from Bill Still
Stephen Ruth, the famous “Red Light Camera Robin Hood”, has been arrested – again – in Suffolk County, New York for disabling dozens more red light cameras.
“I will single-handedly tear down the red light camera program with no fear of jail time,” said the 43-year-old Ruth.
Ruth, calls the cameras “unconstitutional”.
Last August, Ruth filmed himself using a painter’s extension pole to point a red-light camera up, looking into the sky.
“I’m gonna show you how easy it is to take the power back,” said Ruth. The video went viral on YouTube.
According to Ruth, the red-light camera program is probably the most-hated program conducted by governments.
“I’ll never be convicted by a jury of my peers,” said Ruth.
The latest results from a CBS 2 poll in New York shows that he may be right – 95% of nearly 4,000 respondents agreed that the red light camera program should be suspended.
Last week, Ruth was arrested within hours after filming a report for CBS 2 in New York, admitting that he had just disabled dozens more cameras over the weekend.
He showed the reporter how he opened a connection box at the bottom of the camera pole.
. “I’ve made it dysfunctional, just like the whole red light camera program.”
After the broadcast, Ruth turned himself in to police.
He is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony. If convicted, Ruth faces up to 7 years in prison on each count.
“Naturally, I thought I was going to be arrested. It’s a cause I was willing to fight for,” he said.
Suffolk Police Commanding Officer Milagros Soto disagrees, however, saying that Ruth is a criminal and not a hero.
“[The red light cameras are] placed at specific locations where there’s been high rates of crashes.”
But Ruth says it’s more about revenue generation, and
legislative corruption. Last October, Ruth went before the Suffolk County Commission to complain on the record.
“[According to the contract the County signed]
if the camera does not produce at least 25 tickets between the hours of 6 am to 10pm, the County owes the camera company $17.25 per ticket, and also $2,132 per camera.”
A spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA) agrees.
Lon Anderson from AAA Mid-Atlantic told Fox 5 News in Washington, D.C. that in 2012, the D.C. government took in an extra $13 million on 91,550 tickets – on average, $142 per citation – and it is rising about 15% per year.
According to Ruth, the cameras are an unconstitutional scam.
“People have to take action. No one is going to do it for you,” he said.
According to Fox News, the Minnesota Supreme court struck down the use of these cameras as unconstitutional in 2008, because, according to Fox New’s Megyn Kelly, who is also an attorney:
“… they deprive people the right to confront their accuser; and they assume guilt, instead of assuming innocence – the presumption in our law,” said Kelly.
“It’s totally about revenue. That’s why these cities are shortening the yellow-light cycle which is absolutely outrageous.”
And the problem is worldwide. In Australia, one TV news report documented that each camera the government places rakes in on average $20,000 per day, or $7.3 million a year – by far, the biggest revenue generator for the state of Victoria.
But popular outrage has finally caused Victoria to shut them all down after many have been proven to be faulty.
Victoria’s Federal Transport Minister, John Anderson:
“Cameras are set up in places that are designed to raise revenue, not save lives.”
In British Columbia, speed cameras were recently banned with no increase in the number of fatalities.
Mr. Ruth is expected to be in court on Tuesday.
I’m Still reporting from Washington. Good day.