After Frisco, Texas police publicly embarrassed themselves by arresting a man, for charges which were later dropped, because he warned motorists of a speed trap by holding up a sign in the median of a street, police proposed and the city council passed an ordinance to outlaw commoners from standing in the median of any road for any purpose outside of waiting for traffic.
From the Dallas Morning News:
FRISCO -- The city has adopted a new ordinance barring anyone from being in the median of a divided road except in certain cases.You know the police are in the right when they have to pass a law to outlaw the very thing they're positive was already illegal.
The measure was prompted by the actions of a Frisco man whose October arrest made national news. Ron Martin was standing in the median along Eldorado Parkway at Ranchview Lane with a homemade sign warning motorists about police ahead.
Police officers at the scene said he was violating the city's human sign ordinance. They handcuffed him and transported him to the city jail, where he was booked and required to pay $217 bail to be released.
A municipal court judge dismissed the misdemeanor charge last month, saying it wasn't clear what the offense was.
Frisco Police Chief John Bruce said Tuesday that he believed Martin's arrest was still valid, but his department opted against refiling the charge. Instead, the department proposed a new ordinance, which the City Council unanimously approved at its meeting Tuesday.
Bruce said the ordinance addresses a public safety issue. The question is, "Do you want people to be able to stand in medians without having a legitimate reason to be there or not?" Bruce asked council members.
The ordinance bans people from "stopping, standing, walking, running and/or otherwise entering in and/or upon a median." There are exceptions. Utilities and cleanup crews would be allowed. And people would be allowed to stop in the median in an emergency or while waiting for traffic to clear before crossing the street.
But standing in the median would not be allowed. Joggers and dog walkers also would be banned from using the medians. The ordinance states that the new regulations will help avoid traffic hazards and distractions to motorists as well as "alleviate possible nuisances to pedestrians, motorists and other persons using public right-of-way."
An offense under the new ordinance is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. Bruce said because the ordinance is new, his officers will initially give warnings to those who violate it.
"This straight up disrespects me," Martin said of the ordinance after Tuesday's meeting.
[...]But Bruce said Tuesday the arrest was never about Martin holding a sign. Bruce said he told Martin he could hold a sign while standing on the side of the road or on the sidewalk but not in the median.
"People don't belong in the median," Bruce said.