CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini repeatedly caught a Chicago police officer driving the wrong way down busy streets, obstructing traffic and making it potentially dangerous for motorists.
It might not be illegal, but drivers say it should be stopped. Savini exposes the officer’s driving and allegations about bogus parking tickets too.
During morning rush hour, a Chicago police officer repeatedly drives the wrong way down busy streets in the direct path of oncoming motorists. Even with no emergency lights, this officer can be seen cutting people off without warning.
“I would get scared. I’d be worried, because clearly something’s going on, of some crazy importance, that you need to be going the wrong way,” said motorist Ben Jacobi.
For days, the CBS 2 Investigators found the same squad car being driven the wrong way down the street – forcing vehicles and even a bicyclist to drive around the officer and out into the middle of the street.
Officer Patricia Moran is not chasing a fleeing suspect. She is in pursuit of something else; trying to beat motorists to their parked cars before 7 a.m., so she can quickly write as many street cleaning tickets as possible.
“Literally no lights, no signal, no nothing. Pulls right in front of a car that’s just trying to drive,” said Jacobi while watching the CBS 2 video. “It’s the kind of thing I would get a ticket for if I was driving my car.”
By driving the wrong way, Officer Moran never has to get out of her seat. She just reaches out the window.
Jacobi and other nearby residents want to know why no one is stopping Officer Moran from driving this way just to write parking tickets.
Dave Savini questioned Officer Moran about her driving and she said, “I’m just doing my job.”
One after another, the officer sticks parking tickets on door handles while obstructing traffic.
“It’s dangerous, and for what? a couple bucks for the city?” said Jacobi.
He owns a car the CBS 2 Investigators saw Officer Moran ticket for parking during a two-hour no parking period for street cleaning. Jacobi said it is a ticket he never should have gotten. He parked near a friend’s place, next to a pole that did not have any signs warning about street cleaning. The next available sign he could have seen was a block away, and blocked by trees.
Brightly colored orange paper street sweeping signs, normally hanging on poles and trees in other neighborhoods, were not hung on Ashland Avenue where the CBS 2 Investigators found Officer Moran routinely targeting cars like Jacobi’s.
Jacobi said those tickets add up, “Especially if you’re doing one every 30 seconds.”
The CBS 2 Investigators found more to this story – more questions about Officer Moran’s tickets, including those given to Rasheed Lumous.
“There are a lot of times I received a ticket that is wrong. I know it’s wrong,” said Lumous, who received so many tickets from Officer Moran, it was starting to feel personal.
“I was thinking that, has somebody got something against me, because the tickets kept coming,” said Lumous. “I had so much tickets.”
The CBS 2 Investigators found out about Lumous after we obtained records revealing he had been repeatedly ticketed by the officer. Since 2016, Lumous appealed seven of the parking tickets Officer Moran gave him, and six were thrown out – including tickets for street cleaning violations, Lumous says, on non-street cleaning days.
“I fought it, because I know I was right. She was wrong,” said Lumous.
The parking ticket data CBS 2 Investigators obtained also shows Officer Moran tops the list of officers from her district whose parking tickets have been appealed.
In fact, citywide since 2016, 9,600 officers have had parking tickets appealed, and Officer Moran ranks number two for the most tickets appealed by drivers – and the most tickets thrown out by hearing officers. Of her 1,203 parking tickets appealed, 806 of them — more than two-thirds — were tossed out.
“I’ve been upset for a long time,” said Lumous.
He says, aside from the tickets, he has seen the officer drive the wrong way, and is upset she is able to get away with it.
“We know it’s dangerous,” said Lumous. “But who am I to tell the police that you are doing something wrong?”
At least one person did complain to Officer Moran’s superiors at the 20th District, and recorded video of her wrong-way driving.
One video, ironically, shows a street cleaning truck pulling over to get out of the officer’s way as she drives the wrong way while ticketing a vehicle. Despite that complaint, Officer Moran kept driving this way until the CBS 2 Investigators asked her why she does not get out of her vehicle to ticket cars.
“I will,” said Officer Moran.
Weeks later, the CBS 2 Investigators checked back and found she changed her driving ways and is now getting out of the squad to safely ticket cars. But the question remains – how many of those tickets will actually stick?
Chicago Police say officers are allowed to drive against traffic to hand out parking tickets. However, they reprimanded Officer Moran, saying, “Given the traffic congestion and road conditions, better judgment should have been used.”
Officer Moran has faced other ticket-related complaints – two for reportedly giving out repeated bogus tickets and a third for giving a motorist the middle finger while writing a parking ticket. The Chicago Police Department has not released the outcome of those cases to the CBS 2 Investigators.