Gabriel Friedman explains why he started recording when a parking enforcement officer wrote him a ticket in Hollywood. He says he still had 5 minutes left on the meter, but LA DOT officials contend the electronic records don't lie. Stephanie Elam reports from Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2012.
An LADOT worker was allegedly caught on video Sunday afternoon giving a parking ticket even though there was apparently time left on the meter.
Gabriel Friedman claims he was slapped with a $63 ticket while he had 5 minutes left on the meter.
"It’s highway robbery on a two-way street," Friedman said in an exclusive interview with NBC4.
Friedman and his girlfriend, Merrie Swain, were walking to the car when they realized he was getting a ticket. At first, Friedman thought they were too late but then he checked the meter.
"I get there and i realize that I still had 6 minutes on the meter," he recalled. "I said to the guy, excuse me what are you doing? I still have time on the meter. And he says to me, too late, too late. I don't know if he meant too late, he already started, or he couldn't cancel it, or I busted you but I still can't stop."
When Friedman’s attempt to get the traffic officer to stop writing the ticket failed, he pulled out his iPhone and started recording (video below)
"I decided, hey, I’ve got to document this, or at least show my Facebook friends how screwed up this is," he said.
In the video, Friedman asks the parking attendant to show his badge to the camera. The officer obliges then finishes writing the ticket.
The Department of Transportation disputes Friedman’s claims based on electronic data from the parking meter.
"At approximately 2:59, one hour was purchased by credit card at a meter in Hollywood and expired one hour later," said Bruce Gillman, LA DOT spokesman. "A couple of minutes after expiration, our officer issued a citation and placed it on the windshield of the vehicle. A minute after that, 10 cents was deposited in the meter and six minutes were recorded on the meter itself."
Friedman denies that he put any change into the meter after the traffic officer began writing his ticket.
"That’s not the case," he said. "We paid with a credit card. My girlfriend paid with a credit card, so hopefully it’s on record."
Swain, Friedman’s girlfriend, says the charge appeared on her bank statement.
"I checked my account later on," she said. “It’s only a $1 charge for the hour, like it should be, but it was posted three hours after everything."