Jericho, Arkansas: Pay Your Ticket Or Get Shot

There are many small-town speed traps across the country, but Jericho, Arkansas may be one of the most outrageous speed traps out there.

A big reason why speed trap towns are able to stay in business for years is that they generally leave the locals alone. After all, if the tickets are going to out-of-towners, there’s no reason for the local citizens to be upset.

In that scenario, the town and its citizens benefit from the extra money generated by the tickets. Meanwhile, the out-of-towners who get the unfair tickets are unable to vote the city’s leaders out of office and unlikely to complain — due to the hassle of driving back to the small town to fight a ticket.

The police department in Jericho, Arkansas decided to ignore this reality and treated even the locals with disdain. Now, thanks to their greed, the speed trap has been exposed in the national media.

In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, here’s an excerpt from the Associated Press story on MSNBC:

It was just too much, having to return to court twice on the same day to contest yet another traffic ticket, and Fire Chief Don Payne didn’t hesitate to tell the judge what he thought of the police and their speed traps.

The response from cops? They shot him. Right there in court.

Payne ended up in the hospital, but his shooting last week brought to a boil simmering tensions between residents of this tiny former cotton city and their police force. […]

It was anger over traffic tickets that brought Payne to city hall last week, said his lawyer, Randy Fishman. After failing to get a traffic ticket dismissed on Aug. 27, police gave Payne or his son another ticket that day. Payne, 39, returned to court to vent his anger to Judge Tonya Alexander, Fishman said.

It’s unclear exactly what happened next, but Martin said an argument between Payne and the seven police officers who attended the hearing apparently escalated to a scuffle, ending when an officer shot Payne from behind.

This lead to a refreshingly honest and direct quote from a local sheriff’s office:

“You can’t even get them to answer a call because normally they’re writing tickets,” said Thomas Martin, chief investigator for the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re not providing a service to the citizens.”

The article also gives a bit of history on how the town became a speed trap:

Sheriff’s deputies patrolled Jericho until the 1990s, when the city received grant money to start its own police force, Martin said.

Police often camped out in the department’s two cruisers along the highway that runs through town, waiting for drivers who failed to slow down when they reached the 45 mph zone ringing Jericho. Residents say the ticketing got out of hand.

“When I first moved out here, they wrote me a ticket for going 58 mph in my driveway,” 75-year-old retiree Albert Beebe said.

The frequent ticketing apparently led to the vandalization of the cruisers, and the department took to parking the cars overnight at the sheriff’s office eight miles away.

The police force has been temporarily disbanded while the town is in the news, but there are signs that there may be more corruption beyond setting up a blatant speed trap:

Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies want to know where the money from the traffic fines went.

Martin said that it appeared the $150 tickets weren’t enough to protect the city’s finances. Sheriff’s deputies once had to repossess one of the town’s police cruisers for failure to pay on a lease, and the state Forestry Commission recently repossessed one of the city’s fire trucks because of nonpayment.

City hall has been shuttered since the shooting, and any records of how the money was spent are apparently locked inside. No one answered when a reporter knocked on the door on Tuesday.

If you haven’t already read the full story, check it out here.

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16 Responses to “Jericho, Arkansas: Pay Your Ticket Or Get Shot”

  1. Randy says:

    This is better. Finally someone keeping the streets safe.

  2. Randy says:

    By the way other Randy 2 get your own ID!!

    I did bring up the area in question on Google maps. This is a residential area with mailboxes across the road and a narrow road with either none or very poor center line. In other words 45 mph is plenty fast. If someone is not able to slow down on such a road they should not be driving.

    As for the shooting, no one writing the article was there to know exactly what happened. This is a normal article on this site. No facts but just headliines making up things. It sounded like to me from the minimal facts stated is that the person that was shot thought he was above the law and also could do anything in the courtroom.

    • Bill says:

      Maybe he thought he was above the law, but unless the police were convinced he had a weapon, shooting him in a closed area especially with other innocent bystanders nearby, is a recipe for disaster.

    • Randy says:

      Bill I am sure he did not mean to shoot the guy. If he had meant to shoot the guy he would not have also wounded the other officer unless there was a major fight. You were not there and I was not there so all you can do is guess which is a poor thing to do. I would also bet that the officer was a part time officer since it was such a small town.

    • George says:

      Cops shoot each other all the time.

    • Randy says:

      George it must be they all just need target practice. YOu are an idiot.

    • George says:

      Good luck getting your Tourette's syndrome under control. An armed society is a polite society.

      Why don't you bother looking something up?…

    • Randy says:

      There are hundreds of thousands of police. You find a few that shot each other. That is not what I would call cops shooting each other all the time. That is what I call very few and a very very very small fraction of a percent that shoot each other. There is a far larger percent of military personnel that shoot each other.

  3. Randall says:

    Crazy stuff. Yeah I mean if he got ticketed once you think he would slow down.

    But, i highly doubt the officer had a right to shoot the guy. The officer should be fired.

    In other news I found this article on fox news today about speed cameras and a guy wearing a monkey mask.,2933,548341,00.htm

  4. suzy says:

    protect and serve? where did you get that idea? the vast majority of the people who work in our government are liberals (the schools who are training your kids, the dmv, and, yes, the cops)who will stop at nothing to socialize our country. think i'm kidding; standby. it's about power, control and intimidation. like everything with them, they talk in euphemisms. to protect and serve in liberaleze means to arrest and convict.

    • Randy says:

      I have to disagree that the cops are liberals and thus making them arrest and convict you. They are doing their job if they arrest and convict people breaking the laws!!! If you do not break laws and treat officers with respect you do not get control and intimidation because there is no need. It is the liberals that say they have the right to break laws and can hurt someone else or take the liberties from someone else like life or freedom from injury.

    • George says:

      Suzy: protect and serve who is the important question.
      Arrest & Convict doesn't necessary mean they get the correct party.
      All they need is a checkmark.

  5. James says:

    The Police Officers in Jericho, Arkansas work hard keeping us safe in this small Town from Don Payne and Fred Gill, who are the two biggest Drug Dealers in this Town thats why they don't want Jericho Police Officers in this Town. The News personel comes here in our Town report and publish negative ads about the Police Department not reporting truth, why some residents don't want the Police Officers around; these people are dealing drugs in our Town. Did you report that Don Payne pointed his finger in the Lt. face and jump on the Police (Lt.) while in Court, in front of Judge, and City Attorney. Did you report that Don Payne Grabbed the Officer weapon while in Court. Crittenden County Sheriff Department and Others trying to keep an tight rope onto Jericho Police Department because they are growing and keeping Us safe from Don Payne, Fred Gill, and Others.

  6. john doe says:

    I know the true story behind this story and just so you know Don Payne is not the Fire Chief, He was the Assistant Fire Chief and not a very good one. Don was fired after this incident because he came back to the court after his son was pulled over again for driving without a license, there were only 3 or 4 people in court paying fines at the time and Don was asked to leave the court several times and when the officer had enough of telling him to leave they went to arrest him for obstruction of governmental operations for causing a disturbance in the court room, he tried to take one of the officers guns from his holster and they shot him.

    Honestly, Don thought he was above the Law. Prior to this Don was at a house party where a man jumped another man, beat him with a bat and left him bleeding and unconcious on the steps of the local church. This man was not found until the next morning by a passer by. Don was given a second chance to stay on the fire department even tho he should have been fired for 1. not calling the police at the time of the crime and 2 for not rendering assistance to a man who was beat with a bat and laying bloody in the street.

    I know everyone at the fire department and some of the folks on the police department and yes they gave alot of tickets BUT they were for more than doing 65 in a 45 they ticketed people for riding 4 wheelers on the main highway, drunk driving, driving wihtout insurance, drinking on the highway which is driving while drinking a beer and no seat belts. These men were out protecting it's citizens and trying to keeps the streets safe for folks to drive on cuz I've been hit by uninsured motorists and my insurance sky rocketed and I wasn't even at fault.

    Also the sheriff's office has it's own problems so they don't have much room to talk, they think they are above the law aswell but just do a better job of covering it up.

    so before you get on here thinking you know the whole storyfind out the truth then speak