A Florida man was placed under arrest on Saturday morning in the city of Apopka, for what local police are calling obstruction of an officer without violence and a "pedestrian violation." As this is Florida, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was something insane. Rather, he was protesting his fair city's use of red light cameras.

66-year-old Mark Schmidter was on the corner handing out fliers to motorists stopped at red lights. The double-sided fliers had a petition and a message about a city council meeting, where citizens could voice their concerns about red light cameras. This was all well and good, until Schmidter was approached by a police officer.

Schmidter told the officer he didn't have a permit for the protest, and when asked for identification, responded that as he wasn't driving, he had no need for ID. When he continued to (peacefully) resist the officer's requests for identification or information about who he was, the officer cuffed him and made an arrest.

Schmidter's argument about the cameras was that, "Red light cameras are all about money - not safety. Governments choose tax money over safety of motorists." Citizens across the country seem to support this reasoning, with TheNewspaper.com finding that in 30 public referendums across the country, cameras have been overturned 90 percent of the time. Schmidter was fined $65 for the pedestrian violation and was held for 12 hours before being released on $500 bond. His push to remove the red light cameras requires 500 signatures before a public referendum can be held.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 83 Comments
      angelalvalois
      • 1 Year Ago
      Amerika! Where you're required to pay for a permit for your rights! What a sad country we have become.
      ijardine
      • 1 Year Ago
      What Law is there that says one needs a "permit" to hand out flyers? Whether I agree with the guys cause or not I see no reason for the officer's intervention in a peaceful activity.
      JaredN
      • 1 Year Ago
      Land of the free, baby. :-/
      Classic_Engr
      • 1 Year Ago
      God Bless 66-year-old Mark Schmidter! A true American!
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      Didn't the Nazis require people to carry papers at all times?
      Soul Shinobi
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hopefully his unfortunate situation should get him the attention he needs for those signatures.
      Travis C. Vasconcelo
      I am so glad that we are not free anymore. Now that we are beholden to the Government we can stop needless protests and just work to pay them to live in the lifestyle we are not allowed to. Zeig Heil, Floridian Gestapo!
      bighairyredneck1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where do I sign?
      RocketRed
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's called Contempt of Cop. The big limitiation on having rights to be in public and exercise free speech is that you are the mercy of cops who have little, if any, training in the Constitution, some of whom view any statement but "yes, officer" as a reason to cuff you or worse. I once heard a cop tell me, under oath, that he did know what the 4th Amendment is.
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      Held 12 hours? I guess this is one way to keep someone from getting enough signatures for a referendum.
      Carboy45
      • 1 Year Ago
      Without "probable cause" that this man was committing, or had committed, a crime, he is not required to present an ID to an officer. He should not have been arrested, and should not have been incarcerated for any period of time. Whether he should have been fined/arrested rests on the legal definition of "protest" in this town/county/state. If passing out literature is considered "protest", requiring a "permit" then one would need a "permit" to hand someone his/her business card, or a religious person to hand out a tract, or a business hand out a handbill.
      Stephen Donaldson
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.banthecams.org/articles/read-light-camera/4687-arresting-officer-in-apopka-over-rlc-protest-is-on-the-rlc-detail Quote: “Arresting” officer in Apopka over RLC protest, IS ON THE RLC DETAIL! Ban the Cams has uncovered the fact that the officer, Robert Campbell who “arrested” Mark Schmider on “daring” to protest RLC and ask citizens to sign a RLC petition IS ON THE RLC DETAIL OF APOPKA! It seems Apopka is not happy if voters might want to vote to ban RLC . This is not the only run in over peaceful protesting RLC in Apopka. Just last month, Ban the Cams protesters were threaten by police for holding signs that said “Honk if you hate RLC”. All Ban the Cams protest have been peaceful events, this “arrest” is nothing more than a blatant attempt to silence criticism of a RLC program geared more on keep the city coffers filled.
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