Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are Small Town Rhode Island Police Officers Overzealous With Traffic Fines?

In a little-city suburb of Providence, Rhode Island, there is a police officer who is notorious for sitting in his squad car, hidden at the side of the road, and waiting for drivers to pass by, traveling at rates as little as two miles per hour above the speed limit. He writes an extraordinary number of speeding citations for minor deviations from the speed limit, and he writes an extraordinary number of other citations for offenses that many local citizens consider to be de minimus infractions.

Can any reader tell me the name of the town, the name of the officer, and the name of the judge(s) who review these tickets when these cases are appealed and come before the courts?

Is this officer appropriately zealous in protecting the public by enforcing traffic regulations to the letter of the law? Or is he giving Rhode Island government and law enforcement a bad name by harassing law-abiding citizens who are doing their best to drive safely and whose only meaningful "offense" has been to drive down the same road where this allegedly over-zealous police officer is hidden in waiting?

If you have an experience to recount about small-town Rhode Island traffic enforcement and you would like to do so anonymously, please feel free tell your experiences anonymously in the comments below, but please do include the name(s) of the town(s), location(s), policing officer(s), judge(s) and traffic court(s) with jurisdiction over traffic citations.

Please feel free not to include names of private citizens, who do have a right to their privacy and should not be targeted for retribution.

If we find that there is a pattern (or patterns) of over-zealous and inappropriate persecution of mild-mannered small-town Rhode Island drivers, who are going about their own business conscientiously way, then maybe some readers would like to report their experiences using their names for attribution (or send a confidential e-mail to this blog at francislholland at (remember to include the @).

My belief is that Rhode Island newspapers like the Providence Journal will investigate over-zealous officers, if they read significant numbers of sufficiently specific complaints in blogs such as this one, about those officers who are supposed to protect and to serve, particularly when they wear a badge and operate under color of law.

No one wants to make herself the target of an already-over-zealous police officer, so please feel free to comment anonymously, including as much detail as you comfortably can.

Although I am a trained attorney who has practiced law in the United States, I am not currently admitted to the Bar of any state and cannot offer legal advice in public or in private. I write and discuss police brutality with readers strictly in my capacity as a citizen journalist.

Whatever your experience with Rhode Island traffic police, please remember the brighter side: at least you didn't end up looking like Esteban Carpio did when Providence police officers brought him to court with his face turned to virtual hamburger, which police covered with an (to my experience) unprecedented white Batman mask.

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