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DPW reassigns officer who distributed wrongful parking tickets

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(WJLA) - A cell phone video was posted on Youtube on December 11 when a number of people parked on G Street in Northeast received parking tickets – even though they appeared to be parked legally. The video shows a ticket on the windshield, and then the meter.

"I said, 'OMG!'" said Brenda Hicks, who owns the car in the video -- which incidentally was allowed to be parked for approximately nine more minutes.

"Somebody needs to monitor that," she said. "It's just unfair to me, I live in the District. I work in the District."

"I was actually shocked," said Aubrey Stokes, who shot the video after he says he was wrongly ticketed himself for an expired meter. He snapped pictures of his car, along with a notice – yet he had 13 minutes left:

"I should not have gotten a ticket."

Carlye Smith tells us his meter had 44 minutes left on it when he got his ticket as well. All three were written by the same Department of Public Works Officer, C. Johns.

"Whoever did this wasn't paying attention and wasn't doing their job accurately," said Carlye.

In response to a 7 On Your Side request for answers, DPW launched an investigation, resulting in Officer John’s reassignment.

"We have moved them to a walking beat, so they can get closer to the visuals of the meter," said Teri Doke.

Doke is the parking management enforcement administrator, and says:
"There was a need to place the officer closer to an opportunity to read the meter."

We asked: "In this instance, there was the potential that tickets were issued improperly?

And Doke responded: "There is the potential that the numbers were not read properly, yes."

But despite our requests, DPW refuses to release how many of John’s tickets were tossed out in the last year.

ABC7: Had this officer had a track record of tickets being challenged? Had this been brought up before? Had there been a pattern of this?

Doke: Not to my knowledge.

ABC7: You feel this person is capable enough to remain on the job as a ticket writer?

Doke: As of this time, yes.

So Officer Johns remains on the job, and Brenda Hicks paid her ticket – one she probably didn’t deserve. Aubrey Stokes got his dismissed, and Carlye Smith continues to challenge his, hoping with time that justice will be on his side.

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