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Cyclist charged with obstruction for warning others to stop at red light

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Cyclist charged with obstruction for warning others to stop at red light

Old 07-12-13, 06:18 AM
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Cyclist charged with obstruction for warning others to stop at red light

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montre...ce-ticket.html
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Old 07-12-13, 08:46 AM
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What is going to happen is the cyclist will show up at his court date and the cop will be a no show. So the ticket will be quashed and the police don't have to admit they were wrong and the cop won't get chewed out by the judge for abusing his authority. But the cyclist will still have his time wasted.
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Old 07-12-13, 09:29 AM
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Unfortunately stuff like this happens too often. There seems to be a misunderstanding about the police role.

If the role it to raise money through fines, than anything that prevents that is illegal.

OTOH, most of us agree that the role of the police is to discourage illegal activity. In that case, anybody reminding folks to obey the law (anyplace, anytime & any way) then they can only be seen as doing social good.
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Old 07-12-13, 09:47 AM
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I really have no idea how this could fit under any plausible definition of "obstruction". Preventing people from committing a violation?
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Old 07-12-13, 10:13 AM
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Not that it's right, but that's common. You can get ticket in some jurisdictions for flashing your lights to warn others of a speed trap.
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Old 07-12-13, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
I really have no idea how this could fit under any plausible definition of "obstruction". Preventing people from committing a violation?
I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 07-12-13, 10:21 AM
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I guess the logic is without warning people would have violated law. Much of ticketing etc is meant to encourage legal behavior in a viral way. See the cop on the side of the road with a 25 limit that every one goes 35 on....and you slow down. (I have been led to believe that often times a cop doing paperwork will postion themselves in way that suggest traffic focus, just for the detterent effect) Also get a ticket for anything and tell your friends is considered part of the whole deterrent factor "man don't blow lights in such and such town, I just got a ticket"

if tickets were for money only, then you would see a lot more stops and tickets.
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Old 07-12-13, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimi77 View Post
Not that it's right, but that's common. You can get ticket in some jurisdictions for flashing your lights to warn others of a speed trap.
Bingo. Obstruction probably isn't the right charge, but most people aren't going to change their behavior long-term if someone warns them of police ahead. Getting a ticket will.
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Old 07-12-13, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimi77 View Post
Not that it's right, but that's common. You can get ticket in some jurisdictions for flashing your lights to warn others of a speed trap.
And that's the charge, illegally showing a flashing white light, not "obstruction."
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Old 07-12-13, 11:21 AM
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"yer honor, I was just trying to get my fellow cyclists to follow the law"
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Old 07-12-13, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
"yer honor, I was just trying to get my fellow cyclists to follow the law"
I wonder how many other cyclists would have run the red if he wasn't there. I've noticed that people in general assume that everyone else acts and thinks the same way they do. So if they break traffic laws they assume everyone else does it. Maybe its part of an internal rationalization of their behaviour.
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Old 07-12-13, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by asmac View Post
And that's the charge, illegally showing a flashing white light, not "obstruction."
Well if your not just being facetious and the charge is related to a flashing white light, then his 'motives' aren't likely to help him. The cop may well be applying the law selectively because the guy ticked him off, but if he actually broke the law for which he is charged, his ticket will likely be upheld.

So, I think the cop deserves cudo's for at least adhering to the law (assuming the act was illegal there) if the ticket was for a flashing white light (or something similar), rather than the 'obstruction' charge which usually seems to mean that the cop just wanted to hassle someone...
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Old 07-12-13, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji View Post
So, I think the cop deserves cudo's for at least adhering to the law...
I personally regard selective enforcement of laws as an intrinsic evil. It's a clear recipe for abuse of power.
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Old 07-12-13, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
I personally regard selective enforcement of laws as an intrinsic evil. It's a clear recipe for abuse of power.
All power gets abused--seems to be human nature. At least with selective enforcement, it is still enforcement of the law as opposed to simply making something up (which also happens, and is much worse IMO).
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Old 07-12-13, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji View Post
All power gets abused--seems to be human nature. At least with selective enforcement, it is still enforcement of the law as opposed to simply making something up (which also happens, and is much worse IMO).
At least it's plausible to fight things that are simply made up.

I guess I'm not actually interested in arguing which is worse though. Both are bad. Cops that makes things up are bad, and cops that selectively enforce laws to take out their petty grievances on others are bad.
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Old 07-12-13, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji View Post
Well if your not just being facetious ...
I wasn't being facetious, merely unclear. What I meant to say is that, here at least, the only way they can get you for warning oncoming drivers of a revenue operation is "illegally showing a flashing white light" or some such. What this means for my blinkie I don't know. It says he was charged with obstruction which seems a bit more serious than a traffic offense. But it's Quebec so who knows.
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Old 07-12-13, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
At least it's plausible to fight things that are simply made up.
That was my point as to why select enforcement is better than simply making things up. Don't break the law if you don't want the consequences... Very simple.

Cop making things up, means one has no control over the outcome. Something much worse.

Originally Posted by asmac View Post
I wasn't being facetious, merely unclear. What I meant to say is that, here at least, the only way they can get you for warning oncoming drivers of a revenue operation is "illegally showing a flashing white light" or some such. What this means for my blinkie I don't know. It says he was charged with obstruction which seems a bit more serious than a traffic offense. But it's Quebec so who knows.

Well in the U.S. 'obstruction' charges are frequently levelled at anyone who makes a record of the cops actions--which I (and many others) find reprehensible. I find such charges for warning other citizens of an enforcement area nearly as reprehensible.
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Old 07-12-13, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji View Post
Don't break the law if you don't want the consequences... Very simple.
Nonsense. People break laws (especially esoteric federal laws) all the time. A system that has laws that are only occasionally enforced, and only for vindictive reasons is a plainly bad system. There's certain laws for which your comment applies nicely (don't want a speeding ticket? Don't speed), but applying it across the board to various laws that most people aren't aware exist is kind of ridiculous.
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Old 07-12-13, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
Nonsense. People break laws (especially esoteric federal laws) all the time. A system that has laws that are only occasionally enforced, and only for vindictive reasons is a plainly bad system. There's certain laws for which your comment applies nicely (don't want a speeding ticket? Don't speed), but applying it across the board to various laws that most people aren't aware exist is kind of ridiculous.
My comment applies to all laws. In a very real sense, all law enforcement is selective. Police are not omnipotent, they are only able to prosecute those they witness (or can provide evidence of having) committed a crime. That is why criminals get away with so many of their crimes. A citizen who doesn't commit crimes does not need to fear a police organization that only enforces laws selectively, only criminals need fear enforcement of laws (selective or otherwise).

As to the mention of people breaking esoteric laws. The American system was designed to deal with that. Its the fundamental reason for our jury system. The term is jury nullification, which effectively means that a jury has the ability to ignore the law and acquit the accused. A jury has an obligation to exercise its judgment as to the basic 'fairness' of the law, it is our final check that was designed into our governmental system. We also have many other, less drastic, means to address the problem of bad laws...

Unfortunately any system that requires flawed human beings for its operation is going to be subject to failure; however, it is a question of tradeoffs.
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Old 07-12-13, 02:03 PM
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These are Canadians not Americans.
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Old 07-12-13, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
I personally regard selective enforcement of laws as an intrinsic evil. It's a clear recipe for abuse of power.
it works both ways....have you ever been stopped and let off with a warning....that is selective enforcement also. I don't know really which is more negative selectivity that is sometimes not applied with pure heart or no flexibililty at all.
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Old 07-12-13, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
it works both ways....have you ever been stopped and let off with a warning....
No, I haven't. One time I received a ticket for 89 in a 65 when I was on cruise control at 72 though!

Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
that is selective enforcement also. I don't know really which is more negative selectivity that is sometimes not applied with pure heart or no flexibililty at all.
I'd rather there be zero flexibility with regard to speeding laws. People probably would be less inclined to treat them as rough recommendations if there wasn't a common understanding that enforcement begins somewhere around 7 over the limit, and will be enforced on the basis of whether the officer is in a bad mood, decides you have an attitude, or other arbitrary criteria.
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Old 07-12-13, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji View Post
A citizen who doesn't commit crimes does not need to fear a police organization that only enforces laws selectively, only criminals need fear enforcement of laws (selective or otherwise).
I'm kind of stunned that anyone actually believes this. I don't think you understand how frequently the average person breaks laws. People don't exist in binary categories of "criminal" and "not a criminal".
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Old 07-12-13, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
These are Canadians not Americans.
I think we're facing many of the same issues and this is one of them.
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Old 07-12-13, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandonub View Post
I'm kind of stunned that anyone actually believes this. I don't think you understand how frequently the average person breaks laws. People don't exist in binary categories of "criminal" and "not a criminal".
If you conduct a poll, you'll find that the staunchest defenders of American civil liberties are often immigrants from totalitarian regimes. They understand the difference, while those raised in the USA may take things fro granted.

I'm in favor of granting police discretion not to arrest or cite, while keeping their discretion to arrest or cite rigidly in check. The goal of a police force should to solve or prevent problems and not strict rulebook enforcement of the law or revenue generation.
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