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YouTube video of Garden City cop threatening to ticket man for washing car in driveway goes viral
A mobile phone video of a Garden City police officer threatening to ticket a man for washing his car in the driveway of his home last month has gotten more than a half million views on YouTube.
Jonathan Schmidt, 24, of Garden City, was inside his Hawthorne Road home, which his grandmother owns, while his longtime friend, Peter Bueno, was in the driveway getting ready to detail a 1997 Volkswagen Golf he had recently purchased.
Bueno, 22, also of Garden City, said he hadn’t even turned on the hose when a Garden City patrol car pulled up and a village police officer told him he was about to break a village law. Bueno immediately went inside to get Schmidt, who grabbed his phone and started rolling.
“Is there a problem?” Bueno is heard asking the officer in the 3-minute, 28-second video, which had more than 540,000 views on YouTube as of 5 p.m. Thursday. The incident took place on Nov. 27 and the video was uploaded the same day.
“The problem being, your neighbor doesn’t like you,” the officer responds.
When Schmidt tells him, “That’s not my fault,” the officer replies, “It is when he starts calling about things being done that goes against a village ordinance … such as doing any kind of detailing here like washing the car and things like that. You’re not allowed to do it.”
The officer then produced a printed copy of the ordinance, saying, “I don’t make this ---- up.”
But after reading the ordinance, which states that motor vehicles cannot be washed on “any public street, highway or public place,” Schmidt and Bueno insist they weren’t disobeying the law because the driveway is on private property.
“It’s still in public view,” the officer retorts, warning them that they will be ticketed if they proceed to wash the car.
A spokesperson for Garden City police did not return requests for comment, but Village Clerk Brian Ridgway said the ordinance only prohibits car washing on public streets, not private driveways.
Schmidt and Bueno waited for the police to leave and washed the car minutes later.
Schmidt and Bueno have had a previous brush with Garden City police. They were arrested in 2009 for graffiti. Schmidt paid “reparations” and Bueno served three years probation.
“We were young and stupid,” Bueno said.
Since posting the video, Schmidt said cops have stopped by his home on numerous occasions as the duo continues to work on the car -- but no tickets have been issued.
“Every time they come, the next time they’re a little bit nicer,” Schmidt said. “Maybe they saw [the video] and assume we’re recording every time. It’s a shame when you have to record to be treated the way you should be.”
Readers on mobile devices can view the video at http://bit.ly/1bVM6FK.