8/12/2005Minneapolis Red Light Camera Issues Bogus Ticket
Driver wrongly accused of running a red light fights the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota to prove his innocence.
Minneapolis, Minnesota's new red light cameras have already issued 5,000 citations since July earning $650,000 in revenue. They've also already accused an innocent man of breaking the law.
The camera at the intersection of Hennepin and 11th Street accused Steve Spriggs, an employee of the local television station KARE, of running a red light in his red SUV (shown). Except it's the blue SUV that's apparently running the light -- the red SUV is stopped. Nonetheless, Spriggs got the $130 ticket in the mail.
Even after downloading a video clip of the incident that would confirm his innocence, Spriggs was unable to have charges dropped. "I called them and got the normal run around and I got mad," Spriggs said in an interview with KARE news.
Police refused to look at the video evidence and told him to just pay the ticket or he would have to go to court to prove his own innocence. With easy access to the resources of a television station, however, Spriggs was able to get the attention of a top police official.
"Here's a case where technology worked, in fact really well," said Captain Greg Reinhardt. "But we still engage people to review and check off on things and we had a case of simple error."
Reinhardt claims he would ask the court to dismiss the ticket.
As Officer Mike Sauro put it, "The person the mistake is made against -- a lot of times -- just pays the $140. They can't afford to take the day off work." Sauro says the program is nothing short of a way of generating revenue for the city. While Reinhardt admits the city could net $1 million in 2005 from fines generated by photo cops, he says it was started to try and reduce the 14,000 car crashes each year in Minneapolis.Source: Red light camera generated ticket was wrong, check closely (KARE-TV (MN), 8/12/2005)
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