6/8/2006DC Denies Targeting Black Motorists
Washington, DC officials deny that the 20 percent of speed camera tickets that go to residents are targeted against black motorists.
Although eighty percent of speed camera tickets in Washington, DC go to non-residents -- primarily Maryland and Virginia commuters -- the Washington Times now reports allegations that the remaining twenty percent of tickets that do go to DC residents are specifically targeted against minorities.
"There is a widespread perception among black motorists in the District about the geographic distribution of tickets and enforcement areas," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend II told the Times. "And I'm sure the accusation will drive [police] ballistic, but if you look at the locations, it's tilted toward those neighborhoods." AAA profits from speed camera tickets in California, Arizona and Illinois, but not in DC where license demerit points are not yet assessed for camera violations.
Local resident Chester Dunn, 43, criticized the record amount of speed camera profit raised in March. "That $3.3 million was generated off the back of the black community," he told the Times.
Of the 34 mobile and fixed speed camera locations used in April, 23 were in predominantly black Northeast and Southeast sections of the city.
"Race is no factor at all," said Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. In March, Ramsey also denied targeting Maryland commuters, who receive 64 percent of speed camera tickets he said. As of that month, Washington, D.C. red light and speed cameras had issued 2,421,841 tickets worth $182 million.