Riding above the law: an observation in downtown Houston

Update 2011-02-06: I know the images on this post are broken. I’m in the process of moving them to Flickr due to hosting costs.

Update 2012-04-20: Images are back up as they were before, temporarily. They will move again, I’m not sure where yet.

Regular readers will notice most of my posts are commentary on third-party articles covered elsewhere. This will be an exception to the rule, as it comes from first-person observation.

(All pictures posted were taken yesterday, 2010 October 6; please keep this in mind. And yes, this post will be quite picture-heavy.)

It started when I observed a vehicle with a prominent “official police business” windshield parking pass. It’s not that which really caught my attention as much as the expired inspection and registration above it (two and four whole months past due, respectively), which made me really glad I brought my camera with me:

I went about my business in a nearby building and came out an hour later, walking towards my destination elsewhere in downtown. One would hope that a vehicle either used for police business or obviously owned by a police officer would have current registration and inspection. While I did observe several such vehicles that were in compliance, it seems there are plenty of scofflaws carrying a badge.

This is one of the less egregious violators. Still, the inspection has lapsed for a whole month:

Oh yeah, and the front license plate is missing. I had to go to the back plate to get a positive ID:

This next one has a current registration, but an inspection that’s been lapsed for a whole year and a half:

Another one with current registration, but an inspection that’s been due for some time, and also missing the front license plate:

Finally, yet another expired inspection:

When average citizens drive around with lapsed registrations, lapsed inspections, and missing front plates, they are at risk of being nailed for a ticket. I don’t think there’s a real consequence for law enforcement officers that do this, as all they usually have to do is flash a badge and say “this ought to take care of it” thus making them above the law. Especially in the case of the second vehicle which very well could be a warrant car actually belonging to HPD instead of a private individual (just an educated guess, given the emergency lights).

Quis custodet ipsos custodes, indeed.

In summary (with license plate numbers in text for search engine robots):

  • Silver Chevrolet, Y74-XXD, expired inspection and registration
  • Black Nissan, MTN-443, expired inspection and registration, and missing front plate
  • Dark blue Pontiac, GKT-328, expired inspection (over a year)
  • Brown Nissan truck, 20x-FT3, expired inspection and missing front plate
  • Maroon Chevy, Y31-XXD, expired inspection

More to come, maybe. If I don’t post any more, it won’t be because I forgot my camera; I’ve decided I’m packing a camera every time I go downtown from now on.

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