Tuesday, April 22, 2008
|“What bothers me is watching an officer write someone a summons and then commit the exact same violation with their official vehicle.|
A civilian known as ‘Jimmy Justice’ who resides in New York City (NYC), New York, the largest city in the United States, has been videotaping NYC police officers and city workers, breaking the law while on the job.
Since 2007, he claims to have caught “hundreds of officers and other city employees violating the law,” and says he has them all on camera. He has posted his best confrontations with them to the video sharing website YouTube. As a result, Justice states that he has been asked to do a United States television show and Wikinews got an exclusive interview with him. For protection, Justice wished not to be called by his real name in fear of police retaliation.
Last year, Justice videotaped a police officer parking in front of a fire hydrant, but has only recently gained attention on social networking news sites such as Digg and reddit.com. So Wikinews contacted Mr. Justice, known as JimmyJustice4753 on YouTube, for an exclusive interview to find out what caused him to get revenge on the law.
On June 30, 2007, Justice caught officer E. Anderson of the NYPD, traffic division, parking directly in front of a fire hydrant while she went inside a restaurant to take a 15 minute lunch break.
“Do you think there is something wrong with parking a vehicle, blocking a fire hydrant,?” says Justice while following Anderson to her car after her meal.
“Mrs. Anderson I’m talking to you,” says Justice as Anderson ignores him. “You parked your vehicle blocking a fire hydrant. You are not allowed to do that. Somebody else would get a ticket for that. Why are you allowed to do it? You should be ashamed of yourself Mrs. Anderson.”
By this time, the incident has gained the interest of people nearby the scene and passing it. One unidentified woman, who claims to be a retired NYC police officer decides to intervene stating that people “are not supposed to film any police, [or] anybody employed with the police department because of the terrorism.” A short time later the woman walked off camera.
Since 2007 Justice says he has caught “hundreds of law enforcement officers and city officials” on “over 30 hours of video” violating laws from illegal U-turns in business districts to blocking bus stops and fire hydrants. Justice has only uploaded the “most colorful ones to YouTube” and recently, on April 8, 2008, Justice videotaped a NYPD tow truck officer blocking a hydrant while he also ate lunch inside a restaurant. According to NYC law, it is illegal for any vehicle to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and to park in front of a bus stop. It is also illegal for any person to make a U-turn in a business district. Fines for these violations can cost a driver up to US$115.00 for each violation occurred.
When Wikinews asked Justice why he decided to start filming the violations made by officials he answered, “what bothers me is watching an officer write someone a summons and then commit the exact same violation with their official vehicle. I started making these videos to remind the officers (and complacent civilians) that City employees have to abide by the same laws that they are paid to enforce. I plan on doing this and inspiring others to do this as well as a means of leveling the playing field against discourteous officers.”
“In NYC, the traffic cops are notorious for their draconian indiscretion in handing out summonses to civilians for petty violations. Obviously the laws are not enforced as a matter of public safety, but rather to raise revenue,” added Justice.
Justice makes little effort to get the violations on videotape saying “all I have to do to catch them is open my eyes.”
“The problem with abuse of authority is rampant in New York City. I take my video camera with me on the way to work and on the way to social events and band rehearsals and when I see action it takes me less than 4 seconds to have the camera out and in record mode,” states Justice.
His videos have drawn the attention of media and he has been featured on ABC’s ‘I-caught videos’ and Inside Edition. Justice also states that the popularity of his videos have gotten the attention producers in Hollywood, California and as a result, there are plans for a television show.
Since Justice began getting even with officials and their violations, he states that there has been a positive change in the communities.
“The publicity my videos have received has effected positive change in the community, but we still have a long road ahead of us,” added Justice.
As a result of his videos, at the time the NYPD launched an investigation into the violations, but it is not known if any officers were charged or punished. Justice himself has never been arrested, but has been assaulted.
“I have never been arrested for this yet but they have threatened me with arrest. I have been spit on, cursed at, assaulted, and I had 2 cameras broken already,” added Justice.