January 20, 2014
Police running a speed trap in the north Texas city of Frisco didn’t appreciate a man who used a sign to warn drivers to slow down as they approached – and placed the man under arrest for violating a city ordinance meant to control people carrying signs.
According the local Fox affiliate, 33-year-old Ron Martin faced his first court appearance Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to violating an ordinance that forbids signs being placed in road medians.
Martin’s homemade sign said “Police ahead,” to warn motorists of the speed trap on the other side of an upcoming bridge.
Police were not amused. After warning Martin several times, an officer accused him of thwarting a police operation. Martin’s warning sign, apparently, was working.
“I observed a couple cars drive by … waving at us,” an officer wrote an arrest report. “Mr. Martin was observed standing in the center median of the six-lane divided roadway … holding a sign in his right hand up over his shoulders.”
According to Fox, the arrest was part of a long-running battle between Martin and the police department, which Martin said included speaking to the chief of police about the speed traps. But things got tenser when Martin started making public requests about the speed-trap operation, Fox reported.
Martin told the station he’s not against speed traps by themselves, but doesn’t like the way the officers do so in his area of the Eldorado Parkway, the main east-west thoroughfare through the town of about 130,000.
Motorists heading west are at a particular disadvantage, he said.
“They hide behind signs and they use their motorcycles sitting in the road, sun going down, without lights or anything,” Martin told MyFoxDFW.com. “I just feel like it was a little bit unsafe, not only for citizens, but for police officers having to do their job.”
The ordinance Martin is accused of violating prohibits signs from being carried on public property. Martin has pleaded not guilty and has a court date in late February. In his court appearance Wednesday, he said he has as much right as the cops to try to keep the roads safe.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to do the exact same thing,” Martin told the court. “I just don’t wear a uniform. I’m the same thing as a speed limit sign, just reminding people that there is a limit here.”
Check out the Fox report – including Martin’s recording of his own arrest – here.
This article was posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:12 am