Incident over parking meter caught on video sparks debate

SDPD explains policy regarding expired meters

SAN DIEGO - A video showing a San Diego Parking Enforcement officer ticketing a parked car with time remaining on the meter is causing an uproar.

In the video, a voice can be heard saying, "How do they get a ticket, it's green?"

The video shows what looks like a parking injustice caught on camera. The voice of the camera operator can be heard saying, "It was green before you even walked up."

Money on the meter and a ticket went on the windshield.

Moments before the camera started rolling, the meter wasn't green.

San Diego resident Sennett Devermont, who shot the video of the meter incident last week, said, "This meter being red, looking hungry, I put a couple of nickels in."

Devermont said he got the coins in before the Parking Enforcement officer walked up to the meter.

"If someone feeds a meter and it's green, don't start writing the ticket to a green meter," Devermont said.

However, San Diego police said that's not how it works.

"The real situation is a violation had occurred and the officer was taking enforcement action on it," said San Diego Police Department Lt. Andra Brown.

That means if officers drive by and see an expired meter, you can still be ticketed even if you feed the parking meter before the officer gets to it.

But what about when drivers first pull in and the meter's expired? Is there any chance they can get a ticket before they've had a chance to feed the meter?

"Once they walk away from the meter, even if it's to get change to put in the meter, they're technically parking at an expired meter and are subject to enforcement," said Brown.

"They wonder why people may not like them," said Devermont, referring to what many drivers perceive as Parking Enforcement officers' strict enforcement of meter rules.

The surprise in this particular situation is the car in the video is not Devermont's. He bikes around downtown San Diego and feeds other people's expired meters.

"I've always been doing this kind of thing," he said.

This kind of thing includes the website mrcheckpoint.com, which alerts people to DUI checkpoints and possible "speed traps."

Devermont said the website and the coins aren't meant to thwart police, but to literally pay it forward.

"If I find your red meter, I'll make sure to try and fill it," he said.

Devermont said he spoke to the car's owner and said she was not only very grateful to him but now wants to fight the ticket.

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