Free Speech Under Attack: Cops Ticket Man for Warning Drivers about ‘Speed Trap’

Matt Agorist | FreeThoughtProject

Seattle, WA — When it comes to cops and their revenue generating schemes, those who interfere will have their rights trampled.

Last Wednesday, Daniel Gehlke interfered — his rights were subsequently trampled.

Gehlke witnessed police engaged in an entrapment scheme ostensibly designed for the safety of society, but in reality a means of extracting revenue from the citizenry.

“I saw an injustice so I thought I needed to come out and warn people that something was happening. I thought it was a problem,” said Gehlke in an interview with KIRO 7.

As a concerned citizen, Gehlke took action and a sharpie and wrote on a lid for a plastic bin to warn drivers of the revenue collection scheme. The lid said, “Cops Ahead! Stop at Sign and Lights”

This interference with the revenue stream was quickly dealt with by police. Gehlke was given a $138 ticket for holding up this plastic sign.

“I think that the problem with my case is I interrupted their revenue for the city and they were like okay we need to stop this guy,” said Gehlke.

Of course, the reason given by the Seattle police department for the ticket is for some obscure code violation that states citizens cannot create signs that are similar to public signs.

“It could be viewed as a traffic control device that could be misleading to drivers motorists. It could maybe cause confusion,” said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, Seattle Police spokesperson.

According to Seattle City Municipal Code 11.50.560 – Forbidden devices:

“No person shall erect or maintain at or near a street or alley any structure, sign, light or device that is visible from a street or alley and simulating any directional, warning, or regulatory sign or likely to be mistaken for such a sign or bearing any such words as “danger,” “stop,” “slow,” “turn,” “impound,” or similar words, figures, or directions likely to be construed as giving warning to or regulating traffic …”

Do the police really think that a black marker on a piece of Tupperware could be misconstrued as an official sign?

street-signs-ticket-for-warning-cops

Not likely.

“This does not look like an official sign in any capacity,” said Gehlke and he’s absolutely correct.

If police were actually concerned for the safety of the citizens, a sign warning drivers to stop at STOP signs would be hugely beneficial to the safety of motorists. However, this was obviously not the case.

The good news is that Gehlke simply scratched out everything but “Cops Ahead!” and said that he will continue to warn drivers by holding up the sign. He also plans on fighting the ticket.

This will be a case to follow in the future as it will likely be debated as a topic of free speech similar to the case of Michael J. Elli. Elli was stopped and ticketed by a police officer for warning drivers of a cop ahead. He fought it and won. The Judge ruled that Elli flashing his lights to warn drivers of a cop, was constitutionally protected speech.


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