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Harmless stroll turns into a citation and a long night

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 28, 2019

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Imagine getting a ticket for just walking down the street.

That's exactly what happened to Marcus Webster. During a snow storm, Webster was avoiding the snowed-over sidewalk by walking down East Avenue in Lockport. That's when a police officer stopped him and asked for Webster's identification. Webster refused.

"So why can't you identify yourself," an officer asked him.

Webster provided cellphone footage he took to 7 Eyewitness News.

"Because no disrespect to you. No disrespect to you. Because it's my legal right, officer. Because I haven't broken any laws," Webster said.

It's common to see someone walking on the road instead of the sidewalk when there is too much snow; however, that's illegal.

"You are not suppose to walk on the roadway," Lockport Police Chief, Steven Preisch, said.

It's one of those laws everyone breaks and often is overlooked like driving around a car making a left turn.

"People violate minor laws without even knowing it," Preisch said.

However, parts of the sidewalk may have actually been walkable. According to the police report, "(Webster) did state, "yes I see the sidewalk is clear and I am in the street," when asked by PO Barrancotta to explain the current state of the sidewalk."

The interaction between Webster and the officers was civil and polite both parties said.

However, Webster felt he never should have been pulled over in the first place.

"If I'm not doing anything wrong there's no reason for that," Webster said.

Chief Preisch stands by the fact that the officers approached Webster, but he wishes things went differently. The officer who took the lead is a rookie. He graduated from the academy on Feb. 20th. Preisch said that rookies are sometimes eager to make a statement and produce early results.

"I'd like to think an officer would stop to make an inquiry just to check on the person's well being. Just to make sure everything is okay," he said.

The police report says Webster was arrested once before by LPD.

Webster has a court date for next week. Unfortunately for him, he was from Virginia and returning home soon. Preisch said that he can't do anything about reversing the decision, so Webster will have to come back to Lockport to go to court.