Councilman Demands Secret Audit Of Baltimore City Traffic Cameras Made Public
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City’s red light and speed cameras remain shuttered as debate continues over a controversial audit. Now a city councilman is asking for subpoena power.
Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what’s involved.
Judging from the information at hand, drivers paid millions of dollars in fraudulent tickets, but Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the information is not accurate.
Drivers have long complained about the reliability of traffic cameras.
“I did get a speeding ticket, and I don’t speed. I don’t go over 30, 35. I have a baby in the car, so I’m taking it to court, and usually when I take it to court I usually beat it because they have so many mistakes,” said Monique Madison.
In 2012, the city issued 700,000 tickets and vowed to continue.
“It’s an important safety tool that we’re going to keep using whether or not people like getting speed tickets or red light tickets,” Jamie Kendrick, former transportation deputy, said in 2012.
But the city pulled the plug when the error rate reached an unacceptable level.
An audit obtained by the Baltimore Sun showed a 10 percent error rate.
“As soon as one fails, they should all come down. It’s not a foolproof system,” said Brian Lennon, driver.
City Councilman Carl Stokes is introducing a resolution authorizing a summons for the audit, which the administration has not released.
“I think everybody should be refunded, frankly, because we don’t know that any of the tickets were good tickets,” Stokes said.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake tells WJZ that it is not a fair sampling.
“When we saw the errors, we acted immediately and we did what people expect: took the cameras down, voided the citations and refunded the money. So to suggest anything differently or to hold up this document, this incomplete document as some evidence that we’re doing differently is irresponsible and it’s inaccurate,” the mayor said.
Council is expected to vote on the summons Monday night.
The city transportation department says money has been refunded for more than 6,000 tickets.
Drivers paid more than $20 million in fines in the first year of the speed camera program.
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