Cited for jaywalking, pair says police actions cross line
Tim Carr and Shaun Selvage are waging a crusade against the flagrant abuse of our city law 106-452 every day on Boonville Avenue outside the Greene County Judicial Courts Facility:
What brought this on? The two were given tickets for crossing outside a designated crosswalk on Commercial Street across from the Commercial Club Farmers Market. "It was about 6:30 p.m. (Nov. 15), no traffic," says Carr, a recent Missouri State University journalism graduate. "Just us and the police officer. I told him, 'I don't have a problem with you enforcing the law, just start with your own clan.' We turn the corner onto Boonville, and every day there are law enforcement officers and officials crossing away from the crosswalks all the time."
"I wouldn't have thought anything about it if he'd just said, 'Hey, use the crosswalk,' and given us a warning the first time," says Selvage, a Springfield chef. "Then, the officer pulled his Segway up to the little building they use, then crossed the street the same place we did."
Carr and Selvage next spent a couple of days photographing jaywalkers cutting from the county parking lot to the judicial campus — people rushing back and forth from court and to the jail. The men now have a digital scrapbook of jaywalkers' photos — many of them uniformed law officers, some with the Sheriff's Department mountie hats silhouetted against the sky and buildings.
The duo say that on the first day they took pictures a Greene County deputy told
them it was a violation of the Homeland Security Act for them to photograph government buildings and told them to stop. Greene County Chief Deputy Jim Arnott says it isn't a violation of the act, but authorities are wary of such activity.
"With any public building, officials are concerned with people photographing them because of security concerns," Arnott explains. They could be drawing maps to plot bombings or other terrorist attacks. "He can stand on the sidewalk, but not on private property. If you're going to be photographing those buildings, we will approach and ask what you're doing."
Carr and Selvage face a municipal court date and fine for the jaywalking but don't plan to back down on their crusade. One of the issues they'd like to see addressed is crosswalks not only placed in safe places but also in locations where people are most likely to travel. "What would it take a city to put them in the right places?" Carr asks. "It's just a couple of stripes of white paint."
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