PigSpotter still tweeting speed traps

2010-09-16 14:13
Cape Town - While Johannesburg motorists will no longer receive information regarding the location of police roadblocks from Twitter’s renegade PigSpotter, he still tweets the whereabouts of mobile speed trap cameras.

On Wednesday, PigSpotter, also known as Cliff, made a public promise on Talk Radio 702’s Kieno Kammies show that he will no longer tweet the position of roadblocks.

In exchange, he will be given a weekly slot on Kammies’s show to discuss police corruption.

This promise, however, did not extend to divulging information regarding mobile speed traps to his more than 10 000 followers.

Misunderstanding

“There's a permanent pork rash stuck on coleraine towards rivonia trapping criminals freeflowing downhill,” reads one of his latest tweets.

Another states: “Lonely copper taking pics on William Nicol next to VW dealership behind Bryanston High School.”

Cliff uses the analogy of a pig when referring to metro officers, using such words as “bacon”, “pork strips” or “Kermit's fat lady”.
 
Cliff shot down media claims that he went back on his promise to stop tweeting. According to his Twitter page, he only promised to stop roadblock reporting. “I am NOT stopping. Only not reporting on roadblocks as promised,” he wrote.

Another of his tweets stated: “Only stopping roadblock reports. The rest remains.

“Still reporting speed traps, traffic congestions and still using pork products as references.”

Asked if he had any comment regarding this misunderstanding, he responded “no”.

Legality


There also seems to be some confusion regarding the legality of his actions.

Johannesburg Metro Police told News24 on Wednesday that they were determined to arrest PigSpotter. “He will be arrested even if he stops tweeting now,” said metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar. “He can be charged with obstructing or defeating justice."

According to a web.tech.law article there is a basis for the argument that PigSpotter’s actions are illegal as it may an offence if a “person wilfully obstructs or hinders an authorised officer who is discharging his or her duties”.

On the other hand, the article claims that “there are freedom of expression considerations which come into the mix”.

“In this case PigSpotter's right to express himself through tweets about police road blocks and traps would be weighed up against the importance of curbing traffic offences, many of which endanger other motorists' or pedestrians' personal safety,” said web.tech.law.

A Johannesburg lawyer, Faan Coetzee, told Beeld that he did not think there were any grounds on which to charge PigSpotter.

"If he only made people aware of where speed traps and road blocks were, he could say that he was helping prevent people from speeding. I don't think it is illegal."

Other PigSpotters

Inspired by PigSpotter in Johannesburg, similar Twitter accounts have been created in KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town. However, PigSpotter_KZN and PigSpotterCPT have been quiet since Cliff made waves yesterday.

According to PigSpotter's bio, he “expose(s) where cops are hiding, trapping and roadblocking daily… Watch this space”.

His followers grew from 6 581 on Wednesday afternoon to 10 401 on Thursday morning.

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