Angry driver barricades photo-radar officer in vehicle

A Winnipeg man is facing charges after a photo enforcement officer was threatened and barricaded in his vehicle last week.

Around 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, a photo enforcement officer was tracking cars at McGregor Street and Anderson Avenue when a pickup truck drove into his photo-radar equipment, police said.

The driver then got out of the truck and swore at the officer, according to police.

The man drove off for a short time and then returned, parking his car against the driver's-side door of the photo-enforcement vehicle.

The officer was barricaded inside the car while the suspect threatened the officer, according to police.

"He initially stepped out of the vehicle, confronted the operator, started yelling out," said Const. Jason Michalyshen. "I think there was even at one point attempting to take pictures of this operator for whatever reason."

After a week-long investigation, police arrested a 49-year-old man on Thursday morning. He is now facing multiple charges including uttering threats and driving imprudently.

"Regardless of what members of the public think, whether they support the photo-enforcement program or not, this type of behavior will not be tolerated," said Michalyshen.

The man has been released on a promise to appear in court.

Const. Ray Howes, who oversees the police service's photo enforcement unit, says while such incidents don't happen everyday, officers sometimes have to put up with abuse from drivers.

"Flipping them the bird or honking at them as they go by, and it's not usually a friendly wave or whatnot," he told CBC News.

"The odd occasion, you have a Slurpee cup or a drink cup thrown at the vehicle. Some might even spit on the vehicles as they're going by."

Howes said while photo enforcement officers may be unpopular with the public, they are just doing their jobs.

As long as motorists don't speed, photo enforcement should never be an issue for them, he added.

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