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Private citizen issues parking tickets to Oregon cop


no-parking-sign.jpgAn Oregon man issued a series of parking citations to a uniformed police officer who parked his patrol car next to a “No Parking” sign while he went to buy food at a Chinese restaurant last month in Portland.

Eric Bryant says he approached Officer Chad Stensgaard, but the cop dismissed his concerns about the illegal parking spot.

“If he had acknowledged and corrected his error, we could have avoided this whole thing,” Bryant tells the Portland Mercury. “But instead, he kept watching basketball and told me he wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

The paper says Bryant, a newly minted lawyer, used a section of state law that allows private citizens to issue citations. He filed a complaint that accuses Stensgaard of illegal parking, illegal stopping, ignoring parking restrictions and illegal operation of an emergency vehicle.

The Associated Press says the officer was summoned to appear in traffic court next month. If he’s convicted, Stensgaard faces more than $500 in fines.

Police officials say he didn’t do anything wrong.

“I think asking an officer to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find a ‘legal’ parking space that may be a long ways away from where they’re going is unreasonable,” Assistant Chief Brian Martinek tells KGW-TV.

In 2006, Portland brought in $3.3 million from parking citations, according to this report.

Update at 8:11 a.m. ET: Bryant has issued a statement on his law firm’s website:

Many news outlets have taken an interest in my court case against Officer Stensgaard. This is a healthy public dialogue and I encourage it. It should be noted that the Portland Police Bureau has a policy that officers shall obey all laws. The law in Oregon states that emergency vehicles are exempt from traffic laws only in certain circumstances. None of the exemptions apply to this case because Officer Stensgaard was not responding to an emergency or pursuing a violator of the law.

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