Photo radar activist accused of disorderly conductPosted: Updated:
A Valley man claims his First Amendment rights are being trampled on, after he was arrested following a confrontation with a photo radar operator in the city of Scottsdale.
Shelton Obadiah is one of the Valley's most vocal photo radar activists, and the creator of Youtube.com/RP4409, a site devoted to stopping photo radar.
Obadiah told CBS 5 News that he believes the city of Scottsdale is out to get him and that is why he is facing charges of disorderly conduct.
"It does seem like they have a vendetta against me for being an activist," said Obadiah.
Obadiah showed us video on his cell phone from a confrontation he had last October with a photo radar operator and then a Scottsdale police officer.
The video shows Shelton walking up to a photo radar van and yelling at the man inside.
"You all making money, pirates," Obadiah said on the video.
Moments later, the photo radar operator stepped out of the van.
"You out making money you (expletive)? Get a life dude. Get a life," Obadiah said. "You (expletive) stealing from people using a scam van. You are a thief."
A few minutes later, Scottsdale police officers arrive and there's more discussion.
"You're typical, being a (expletive) dude," Obadiah told the officer.
According to the police report, Obadiah "stood in front of the van's camera and blocked his view of oncoming cars" for about 10 minutes, and that is why he was arrested.
But Shelton's attorney Marc Victor said the video evidence clearly shows that his client never blocked the van or interfered with officers - he was simply exercising his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
"You might not like his methods, might not like his language, might not like that he filmed it," said Victor. "That's fine. That's what a free country is all about."
"It's really going to be a sad day in America if a person like Shelton, expressing his political opinion, is found to be committing a criminal offense," said Victor. "I don't know what anybody can say anymore."
The city of Scottsdale released this statement:
"The city would not proceed on a case if we did not believe there was evidence to support a conviction. The city treats all citizens equal under the law and would not target an individual as part of a vendetta."
A trial date in the case has not been set.
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