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Want Police Reform? Charge Rich People More for Speeding Tickets


Want Police Reform? Charge Rich People More for Speeding Tickets

Astra Taylor

Soon after the horrific video of Minneapolis-St Paul resident Philando Castile being killed by a cop during a routine traffic stop was broadcast live over Facebook, evidence of just how “routine” the stop actually was also became public.


Charge relationship to ability to pay. Currently the system is regressive with the poor pay vastly more than the rich in terms of % of income. The wealthy need to hurt just as much as the poor once they do fee based violations will drop.



It's beyond unjust and I don't know what that term would be. When I needed legal defense I was referred to an attorney. I had a solid case. His fee was $2000.00 to take the case and $2000.00 if we went to trial. I did not have $4000.00 (even though he probably could have had the case dismissed but I still did not have $2000.00). I could only afford the cheap attorney. He said, "You get what you pay for." That's it in a nutshell. Money talks in a court room. And the poor walk to the cashier to make arrangements or they walk to the jail cell. My civil rights were violated; the police officered lied about probable cause in stopping me; he had no physical or video evidence against me but I did not have $4000.00 for a good defense attorney to plead my case. I could only afford some SOB who collected his money and provided ZERO services. It's a wonder the anger from the disenfranchised is not louder and more violent because there certainly is cause.


It's so true that cops stop those who could least afford the tickets. Living in LA, I see TONS of shiny black expensive cars like BMWs or Mercedes or super-expensive SUVs --- speeding like bats out of hell (which might not be just a term in this case) -- yet, when I see a CHP who has stopped a car -- - it's almost never them. It's usually someone in a very old vehicle with a dent here and there -- who probably prays their car will start back up when the ticketing is over.


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About time this is part of the forum. Written about this for years. Everybody agrees yet nothing has been done.


That works until the cop realizes that the entitled guy he stopped is the mayor's son. Or judge's son. Or judge.

Sounds good, but somewhat self-limiting.


I have also. I once told a gentleman he was parked illegal and would get a ticket, he laughed and said i can afford it and walked off.


I'm sorry, but I cannot sanction what is being discussed. If a person is speeding, that person -- rich or poor -- needs to given a speeding ticket. No exceptions. That is applying the law equally.

Likewise, the financial penalty (fine) needs to be fair (based on how much over the speed limit) and applied equally. If the fine is unfair, correct the amount of the fine. Don't pick a segment of society to discriminate against to to "fix" society's ills.

We are not talking about a progressive income tax based on income ... we are talking about a fine for breaking the law. The infraction was breaking a traffic law, not earning a high income. If both parties were speeding 20 MPH over the limit -- the fine should be the same for both offenders.

I advocate for equality for everyone. The stupid idea of basing the fine for a traffic infraction on one's income or assets is a form of discrimination ... a form of applied and enforced inequality.

What's next under this deranged way of thinking? How about basing the cost of groceries at the supermarket on the consumer's income or accumulated assets.

Stupid is as stupid does as stupid thinks. This is the most ignorant, uneducated way of addressing inequality and injustice I've ever heard. If this way of thinking and idea wasn't so sad, it would be funny.

Inequality and injustice needs to be addressed at the root level ... capitalism and the state by working as enforcers of the ruling class.


OMG.... progressive fines?.... Oh, yes.... So, I am amazed that someone has finally brought this up.... I have to admit... I have had some tickets... that I could not pay...and the, get pulled over for a tail light, and... voila...my license is suspended... sometimes I knew this.... but, what are you going to do, feed your kids... or pay 200 dollars... or 300... AND I AM WHITE... if I were black... it'd probably be more... but, my two girls are black... but only one is driving and hasn't been for long...
I have often said that the punishment doesn't fit the crime... what with health care premiums and then also health care bills and all other expenses... it's impossible... on the salaries we make.
I will also say this... since most of this kind of injustice is ON PURPOSE.... it is a battle... in a much larger WAR.... so, no matter what kind of "change" comes to this practice... they will get you with another weapon... it's like squeezing a balloon, the air always gets to another place... it doesn't go away.


In Long Beach I saw luxury cars parked in the red zone and cops all around and not one ticket on any car.

Charge Rich People More for Speeding Tickets


          July 23

  I have also. I once told a gentleman he was parked illegal and would get a ticket, he laughed and said i can afford it and walked off.

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          July 22

  About time this is part of the forum.  Written about this for years.  Everybody agrees yet nothing has been done.

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Ending all regressive taxes would be a good thing. That means no sales tax, sliding scales for fees and property, and taxing corporations on their gross income because net is a fiction born of lobbying and finally a vat plus tariffs and then the middle class rises.


"Over the course of those 13 years, Castile was charged over $6,500. And too often, when people can’t pay, they wind up jail "
How this can in any way be justified is inexplicable. Why does the USA tend to think it does things well when it cannot even consider (except rarely) getting ideas from other lands?

I have driven for over fifty years in many countries (not USA) and have been fined and politely treated for genuine infractions perhaps ten times. To see these poor people, mainly Black men, imprisoned for inability to pay, makes me wonder if this is a free country in the 21st century, let alone a model for the world!!


Many foreign nations' news is in English on the internet and gives us a better picture of what occurs in those countries. Unfortunately, the large majority of the news on American news sites give us little information about some of the programs in other nations that benefit average citizens. It was nice to see this article by Ms. Taylor.


”If the fine is unfair, correct the amount of the fine.” That’s exactly what the article and commerters are advocating—correcting the amount to make fines fair.

You say you advocate for equality. But we live in a grossly unequal society. The US is on the high side of countries in internal inequality and globally, it's an incredibly rich country in a world of poor countries it's making poorer. Both internal and global inequality are increasing rapidly. This is not accident or something that's simply happening, it's policy; it's being done by those people with the most money, who own the government at every level in the US and most other places.

Proposition 13 and similar laws were pushed by the rich, using deception and manupulative tactics, to reduce the taxes of the rich and to starve cities, counties, states and countries of the money they need to ”stay within their means”. Thousands of other laws, deregulations and other policies and actions are also rapidly increasing the disparity between rich and poor.

In a time of eco-psychological crisis, when the effects of climate catastrophe and other ecological problems—caused almost entirely by the rich—are hurting, and will increasingly hurt the poor above all, this is unacceptable. Inequality is literally destroying the biosphere.

No one is saying poor people shouldn't get tickets for speeding; they're saying they should get tickets and get arrested and punished at the same rate as rich people. They don't; they get punished far more even though they break the law far less frequently.

No one is saying changing traffic fines is the only way we should be addressing inequality. Since the survival of civilization, humanity, and millions of other species depends on drastically reducing inequality very quickly, it's obviously important to address it in every way we possibly can. This is one. You think we should address it at the root level, and I agree. But capitalism is not the root, it's one of the symptoms of the psychological problems that are the real root. But since you rudely dismiss the way proposed, what solutions do you propose to banish inequality?

BTW, since we need to do everything we can and get rid of inequality immediately, and since the fate of the entire biosphere hangs largely on this, I've always thought we should charge richer people more for everything, at the same time we increase the progressivity of taxes to utterly wipe out inequality. One way to do this is to charge by the hour instead of the dollar. Speed by 6 miles, pay what you make in an hour; speed by 30 miles, pay what you make in 10 hours. Everybody, equally. Of course, to be fair that woule have to be adjusted to account for the difference in disposable income vs. ”needs” income. A rich person deprived of a week’s pay might lose the chance to take the most expensive trip to Aruba for the 3rd time in a year and have to suffer (horribly, no doubt) through the second most expensive. A poor person might lose his or her job, house, family, and die.

As soon as possible we should either make it illegal to have a higher income than anyone else, or better, change the nature of the economy to a tribal or band type sharing--all wealth belongs to everyone, human and non, and is allocated by democratic decision. (Remembering that the only real wealth is physically and emotionally healthy people in a healthy environment.) So anyone who increases the wealth of the tribe should have the thanks and respect they deserve for it, and nothing else.

Maybe a plaque.

That's a hard sell for entitled-feeling rich people and as we’re both aware, what they say goes. While we're pushing against the river to change the economic system against the wishes of everyone who runs it, raising fines seems like a good idea to me.


Noting that I have heard elsewhere a lot of sentiment for communities pushing the police out of their communities, and of some police that they will simply 'de-police' some neighborhoods where they are unwanted.
-- Stats have already been collected of double digit % increases in robberies, assaults and murders in those neighborhoods. So those neighborhoods need to find a substitute for racist policing, and haven't found it yet.

(Stats report that black folks are responsible for a grossly-in-excess-compared-to-their-population amount of crime. I will take that as a precursor of revolutionary sentiment, on account of decades and centuries of perceived and actual oppression.)


I have already liked this post.
To tell a story: The President of the small company I last worked at told that years ago he was riding a bus in Eritrea, a nation of black people. As the bus was traversing a mountain slope suddenly the driver stopped the bus, and ran into the brush. While he was wondering "What?!" a band of robbers swarmed the bus. They went through the bus and robbed everyone. Some minutes after the robbers left the driver reappeared from the brush, and the bus-trip resumed. ....


First, referring to

This was practice in the USSR for decades. In a nation where all the wealth was collectively owned, and hence no one owned it (and no one much bothered to produce any...) - what wealth there was was enjoyed (as opposed to 'owned') by people with position in the nomenklatura of the party and government.

I have written my state representatives and senators advocating such progressive fines for crimes and offenses, and also
* Advocating progressive property taxation. We should want Pigou or sin taxes that disfavor McMansions and favor affordable micro-housing.
* Advocating progressive sales taxes, that sale taxes in the 'better' neighborhoods of Montgomery county MD should be higher than in the less-well-off neighborhoods of Prince Georges county. (This could have the social engineering good result of better off people traveling to less well off neighborhoods to shop, putting jobs where the poor people are. We hope.)
-- It is a measure of how representative government in Maryland is that I haven't gotten a reply from any of my state representatives or senators about this.


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