Video: Investigation Reveals Traffic Officials Sporting Illegal Plates
Judges and clerks were abusing power
An investigation by WWLTV in New Orleans found that several traffic court judges and clerks were using illegal license plates and lights on their taxpayer funded cars.
According to the report, five taxpayer-funded cars had been outfitted with blue emergency dashboard lights, which is a violation of state law.
"It's wrong. It's wrong for those lights to be in that vehicle unless there's a post-certified police officer to operate it," said New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux.
Quatrevaux said that the lights had to be removed immediately.
One judge who was asked about the emergency lights said he had them in his car since Hurricane Katrina.
"I don't respond to any emergencies. I said I got the light after Katrina only to allow access back into the city," Chief Traffic Court Judge Robert Jones III said. "I think I've used it only twice in my lifetime, other than Katrina."
The Inspector General, however, was unimpressed with that excuse.
"Katrina was seven years ago. Katrina is no longer an excuse for anything. If that's an illegal device on his car, we need to understand how it got there, and why it's still there," Quatrevaux said.
Judge Jones III also had another piece of equipment on his car that was a potential traffic violation: A plastic cover over his license plate that reflects flash cameras like those used to collect tickets for driving violations. Using the plastic cover is another violation of state law.
Local residents were appalled by the findings of the investigation, namely because of the abuse of power that it uncovered.
"Well that's disturbing," one resident said. "So he can't get a ticket but other people can. That's not fair."
"Of all people," said another. "I think that's kind of two-faced for him to uphold the law, but he's going to bend it himself."
Check out the video above for more information on the investigation.
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