*Originally published by Brett Sanders at BrettSanders.me*
FRISCO TX – Finding examples where laws magically don’t apply to the political class or their cronies is not a particularly hard feat, but when I was sent a video of Mayor Maso getting off the hook for the very same violation I was cited and eventually fined for, I could not stand idle. I issued the Mayor a “citizen citation” and fined him $269 (for charity) in order to prove that he is not above the law and shouldn’t receive any preferential treatment from police.
I created a video (below) which highlights two examples of the same violation and the vast difference in outcome depending on your political status. When I, a police accountability activist, was found to be parked in an alleged fire lane, the officer jumped at the opportunity to cite me for the offense. Even though I was standing next to my vehicle, the officer did not afford me any opportunity to move my truck. He simply asked for my papers and cited me for parking in a fire lane, a violation that carries a maximum penalty of $269.00. I fought the ticket in court, but the judge found me guilty and fined me the full $269.00.
Ironically, just a few weeks after my guilty verdict, a viewer sent me some video footage where he recorded Mayor Maso (and his daughter) parked in a fire lane while his vehicle was missing a front license plate, which is illegal in Texas. The officer who responded to the parking complaint (R. Rotello) showed an entirely different attitude towards the Mayor. The officer shook the Mayor’s hand, informed him that he was parked in a fire lane, wherein the Mayor quickly took action to move his vehicle. No license check, no insurance validation, no warrant look up, no drug search, just a friendly conversation between two government agents.
So I decided to use the only court that seems to bring about justice, and that the court of public opinion through the power of YouTube. Anyone who has received a traffic citation can certainly relate to the hassle and financial burden that comes from those little pieces of paper. So I attempted to highlight to disparity of “officer discretion” by showing both situations and the very different outcomes that proceeded.
In an attempt to restore public trust and hold our elected officials accountable, I claimed the arbitrary authority to cite and fine politicians and drafted a “Citizens Citation” for the Mayor. The fine is in the amount of $269.00 and can be made payable to Frisco Family Services, a great organization that provides food needy families.
The citation further explains the implications that ordinary citizens face everyday from a system that would rather cite motorists than find new solutions to any traffic related problems…
We hope you understand the dilemma we face as citizens who don’t carry the same level of political pull as yourself. Even the smallest of citations can cause members of our hard working community to have to take time off work, often unpaid, to attend court for hearings, and potentially a trial to avoid having their license suspended or additional points on their record. We don’t believe government officials should be afforded such discretion in the law. There is a fine line between discretion and creating a weaponized system of law whereby officers can punish their political or personal enemies, while letting politicians such as yourself off the hook. Ultimately, we only wish to enforce crimes that have an associated victim. But until we evolve to a more logical enforcement system, we must hold our elected officials accountable to very laws they enforce.
Be sure to tweet the Mayor (@MaherMaso) if you think he should pay his debt to society as any citizen would be expected to do.