Mark Schmidter Arrested for Protesting Cameras at Red Lights
Mark Schmidter was arrested in Apopka, Fla. last Saturday for allegedly distributing a petition that would put the city's red light cameras to a public vote.
During red lights at an intersection, he walked in between cars with his petition, which explained why cameras at red lights should be abolished, noted TheNewspaper.com.
"Red light cameras are all about money -- not safety. Governments choose tax money over safety of motorists," stated the petition.
Police Officer Robert Campbell saw Schmidter and ordered him to stop, but Schmidter claims he wasn't able to understand the cop's loudspeaker.
"As I was approaching him, I read 'BAN CAMS' on the sign he was wearing. He was holding a large stack of papers... I asked him if he had a permit to protest the red light cameras, and he said 'no,'" Officer Campbell wrote on his police report.
Officer Campbell asked for Schmidter's identification, who had none as he was not driving. Schmidter refused to provide his name and date of birth unless the cop could show him what law he had violated.
Schmidter was then arrested and handcuffed by Officer Campbell, who wrote on his report: "Other protestors across the street began heckling me for making a bad arrest. This information was added to show the demeanor of the group the arrested male was with."
"Eighty percent [of the motorists] thought we were sent from heaven. They're so frustrated. The other twenty percent weren't interested," Schmidter told TheNewspaper.com.
Schmidter was charged with a misdemeanor of obstructing an officer without violence and given a $65 ticket for a "pedestrian violation."
Oddly, Schmidter was held in jail for almost twelve hours before being released on a $500 bond, about eight times the amount of his fine.
"It's selective enforcement, and that alone is unconstitutional. The homeless are in the street asking for money, and firefighters do it, too. We don't raise money, we let people know about the red light cameras," said Schmidter.
Schmidter was previously jailed for handing out jury information flyers on courthouse steps, which were supposedly outside a "free speech zone."