarded. People back down freeway exit ramps, go the wrong way on cloverleafs, get out of their cars in the main lanes and go into stores on the side of the road for snacks. Cars, pedestrians, bicycles all using the same expressway lanes and all traveling wherever they wanted at a snail's pace. And yet, I never saw anything more than a fender-bender - mainly because you can't do much damage at under 5 mph. It was also the most entertaining traffic I think I have ever been in.

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Don't know if anyone watches top gear, but this season they went to India, there was a part of the trip they drove on the "freeway" all manner of vehicle, cars, trucks, bicycles, water Buffalo, going whichever direction they pleased, at night, they'd just park, or drive with no lights. Scary to even watch.

Anyway, I don't understand the need to speed in the city anyway, the difference in time spent on the freeway even for a 30 mile trip at 60 vs 65 is less than 3 minutes. Who can't leave to be on time 3 minutes earlier? Oh, and you'll probably save money at the gas station as well.

On longer trips, yeah, give me the autobahn, going 120 vs 75 really does make a huge difference when you're talking about a 500 mile trip.

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^^This doesn't make sense.

In the same sentence, you say raise the speed limit to 70 mph and then have cops enforce the laws as they do on the Autobahn which doesn't have a speed limit.

And then you throw in China. Which I don't remember what the speed limit in urban areas was - but it really doesn't matter. Because even on expressways, no matter what time of day, traffic was crawling. Imagine the worst wreck during rush hour during Christmas Season on the West Loop in front of the Galleria and you are about 1/3 of the way there as far as bottlenecks. And any existing traffic laws are totally disregarded. People back down freeway exit ramps, go the wrong way on cloverleafs, get out of their cars in the main lanes and go into stores on the side of the road for snacks. Cars, pedestrians, bicycles all using the same expressway lanes and all traveling wherever they wanted at a snail's pace. And yet, I never saw anything more than a fender-bender - mainly because you can't do much damage at under 5 mph. It was also the most entertaining traffic I think I have ever been in.

There are sections with speed limits, or the suggested speed. And when I said enforce the same laws, I'm talking about passing on the right, not yielding for faster traffic, tailgating, etc. Makes sense to me, but instead we just get a ticket for going five+ over.

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There are sections with speed limits, or the suggested speed. And when I said enforce the same laws, I'm talking about passing on the right, not yielding for faster traffic, tailgating, etc. Makes sense to me, but instead we just get a ticket for going five+ over.

just got back from a 3 week vacation in Germany this Sunday.

There is no part of the autobahn that isn't controlled. For the most part they have signs that mean 'no speed limit' but they monitor every section of the road constantly and will mediate speeds as necessary for traffic, weather, construction, etc. if there is a speed limit posted, it isn't a suggestion. and for the most part there's only small sections anymore that they ever lift a top speed limit and allow for however fast you want to go. on the road between Stutgard and Munich is one of the roads we were on that they had no speed limit posted. We were doing about 90mph in our ford transit and getting passed as if we were standing still by even the smallest of hatchbacks.

It seems the entire autobahn is being reconstructed. you can't drive 30 miles today without a construction project slowing things up. I guess they want to keep the economy booming with some shovel ready projects. it's good though because they are going from 2 lanes each direction to 3 lanes each direction, which really allows traffic to smooth out.

Our interstate highways are in nowhere near the condition that the autobahn is in, their yearly inspections go a bit farther than checking the lights and honking the horn, and getting a license to drive is a long and very expensive proposition.

If they decided to go to an autobahn type system with no speed limit, I'd stay off the roads for at least a year to let the people who shouldn't be driving and those driving broken cars to kill themselves going 120 while talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, or because their brakes give out due to crappy maintenance.

Edited by samagon
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There are sections with speed limits, or the suggested speed. And when I said enforce the same laws, I'm talking about passing on the right, not yielding for faster traffic, tailgating, etc. Makes sense to me, but instead we just get a ticket for going five+ over.

Got it. Makes more sense now.

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