Veteran WTVF-Channel 5 news reporter Phil Williams said he never asked for special treatment and intended to plead his case in court like everybody else, following a special hearing last week regarding a pair of parking tickets.
General Sessions Judge Dan Eisenstein called the hearing before traffic court on Wednesday, after Metro police sent a letter to the Traffic Violations Bureau asking that a second ticket issued to Williams in one day be dismissed. Eisenstein proceeded to grill members of the police department for about two hours on why the letter was sent.
Williams, who didn’t attend the hearing because, as he said, he wasn’t notified to and didn’t have a matter before the court, said he never mentioned the tickets to the police department and never asked for special treatment.
“I have received other parking and speeding tickets that have all been paid,” Williams wrote in an email to The City Paper. “In this case, when later asked by the police spokesperson if I had received two tickets, I told him that my intention was to go to traffic court and plead my case — since I am a member of the media and was ticketed for parking in a spot reserved for media.
“Despite my stated intentions to go to court, the police department told me that they were filing a motion to withdraw the second ticket that they believed to have been improper or illegal. I replied that I did not want the ticket handled in any way that would be deemed questionable.”
At the hearing, Eisenstein said that because the tickets were issued to Williams, the letter appeared to ask for preferential treatment by the police department, something Mayor Karl Dean warned Metro employees against in a letter of his own last year.
But members of the department said the letter was drafted only after a captain in charge deemed the ticket-writing procedure that led to two tickets being issued to the same person on the same day was improper, no matter who was cited. The first ticket issued on June 3 was deemed appropriate and therefore left alone.