FRISCO, Texas — Ron Martin argues he has a First Amendment right to warn drivers of a police speed trap in his community after officers arrested him for violating the city’s sign ordinance.
Officers handcuffed Martin along Eldorado Parkway near Preston Road last October for holding a sign that alerted drivers to a speed trap nearby.
"I observed a couple cars drive by traveling westbound waving at us,” the police officer wrote in Martin’s arrest report. “Mr. Martin was observed standing in the center median of the six-lane divided roadway ... holding a sign in his right hand up over his shoulders that read 'Police Ahead.'"
When two officers left the enforcement area and drove over to Martin, he pulled out his mobile phone and used it to record his own arrest.
Martin told News 8 that he is not opposed to speed traps.
“Absolutely not,” Martin said. “I think it’s absolutely important for officers to be on the streets and enforce laws.”
On Wednesday afternoon, he made his first court appearance on the misdemeanor charge.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to do the exact same thing,” Martin insisted. “I just don’t wear a uniform. I’m the same thing as a speed limit sign, just reminding people that there is a limit here."
Martin said he wants people to drive more slowly through his community.
Still, Frisco police cited him for violating the city's sign ordinance, which says the person holding a sign has to be on private property.
Martin was in the median.
But argues that Frisco’s ordinance doesn’t apply to him since he’s not a business.
Officially, the police department said it will not address this case publicly until the courts are finished with it.
Martin has pleaded not guilty and asked for a February 21 trial date in Municipal Court.
Frisco police said its officers have seen Martin holding signs at least twice before, but other cities already warn drivers of traffic enforcement, he said.
The issue is bigger than a simple sign along a busy road, Martin insisted — it’s free speech.
But convincing a court of that is another story.