Honolulu, Hawaii – Writing tickets was like shooting fish in a barrel for Honolulu police earlier this month when they went car to car issuing citations for cell phone use.
According to motorists, police moved into the middle of the street during the worst traffic jam in years and began a ticket writing assembly line that made them over $18,000. In total, 65 drivers were given tickets that amounted to $290 a piece.
In an extreme traffic situation like this, it is understandable for people to use their phones to contact loved ones and rearrange their plans. This is especially important for those who are responsible for taking care of children or elderly people.
Police representatives admit that the ticketing strategy was unfair, but they claim that this operation was pre-planned and that the officers were not opportunistically taking advantage of the traffic jam. In fact, police representatives told local reporters that they were totally unaware of that the highway was in gridlock. This is despite the fact that it should have been obvious to the individual officers in the street, as well as their superiors back at headquarters.
“This cop was walking the highway and motioned for all these cars to move into the gas station parking lot, and they had an assembly line of cops giving tickets,” commuter Tiffani Breeden told reporters after she was ticketed by police.
Honolulu Police Department Assistant Chief Clayton Kau said that the whole thing was just one giant misunderstanding.
“At the time, that they were doing that, they weren’t aware of the traffic problem. When they were notified, at that point, they ceased enforcement action,” Kau said.
Breeden, however, is not buying their story. “I knew about it at noon, in my office in Honolulu, and I’m not even a cop patrolling the streets. How are they unaware of street conditions?” she said.
During a press conference earlier this month, Captain Darren Izumo admitted guilt, saying that the operation should have been cancelled.
“I’ll take the hit for that, in that we were concentrating on getting the westbound traffic flowing, so I failed to cancel that operation,” he said.
Even after admitting that the tickets should not have been issued to begin with, the police department is still refusing to cancel them. Instead they are asking the commuters to fight the tickets in court and take their chances with the judge.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.