A Michigan man said he was brutally beaten up by court guards for no reason other than for trying to pay his fine in pennies.
Anthony Sevy got a parking ticket in Royal Oak but when he went to pay it, things took an ugly turn, reported WJBK-TV.
The young man first tried to pay for his $10 fine using his credit card in Royal Oak’s 44th District Court. However, he was told he would get a $1.75 surcharge if he used that, basically pinning another 20 percent fee on his fine.
The disgruntled Sevy left and soon came back with a big bag of pennies for what his lawyer called a “symbolic protest.”
“He wasn’t happy about it so, in symbolic protest, he brought back penny rolls to pay for his ticket,” said his attorney, Jonathan Marco. “The clerk wasn’t too happy about that, they refused to allow him to pay with penny rolls.”
The CCTV footage showed Sevy and the courthouse guard arguing over the payment. Sevy was apparently asked to leave and that would have been that — but the court guards wouldn’t let him leave in peace.
Two guards were seen following Sevy out to a vestibule. One of them jerked down the hood of Sevy’s jacket as the other escorted him out. What happened next was not captured on video as there were no cameras in that place.
However, according to Marco, one of the officers attacked Sevy from behind. He was roughly choked, pushed and then slammed on the ground. Sevy lost unconsciousness and woke up later to find out he had defecated himself.
To add salt to the wound, Sevy was charged with disturbing the peace and assaulting an officer. He was also arrested and then thrown in jail.
The young man was forced to plead no contest to the disturbing the peace charge, over fears it was his only chance of escaping a 2-year prison sentence for assaulting a court officer. He is now suing the Royal Oak court officers.
According to the Free Thought Project, Fair Oaks is quite infamous for its exploitive collection of parking fines and fees.
In 2012, there was huge debate when the city took advantage of a loophole in a new state law that allowed them to revoke the driving license of anyone who had unpaid parking tickets for three years. The change could have brought in nearly one million dollars in additional revenue each year, but even before that, Royal oaks was successful in raking in millions by issuing 100,000 tickets every year.
So, it seems police need the public to break traffic laws as it is not only a great source of generating revenue but also helps them keep greater control over their citizens.
It has become a popular form of peaceful protest to pay courthouses with an absurd amount of pennies. However, the practice has frustrated officials who have often responded with violence.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS, Brendan McDermid