A video posted to YouTube Thursday from Somerville, Massachusetts, showing a man repeatedly crossing an intersection while a police car waits nearby to pull over drivers who don’t stop, is prompting speculation and outrage.
Some are calling it entrapment.
It’s unclear whether the man crossing the street is an undercover officer or if he’s being paid by the police, but the video clearly shows him use the same crosswalk three times in 90 seconds — and when a driver fails to stop on his third pass, a police car pulls out and chases the driver down.
“If you don’t stop, they’ll catch you,” the man filming the video says before claiming that another police officer yelled at him for filming the intersection.
“Look he’s gonna walk out in traffic again,” he narrates in a New England accent.
When the police car zips out to chase down the offending driver at video’s end, the man filming expresses disgust.
“Good job you got another one,” the man says in a sarcastic tone. “And that was a waste of money.”
TheBlaze reached out to the Somerville Police Department on Tuesday morning for comment.
“We have the video,” the police department employee who promised to relay the request for comment said. “It’s been everywhere.”
The department had not responded to TheBlaze by Tuesday afternoon, but it did acknowledge the video on its Facebook account.
“As the cars speeding by the pedestrian in this video show, increased enforcement is clearly needed for crosswalks,” the Facebook post said. “At intersections such as this where drivers clearly are not stopping as required, we prefer to have an officer out there rather than wait for an unsuspecting resident to risk getting hit.”
But the Facebook posting doesn’t address some key questions.
Was the police department paying someone to entrap drivers?
How is the intersection made safer by having a guy walk back and forth across it?
Is this just a money-making scheme for the department?
Opposing Views noted that failing to yield to a pedestrian in Massachusetts is punishable with a $200 fine, which could make the unorthodox stakeout a lucrative venture for Somerville police.
Many Facebook users responded with disbelief to the department’s Facebook post, questioning why resources were being used to trap drivers instead of install lights at the crosswalk or pursue other safety-boosting measures.
Of course, it could also just be a weird man who likes to repeatedly cross the street.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter