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Seattle Man Holds Up a Sign Warning Other Drivers About ‘Cops Ahead.’ How Authorities Responded Has Him Accusing Them of ‘Twisting Laws\


"Anything that displays directions, you can't do that."

A Seattle man hoping to save others from tickets was fined himself for holding a sign along the side of the road, warning of "cops ahead."

But it wasn't necessarily this part of the message on the sign fashioned on a plastic Rubbermaid lid that got him in trouble. It was the instructions that he gave to motorists after it.

Daniel Gehlke was holding the white lid earlier this month that said "Cops Ahead! Stop at sign and light!"

Now, he's only allowed to hold a sign that says "Cops Ahead!" — the rest of it blacked out with marker.

Image source: KOMO-TV

In an encounter on June 17 with a Seattle police officer, Gehlke learned that his sign was against the law.

"11.50.560, which is forbidden devices or signs," the ticketing officer said in the video. "Nothing that displays words that say 'stop,' 'slow,' 'turn.' Anything that displays directions, you can't do that."

Here's that rather civil interaction:

Police department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb confirmed to KOMO-TV that the specific violation with Gehlke's sign was that it was "giving instructions to motorists through the words that he chose, like 'slow down' or 'caution.'"

Here's how it reads in the city's code:

No person shall erect or maintain at or near a street or alley any structure, sign, light or device that is:

1. Visible from a street or alley and simulating any directional, warning, or regulatory sign or likely to be mistaken for such a sign or bearing any such words as "danger," "stop," "slow," "turn," "impound," or similar words, figures, or directions likely to be construed as giving warning to or regulating traffic;

Gelkhe, however, told the news station, "I am a believer that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights are there specifically so they can't be modified or restricted. This clearly is not a stop sign."

He continued, saying that he thinks the police are "overstepping their bounds and using, twisting laws."

Based on his interpretation of the law, Gelkhe told KOMO that "it's clearly meant for people trying to put up 'no parking' signs or stop sign or a yield signs on a public right-of-way. Not someone who made a sign on a Rubbermaid."

Still, he received at $138 ticket, which he told the news station he plans to appeal.

Watch KOMO's report:

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