Society

Ohio Man Ticketed For Something That’s Not Illegal (Video)

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

An Ohio man was ticketed for standing on a street corner Friday night holding a sign that read: "Check point ahead! Turn now!"

Parma Police told Doug “Deo” Odolecki that the two words “turn now” were obstructing police business. Odolecki captured the interaction on camera and is going to court over the matter, calling it a violation of his First Amendment rights.

"You can stand here with the sign, but you're going to have to get rid of the 'turn now,'" Parma Police Lt. Brian McCann says in the video. "Our sobriety checkpoint is all about educating the public and we need them to come through the checkpoint to educate them."

"You can't do that," Odolecki replied. "There's nothing in the law that says I have to have no 'turn now' on there or something like that - or what I can have and what I can't have."

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When Odolecki refused to change the sign, another Parma police officer wrote him a ticket. 

This is not the first time Odolecki stood a half-mile from a checkpoint with a warning sign. He says he has been using the same sign for two years, but police never had a problem with it until now.

His attorney, John Gold, says Odolecki could not have been interfering because there was no active investigation, just a sobriety checkpoint.

"I support the police accountability activist movement," Gold told Cleveland.com. "Mr. Odolecki's case is interesting because it's an unsettled area of law and the incident violates civil rights.

"The problem here is not the sign in general. It's the part of the sign that instructed drivers to turn that the officers had an issue with," Gold added. "But I think regardless it's protected speech under the First Amendment."

Ohio police must publicly disclose drunk-driving checkpoints a week ahead of time, including the start and end times and the exact location. A bill in the Ohio House of Representatives would also allow drivers to warn each other of checkpoints by flashing their headlights.

Odolecki says he plans to be back on the corner warning citizens next time there is another checkpoint.

Sources: Cleveland.com, UPI