Seattle Man’s Homemade Speed Trap Warning Sign Earns Him Hefty Ticket

Seattle man got $138 ticket for holding a sign warning drivers of a speed trap.

ByABC News
June 23, 2015, 1:56 PM

— -- A Seattle man was ticketed after he said he was “just trying to help encourage people to follow the rules of the road” by holding up a sign that tipped motorists off to an impending speed trap.

Freedom of speech cannot be infringed upon,” said Daniel Gehlke, who made the handmade sign that reads, “Cops Ahead! Stop at sign and light!” on a plastic container lid.

“It’s not freedom of speech when it’s against the law,” the officer responds.

Gehlke told ABC News affiliate KOMO News that he was holding the sign at an intersection for about five minutes before officers noticed his sign and told him to stop.

“I’m Officer Elliott. I’m a Seattle police officer and I’m letting you know now that’s against the law,” said an officer during the dealings that were captured on cell phone video that was uploaded to Gehlke’s personal Facebook profile and YouTube page.

When Gehlke asked about the specific law that he was breaking, the officer said he was defying city municipal code 11.50.560 which refers to, “forbidden signs and devices.”

The municipal code prohibits “any structure sign, light or device that…bears any such words as ‘danger’,’ stop’, ‘slow’, ‘turn’, ‘impound’, or similar words, figures or directions…”

Gehlke told KOMO News he is going to fight the $138 ticket and he believes the content of his sign, not the language he used, made him a target for the police.

"I do think this is police overstepping their bounds and using, twisting laws," he said. "(The code) doesn't read like it's meant for stop signs like this. It's clearly meant for people trying to put up 'no parking' signs or stop sign or a yield signs on a public right-of-way. Not someone who made a sign on a Rubbermaid."

Gehlke told KOMO that he crossed out the words the police objected to and he intends to use the modified sign in the future.

ABC News could not reach Gehlke for comment.

The Seattle Police did not respond to a request for comment.