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Coalition urges city to halt vehicle impounds, ticketing

Thomas O'Neil-White

A local coalition is petitioning the City of Buffalo to pull back the reins on traffic and parking ticketing after finding the city is still aggressively impounding cars.

The Fair Fines and Fees Coalition says the aggressive ticketing is compounding the financial hardships for lower income communities and communities of color, who are disproportionately feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coalition said over half of the 90 impounds came from the C and E Districts, where many residents are of low income and the majority are people of color. These are neighborhoods the coalition says are already overpoliced and the inability to pay fines puts an undue burden on people already in dire financial straits.

Taking away someone’s ability to drive, the petition said, hampers their ability to get to and from work and if they are deemed essential, procuring rides from friends and family violates social distancing statutes.

The City of Buffalo has put a hold on ticketing specific traffic offense but the coalition is asking for a bolder approach and to institute policies larger cities like Detroit, Los Angeles and Chicago have implemented during the pandemic.

In addition to placing a moratorium on towing, impounds and low level traffic and parking tickets, the coalition is urging the city to forgive all outstanding parking and traffic tickets, and the related fees.

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