The Baltimore police have acted stupidly. Or at least their equipment has. A camera designed to log speeds of motorists in the city flagged a car that was supposedly traveling at 38 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone. The owner and driver, Daniel Doty, was fined $40.
There is just one small problem, The Baltimore Sun reports. Doty’s vehicle was motionless at the time of the supposed infraction. He has two “eyewitness accounts” to back up his claim: the two photos printed on the citation, taken by the camera. Both clearly showing that his car was stopped at a red signal with its brake lights illuminated. A three-second video clip offered as further evidence shows traffic flowing on a cross street at the moment when Doty was supposedly speeding.
The Sun notes this is the seventh city speed camera that has shown to produce inaccurate citations based on false readings. Doty’s is the first case in which the vehicle was clearly stationary.
City officials are unable to explain how the mistake happened. Doty’s explanation is that “someone was … obviously asleep at the switch.”
The camera contractor, Xerox State and Local Solutions, has a different theory. They write off the incident to human error, submitting that each potential citation goes through two layers of review to weed out any that have a deficiency, such as an illegible license plate. Then it is up to a Baltimore police officer to review the citation before approving it for issuance to the vehicle owner. Each citation says the officer swears that the car was going at least 12 mph over the speed limit “based on inspection of the recorded images.” The officer’s signature is also printed.
But ot isn’t clear from the signature on Doty’s citation which officer reviewed ticket, and a police spokesman isn’t saying. Anthony Guglielmi would remark only that “the department finds any error unacceptable.”
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