An attorney in Decatur has filed a $50 million class action civil lawsuit against the City of Stone Mountain, mayor Patricia Wheeler, city manager Barry Amos, and police chief Chancey Troutman, claiming illegal use of the police department’s speed detection devices, or laser.
According to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Jennifer Watts on Aug. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, for a period of three months the city failed to comply with the following statute (O.C.G.A. 40-14-4): No law enforcement agency may use speed detection devices, unless the agency possesses a license in compliance with Federal Communications Commission rules, and unless each device, before being placed in service and annually after being placed in service, is certified for compliance by a technician possessing a certification as required by the Department of Public Safety.
“The City of Stone Mountain Police Department failed to comply with this law beginning December 29, 2011, when their certification expired; the certification was not renewed until March 27,2012,” Watts’ press release about the lawsuit says. “During this three month time period, the City of Stone Mountain’s certification was expired.”
According to Watts, “After acquiring knowledge of the expired speed detection devices, the City of Stone Mountain knowingly and intentionally continued to prosecute citizens of the State of Georgia, collecting fines and fees of over $100,000. As a result of these egregious acts, one of the Plaintiffs served sixty-seven (67) days in the DeKalb County Jail, lost his job, vehicle, apartment and all of his earthly possessions.”
Watts claims that as of the filing date, there were more than 200 citations prosecuted with more pending.
City attorney Joe Fowler told Patch on Friday morning that he had not seen the complaint and that it had been turned over to the municipality's insurance carrier.
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