Town sued over traffic incident

The story began last December when Rod MacIver was issued a traffic ticket from police officer Jason Lawton of the Shelburne Police Department. In MacIver’s words, “I was pulled over in the middle of the night for no reason, and when I objected, admittedly in strong terms, the officer gave me a ticket for something he knew I didn’t do—run a red light. I filed a complaint and the officer’s supervisor, Sergeant Allen Fortin, responded that the cruiser video indicated that I did drive through the red light. I sent a letter of apology to the officer for the rant and requested a copy of the cruiser video. No response. After repeated requests and $45 later, still no video,” he said. “When I started throwing around terms like ‘suppression of evidence’ and ‘obstruction of justice,’ the video was forthcoming. The video indicated that I did not drive through the red light.”

On March 6 MacIver contested the ticket in court. Before the court proceedings began police officer Lawton offered to drop the charges but MacIver objected. Lawton then testified under oath that MacIver ran the red light. When MacIver cross-examined the officer he showed the police video confirming that he did not run the red light.

Although the judge ultimately dismissed the ticket, MacIver is suing the town of Shelburne $2,000 for his time, expenses, and according to court documents “in support of other drivers who might not go to this trouble.” That trial was set for last Friday, July 26 in Chittenden Superior Court but the officers and Shelburne’s Town Manager, advised by the town’s attorney not to appear, never showed so the case was postponed for 30 days.

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