Man ticketed for holding sign warning drivers of DUI checkpoint

PARMA, OH (WOIO) - Freedom of speech or obstruction of justice? There is controversy stemming over a sign held by Parma resident Doug Odolecki as he stood on the sidewalk. His camera was rolling last Friday night near Brookpark and State roads, less than a mile from a DUI checkpoint.

"It's an issue of freedom of speech for me because they wanted to make me take down my sign. They're trying to tell me that certain words on my sign are not proper," said Doug Odolecki.

In the video, you can hear officers ask several times for Odolecki to remove the sign that reads "Check point ahead turn now"

"They're not going after DUI's anymore. They're going after everything else," said Odolecki.

Odolecki was issued a ticket and forced to hand over his sign.

Parma Police tell us they can't get into the details of the pending case but a Sergeant told me that Odolecki was obstructing officers ability to do their job. They also said that the issue was with the part of the sign that said "turn now."

Odolecki has an attorney who's working for free.

"He's not in the street. He's not doing anything at all to physically interfere or impair the police ability to conduct their checkpoint at the checkpoint site. It's absolutely free speech under the first amendment," said Attorney John Gold.

"They could be out patrolling the streets and be a hell of a lot more effective It's not worth the millions of dollars of tax revenue they're spending," said Odolecki.

Odolecki says he has no plans on putting the brakes on warning drivers in the future.

"I'll absolutely do it again. I'll be out at the next checkpoint with another sign," he said.

By law police have to let residents know a week before a drunk driving checkpoint begins. A few hours before its set up they have to reveal the location and times.

Police arrested one person for DUI that night. Odolecki will be in court next week. He could get up to 90 days in jail and pay up to a $700 fine.

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