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Paradise Valley, Arizona Police Arrest a Hat
Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona angered by anti-speed camera protest.

Arresting a hat, photo by Glyphhunter
Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona took a giant sombrero into custody last month because it had interfered with a roadside speed camera. Members of the group CameraFraud had gathered beside the device on June 11 to protest the use of automated ticketing machines while the Daily Show's Olivia Munn filmed the action.

About a dozen surrounded the sombrero-topped camera which carried a sign painted in the colors of the Mexican flag reading, "Deport Me" when Paradise Valley Police Officer Steven Chavira arrived on the scene, furious at what was going on.

"Turn off that camera," he yelled at the film crew while holding his hand over the camera lens.

Chavira ripped down the "Deport Me" sign, then jumped several times in vain attempts to reach the giant hat that rested on the camera head just beyond his reach. After using a stick, Chavira and a second officer were able to knock off the sombrero, which he stomped on several times before taking it into custody in his patrol car (view image).

Munn's story on Arizona speed cameras aired Thursday, but did not include the protest footage. Her piece presented cameras as if the freeway safety statistics generated by a contractor for Redflex Traffic Systems, the for-profit Australian photo ticketing firm, were accurate. Representatives from CameraFraud vowed that Paradise Valley will be the first to go down as the group refocuses its efforts on city-by-city referenda to outlaw photo enforcement. Paradise Valley is the oldest continuously operating photo ticketing program in the country.

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