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Photo-radar bird flipper personally served ticket: Cops say he wasn't targeted

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In February, we introduced you to Dan (no last name, please), who so loathes photo radar that he purposefully sped past a van to get a ticket showing him flipping a bird. No, he didn't pay the citation, but when he returned home the other day, a process server was waiting for him, making him wonder if he'd been singled out for his demonstration of displeasure. Was he? Denver police say no.

Here's a more complete look at the original citation Dan shared with us:

Was Dan courting trouble by not responding to this notice by mailing in a check? Not according to an April 2011 Fox 31 report by correspondent Heidi Hemmat that Denver police cited in a Twitter survey a full six months later. In the text version of the story, Hemmat noted that "according to Colorado State Statute 42-4-110.5, photo radar tickets are not valid unless it is personally served, and that means physically handed to you."

This is precisely what happened to Dan earlier this week. "I came home from work, and the city had a process server waiting for me in my condo parking lot," he says.

Dan was handed two penalty assessment notices -- one from January 23 and another dated February 5. Which got him thinking.

"I'm curious about whether this is an isolated incident," he says. "And if it is an isolated incident, is the city targeting people who speak out about this?"

Absolutely not, says Detective Raquel Lopez, a Denver Police Department spokeswoman. She says the City of Denver contracts with a private company to deal with photo-radar scofflaws. "If you receive a ticket and fail to pay, the contractor serves the ticket."

Moreover, she continues, "it doesn't matter if you received one ticket or ten tickets. They serve anyone who fails to pay a ticket."

As for the theory that people don't have to pay a photo-radar ticket if it's not delivered in person, Lopez sees the approach as merely delaying the inevitable. "If they don't pay, that's when the servers will come and serve you. And then if the person fails to pay, it goes through the courts and then to collections. So you have to pay."

Given this policy, she adds, Dan's public bird-flipping wasn't a factor in his being served. Besides, she says, "I'm sure he's not the only person to have ever done that."

Hard to argue with that logic.

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More from our Follow That Story archive: "Red light photo tickets for crossing stop line should start with warning, councilwoman says."

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