Just last month my friend and photo radar expert Shawn Dow told me that the real reason behind the police protests in Ferguson was the automatic ticketing photo radar machines that had been put in place by local governments to raise revenue. This has caused incredible harm on the poor in the community and frustration towards their police force which was becoming increasingly more militarized and disconnected from the public because of poor decisions made by the local politicians. Upon further investigation the facts prove this to be the case.
This anger at camera speeding tickets, not an apparently justified police shooting, was the long simmering motivation behind the riots. Michael Brown was just the poor excuse to vent frustrations at the system that is shaking them down. Unjust laws meant to fleece the public create resentment and disrespect for the law and those who enforce them. It has been shown that these machines do not increase safety and in fact cause accidents to spike.
Missouri State representative Courtney Curtis stated that tension from automatic speed camera ticketing and a militarized police force used to intimidate the public is what is motivating the protests. The judicial process is rigged so that defendants are denied due process in order to gain convictions. Young people who get a warrant on their record have a mark on their employment prospects and some have been arrested for not paying these unjust tickets.
Here are the facts:
- Ferguson and other nearby jurisdictions have issued citations for low-level traffic and other violations 12 times higher per person than cities in other parts of suburban St. Louis.
- There is a huge contrast between cities in the St. Louis area. Ferguson, a city of about 21,000, filed 11,400 traffic cases in fiscal year 2013. Chesterfield, a wealthier city in the western suburbs, filed a similar number — but is more than twice Ferguson’s size.
- The political establishment views the public as a source of revenue. As poverty increased in North County cities and the effects of the recession lingered, several have had to cut back on services to save costs. But many have seen their collections of fees and fines increase.
- Ferguson City officials expected to bring in about $2.6 million in fines and public safety revenues for the year ending in June 2013, an increase of more than 40 percent from 2010.
- The nearby suburb of St. Ann, population 13,000, had lost tax revenue in 2011 when two major retailers moved away. That year police began to crack down on speeders along a stretch of Interstate 70 as part of a program to reduce accidents. It passed an ordinance that allowed the city to levy speeding tickets with fines twice that of state highway patrol. Revenue from the court has shot up nearly 170 percent to an estimated $3.1 million at the end of 2013.
In a reversal of the lottery, when you get one of these tickets, you lose and are forced to help subsidize government spending.
Those who have the means to pay the fines can pay and move on with their lives, but the poor get caught in a downward spiral where if they don’t show up in court, it turns into a warrant and arrests follow. Licences get suspended and their job prospects are severely damaged.
In liberal New York, the Garner police abuse case was really about the highest cigarette taxes in the country levied by democrats, and not about race. The black female sergeant, Kizzy Adoni, in charge of the arrest did not try to stop the choking.
Rand Paul has also noted that in the Garner case, the Democrat authorities placed a $5.85 tax on cigarettes, thus driving the sales underground by making them so expensive. Mr. Garner was being arrested and choked to death by the authorities for skirting their outrageous tax on cigarettes.
What we have here with our leftist national media which falsely portrays these events as racially motivated, is a failure to communicate the true tensions between the public and the political establishment bent on looting those it rules over. It seems the looted have picked up some bad habits from the ruling class and have begun to loot back.
“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal.” — Frederic Bastiat, “The Law”
Facts from this story are from the NBCnews.com article on the Michael Brown Shooting.