America’s ‘War On Terror’ has gone mad.
Two recent Chicago Tribune stories describe how America’s ‘War on Terror’ has been taken to an absurd level by the Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, and the Chicago Police Department.
The first article describes how the Chicago police have considered vehicles at expired parking meters to be a “public safety threat,” since at least April 30th.
“The only ticketing that is going to be happening is if there is a car or other vehicle posing some kind of public safety threat. But the normal ticketing should be suspended until April 30,” she said during a March 18 news conference. “So, for example, an expired meter that is otherwise legally parked and not posing a public safety threat, you should not be getting ticketed.”
Over the past seven months the city of Chicago has issued more than 35,000 parking tickets.
“Try telling that to anyone else who got hit with one of the more than 35,000 parking tickets the city issued during the period Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the public they’d be getting a break.”
A Chicago Police Department (CPD) Special Order S04-14-04 titled “Parking and Compliance Violations” goes into greater detail as to how the police department handles parking violations.
How do Chicagoans fight an expired parking meter ticket? And more importantly a “public safety threat” designation?
A look at the City of Chicago’s “Contesting Tickets “link” has no information about how a person can petition the city to have their name removed from the list. But it does give residents the option to request a hearing.
It is unknown if the police department considers 35,000 Chicagoans, public safety threats or if their names and vehicle information have been entered into DHS’s Illinois, Fusion Centers’ database.
For now, there does not appear to be anyway for people to have their names removed from Chicago’s public safety threat list.
How does a public official secretly turn parking on public streets into a criminal offense? Or have innocent motorists names end up in a federal database?
“Behind the scenes, the Lightfoot administration declared expired meter parking anywhere in the central business district to be a threat to public safety and directed ticketing to continue, according to documents obtained through an open records request. The public wasn’t told about that change in tactics, however.”
The Chicago Tribune found that most of the traffic citations were “written in Black and Latino neighborhoods and communities.” Does DHS and law enforcement consider minorities or the BLM movement a public safety threat?
What is the excuse for turning expired parking into a public safety threat? Here it is, the real reason public officials want to criminalize expired parking.
“Access to government offices, hospitals and hotels cannot be impeded by illegal parking, including metered spaces,” states the letter signed by Jennie Huang Bennett, the city’s chief financial officer. “Police, fire and other first responders performing essential public safety functions cannot be hampered in their duties due to any type of illegal parking in these zones.”
The irony is, Chicago’s police officers have not been hampered by expired meter parking, just the opposite. A 2019 Chicago Sun Times article revealed that since at least 2016, Chicago police officers have been parking illegally all across the city.
“Chicago police officers are continuing to flout the law they’re charged with enforcing — and creating a potential safety hazard — by using police placards to park illegally around City Hall and near Soldier Field and Wrigley Field.”
This is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with American law enforcement. Since when does parking at an expired meter turn a person into a public safety threat while at the same time law enforcement openly flouts the law?
The Chicago Tribune summed it up nicely,
“Lightfoot said motorists would not be ticketed for an expired meter that is otherwise legally parked and not posing a public safety threat. But thousands were ticketed. That suggests that as soon as the meter at a normal parking spot expires, the vehicle owner becomes “a public safety threat.”
Chicago Tribune reporter Rex Hupke thinks it is ridiculous to classify motorists parking at expired meters as public safety threats, and I agree.
“This will help as I rebrand myself one of the bad boys of Chicago journalism. Tweeting a few selfies next to my car at an expired meter should cement in the public’s mind that I’m a safety threat and not one to be trifled with.”
One need look no further than pretrial risk assessments to see how illogical classifying a person as a public safety threat is. Imagine going to court to fight your expired parking meter ticket and the prosecutor tells the judge you are a public safety threat and therefore should be considered a “high risk” based on Cook County’s Public Safety Assessment.
Would anyone like to venture a guess as to what will come next? A long prison term in a maximum security prison is not out of the realm of possibility in America’s outrageous War on Terror.
How do Americans stand idly by and watch Homeland Security come up with new ways to criminalize the public for parking their car[s]? In the theatre of the absurd, Homeland Security’s Fusion Centers reign supreme.