Sunday, 2 January 2011

(here comes a rant) Moneymaking Speedtraps in Tennessee and Texas, everday guys win the fight against tyranny

If your route to work or NASCAR racing events at the Bristol Motor Speedway goes through Highway 11-E in Bluff City, beware that the local politicians have MADE a speed trap in Bluff City to generate revenue, they didn't take advantage of an existing change of speed limits, they changed 1 mile of roads speed.

YES, MONEYMAKING by effing with highway speeds and creating a speedtrap with cameras just to get your $90.

The 55 mph highway is 2 lanes in both directions, and for a mile, has been effed with to install a 45mph camera zone to screw drivers out of their money so the politicians don't have to stop giving themselves their own pay raises.

A guy who is running for State Rep, Lee White, stood on the roadside with a picket sign to alert drivers of the speedtrap, and gain free publicity for being a nice guy. Fair enough, thank you Lee!

What really brought this speedtrap to the world's attention was a cool guy that was hit with a ticket, and wasn't putting up with this BS. He looked into the ripoff, and learned that the Bluff City police department were not only assholes for letting this speedtrap happen without protesting it (speedtraps aren't law enforcement) but they also were too stupid to keep their OWN WEBSITE. So the ticketed guy I mentioned, Brian McCrary bought the Police website domain name, and now it protests the speedtrap!

That is, the Police Department website, is now a protest against THEIR OWN SPEEDTRAP!

read all about it

I learned about it at


Now, in Lakeway Texas, Lance Mitchell, co-founder of the website is fed up with the traps in his town and decided to fight against them by taking to the streets and warning other motorists about nearby speed traps.

If he's out on the road and spots a police officer in a speed trap, Mitchell will backtrack to a spot ahead of the trap, then don a bright orange "Speed Trap Ahead" t-shirt in order to alert other motorists of the waiting radar.

While the Austin American-Statesman ( excerpt below) notes that it's illegal to warn others of an enforcement action, it is illegal to warn others of an enforcement action, it's not illegal to warn people about the traffic code . In fact, Mitchell believes he is doing the same work as the officers initiating the speed traps but also saving everyone money in the process. People slow down when they see him thus avoiding a ticket and a raise in insurance premiums.

He pissed off the cops running the speedtrap, and they lost their porofessionalism, if they ever had it, and they made it a vendetta to ticket him. The Lakeway Police Department fined him, jailed him and eventually the two went to court. Mitchell won and then turned around and sued the town and a few of its police officers to court and the judge reamed them. Yeah Judge!

Some TEXAS towns have gone so far over the top on speedtraps to raise money for their budget (and give themselves payraises) that the state of Texas passed a law capping the revenue small municipalities may receive from speeding tickets at 30 percent of their total budgets.

here is an excerpt from the Austin American Statesman, the really meaty part that highlights the cop James Debrow (25 year vet of the state police) getting his personal vendetta that started in Apr 2008 going against Mitchell a year later in 2009

Early on April 22, 2009, Mitchell spotted a Lakeway police cruiser set up inside a school zone with a radar gun. He set up his warning station up-road, pointing enthusiastically at his logo shirt whenever a driver passed.

a black police cruiser soon arrives. Mitchell asks if he is being detained.

"We're doing an investigation here," Debrow says. "We'll let you know."

A bit later, Debrow consults with a code enforcement officer who shows up. Another officer takes photos of Mitchell and his truck.

A few minutes later the group approaches Mitchell; an officer asks for his ID.

When he hands over a card with his name, address and birth date, Debrow demands his driver's license. As Mitchell begins to explain how, technically, that is not legally required as he was not driving, Debrow abruptly orders Mitchell handcuffed and placed under arrest.

During the 13 hours he was detained, Mitchell eventually was informed he was being charged with violating Lakeway's sign ordinance by displaying a sign on his shirt and a decal on his truck.

City officials are unaware of police handcuffing and arresting anyone else for sign violations.

Still, the city doggedly pursued its sign violation charges against Mitchell.

"There was more than just a T-shirt," pointed out city prosecutor Scott Taliaferro. "There was also a truck involved."

Lakeway police even tacked on two additional charges against Mitchell: engaging in construction operations that produced noise disturbances. The charges seemed to baffle even the prosecution, and they were dismissed before the trial.

In testimony, the Lakeway officer who wrote the tickets, Hector Almaguer, insisted he was simply following orders from Debrow, who'd instructed him to call if he ever saw Mitchell exposing a speed trap. He also said Debrow told him the local judge had issued a standing order to have Mitchell arrested.

"I about jumped three inches out of my chair when I heard that," the municipal judge, Kevin Madison, recalled. "That is absolutely not true."


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