Jaywalking ticket enforcement sparks backlash

The arrest of a man for disorderly conduct and jaywalking set off swift criticism of how the police department handled the matter. This screenshot comes from a recording posted on Facebook about the arrest.


By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck police have suspended their crackdown on jaywalkers and other pedestrian law enforcement after the controversial arrest of a man on the southend last Saturday.
It’s a complicated matter, and one that prompted a community meeting in city hall on Wednesday afternoon and later, that day, the city council held a special meeting to discuss the matter.
At the Wednesday afternoon meeting, about 20 people attended, mostly from the Yemeni-American community and most of whom were identified as community leaders. The man who was arrested, whose name has not been released by the police department, is a Yemeni-American. He was not at the meeting.
Police Chief Anne Moise gave some background information on the pedestrian enforcement program and showed a recording taken from a patrol car camera of events leading up to the arrest.
The officer did not have a body camera, so the police car recording does not show all of the encounters that followed or what was entirely said.
The recording started off showing an officer warn a person getting into their vehicle that they had just jaywalked across Jos. Campau, near Goodson.
As the officer was writing up a warning notice, another man appears in front of the vehicle, and attempts to walk across the street. That’s when the officer yelled out for the man to stop, and instead go to the nearest cross walk.
That man, who was later arrested, shouted back to the officer: “That’s f—— stupid.”
That man leaves the scene without further incident.
After the officer finished with the warning ticket, he started to drive off when yet another person is warned not to cross the street where there is no crosswalk.
And that’s where the man who shouted at the officer once again appears, out of view of the police recording, and is once again heard shouting obscenities at the officer.
This is when the officer demands to see his identification. The man repeatedly asks for a reason, and insists he doesn’t not have to produce an ID.
After some back and forth, the officer then announces to the man that he is under arrest for being disorderly. However, in another recording by a bystander, the officer does warn the man to present an ID, or be arrested for obstruction. The man still refused.
That recording was not shown to community members gathered at the Wednesday meeting.
The man was arrested without further incident, and he was also issued a ticket for jaywalking after being arrested.
That police recording of events prompted a lively discussion at the Wednesday meeting.
State Rep. Abraham Aiyash, whose district includes Hamtramck, and is a Hamtramck resident, offered some pointed criticisms, saying that the officer never told the man who was arrested that he was being issued a ticket for jaywalking.
The man had repeatedly asked the officer why he was asking for his ID and whether he had done something wrong. The officer did not respond to those questions, according to the police recording of events.
Aiyash pointed out, after watching the recording of the police camera recording, that the officer’s continued demand to see an ID didn’t make sense.
“This is not the Taliban,” Aiyash said.
Aiyash said the officer’s conduct was “unreasonable.”
“The optics of this looks terrible now,” he added.
The arrest of the man recorded by a bystander, which the police recording does not show, was posted on various Hamtramck Facebook pages. That scene alarmed a number of residents, and there was swift criticism of the officers on the scene.
Details about the events leading up to the arrest had not been released to the public by the police department prior to Wednesday’s meeting. Also prior to Wednesday’s meeting, Chief Moise did not respond to an email from The Review asking for an explanation of events.
What also came to light in this incident was that the police department had a grant to enforce pedestrian safety laws.
That surprised some elected officials and the public, who said they had no knowledge of the grant or the enforcement program.
City Manager Kathy Angerer explained that, back in October of 2020, the city council approved a small state grant for $8,000, which required the city to kick in an additional $2,000, to concentrate on pedestrian safety – including handing out warning tickets to violators of jaywalking, or even issuing regular tickets.
Hamtramck has dozens of pedestrian injuries from cars each year, and residents have been, technically, jaywalking across streets for decades.
In a note from the city administration to the city council about the grant, it was explained:
“This grant program provides the federal funding to assist law enforcement officers to implement a high visibility traffic enforcement program designed to protect pedestrians and to educate community members about illegal/dangerous walking and driving behaviors and to enforce these traffic laws. …”
At the time of the council’s approval last October, there was no resistance to the grant. Councilmembers who approved the grant were: Ian Perrotta, Andrea Karpinski, Nayeem Choudhury, Fadel Al-Marsoumi, Mohammed Alsomiri and Mohammed Hassan.
Chief Moise said she stepped up enforcement this month because the grant was about to expire at the end of September, and the city was under a requirement to show that enforcement was made.
She said the department had lagged behind in the program because of the Covid pandemic, which greatly reduced the interaction of officers and the public for the past several months.
But that explanation only prompted pushback.
“To all of a sudden say we’re going to enforce something is so tone deaf,” Aiyash said.
Chief Moise admitted that the department failed to get the word out about the enforcement program.
“I take full responsibility,” she said.
City Manager Angerer also agreed that the city needs to do a better job of messaging to the community.
Moise noted that the department had stepped up enforcement of pedestrian laws in areas of the city that the state had pinpointed as high-accident zones, which includes the intersection areas of Jos. Campau and Caniff, and Campau and Holbrook, as well as several areas on Campau in the southend.
This is an edited version of what appeared in print.
Posted Aug. 20, 2021

7 Responses to Jaywalking ticket enforcement sparks backlash

  1. Mark M. Koroi

    August 20, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    Per the Facebook campaign page of mayoral candidate Amer Ghalib, the arrested man’s name is Khobair.

    Ghalib has used this incident as an example why he supports the creation of a police civil oversight board in Hamtramck.

    He reportedly was visiting Hamtramck and was not a city resident at the time of his detention.

    Reportedly, all pending jaywalking tickets will be dismissed and henceforth pedestrians who jaywalk will be given mere warnings as part of the program.

    The obstruction of justice ticket will, however, stand for now for Mr. Khobair despite efforts of City Council to get Judge Krot to dismiss it.

  2. Mark M. Koroi

    August 20, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    “…..the officer does warn the man to present an ID, or be arrested for obstruction.The man still refused….”

    Michigan is NOT a “Stop and ID” state and the officer has no right to demand here that the pedestrian produce identification. Some links to “STOP and ID” laws in the U.S.:





    “……the officer then announces to the man he is under arrest for being disorderly….”

    So is the arrest for obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct? – two separate crimes.

    Also, is the only ticket issued the fellow for jaywalking only? Or has he been also charged with obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct?

    Mr. Khobair cannot have “obstructed justice” as a pedestrian as the police officer may NOT demand production of identification under penalty of law. Limited exceptions do exist in Michigan, as where a driver under suspicion of a moving violation must produce operator’s license identification to a patrol officer upon demand.

    Police actions herein are questionable and further factual development is necessary to give a more definitive legal conclusion.

  3. Nasr Hussain

    August 20, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    As an attorney Mark;

    Can’t the city prosecutor just drop the charges against the person arrested?

    Just don’t send me a bill if you answer this question 🙂

  4. Fatema Hossain

    August 21, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    So sad. Why do the police have to do this in Hamtramck?

    Police tickets and towing cars are focused upon minority residents and designed to raise revenues for the city treasury.

    Why is the HPD not targeting the speeding vehicles and tire screechers that have plagued our neighborhood side streets for years?

    Where is the leadership of Karen Majewski on these issues as mayor? It doesn’t exist.

  5. Mark M. Koroi

    August 21, 2021 at 4:37 pm


    “Cant the city prosecutor just drop the charges against the person arrested?”

    Yes, absolutely. As long as the City Attorney and defendant agree, they simply present the agreement to Judge Krot, who would then sign a dismissal order.

    The City Attorney may be skittish about doing that here because he may be wary about creating a clearer pathway for possible civil rights claims against the city due to the police actions being reported against Mr. Kobair.

    At the Special City Council Meeting on Wednesday, August 18th, both Yemeni-Americans sitting on the council – Messrs. Almasmari and Alsomiri – moved and seconded a resolution to “dismiss the arrest” of Mr. Khobair – but that motion was withdrawn, per the proposed meeting minutes on the city’s website. A separate motion to dismiss all civil infraction jaywalking tickets did pass unanimously, however. City Attorney James Allen was present at that meeting.

  6. Nasr Hussain

    August 22, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Thanks Mark. Hopefully Mr. Allen won’t turn it into an income stream. For $8,000 grant, the city might end up spending tens of thousands if not more in a potential lawsuit.

    One had hoped they’ve learned from the COBRA auto theft fiasco, but it doesn’t seem that’s the case.

  7. Mark M. Koroi

    August 22, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    Hamtramck has been compared by several attorneys to Ferguson, Missouri for its past use of its police agency personnel to focus investigations and enforcement upon minority residents to generate fines and revenue for its municipal operations:




    Eventually the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit over these practices – causing the City of Ferguson to enter into a consent decree:


    Traffic tickets, unjust arrests, and towing of vehicles were a hallmark of the conduct of City of Ferguson Police Department to raise revenue at the expense of minority residents.

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