City Councilmember Daniel Halloran did something most car owners can only dream about recently – he beat a parking ticket.
On Monday, June 14, Halloran was driving his city car in Whitestone, when he observed a traffic enforcement vehicle traveling at high speed with its lights flashing. Behind the wheel was Traffic Enforcement Agent Daniel Chu, who was talking on his cell phone.
With his chief-of-staff in the passenger seat, Halloran followed the car to 11th Avenue and Clintonville Street – to the Dunkin’ Donuts store Chu was entering. The by-now incensed Halloran pulled up and began a cell phone video recording of Chu’s vehicle, partially blocking a crosswalk.
Chu responded by ticketing Halloran’s vehicle, replete with City Council placard and NYC plates – for blocking the crosswalk, a $165 violation. He even intimated a threat from Halloran in the comments box.
Exactly one month later, Halloran took his case to the Department of Finance adjudication offices in Jamaica, armed with pictures, maps, notarized statements from witnesses, a CD of the video and his phone, which he used to replay the incident for the judge.
Although the judge questioned the evidence closely, mentioning that Halloran’s car was in a traffic lane — “but that isn’t the ticket [Chu] wrote” — he dismissed the parking ticket.
Chu, on the other hand, has been transferred “way uptown in Manhattan,” according to Halloran. “After the incident, my office got over 100 complaints about him,” which he said he forwarded to the Police Department.
In the resulting investigation, Halloran said that Chu admitted to talking on the cell phone and improper operation of the vehicle. He was given “command discipline,” docked vacation days and sent back for sensitivity and use-of-discretion training.
Further, Chu has been denied the use of department motor vehicles and will be monitored by the ethics control officer weekly at his new command.
“It’s hard to argue with a video,” a smiling Halloran said as he left the hearing.