Man fined $175 for removing seatbelt to give money to officer dressed as panhandler

By Daniel Uria

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REGINA, Saskatchewan, June 10 (UPI) -- A Canadian man was ticketed for removing his seatbelt in traffic while attempting to give money to an undercover cop he mistook for a panhandler.

Dane Rusk was fined $175 for unbuckling his seatbelt when he attempted to give $3 in change to a man that appeared to be a panhandler while leaving a mall in Regina.


"As I came up to the stop sign, I stopped and looked and I saw this homeless guy holding a sign. I instantly felt sorry for him," Rusk told CTV News. "I reached out – I had to undo my seatbelt, hang over and drop the change on the curb."

Shortly after dropping the change Rusk said he put his seatbelt back on and continued down the street where he was pulled over by police.

"I noticed that a little ways up there was a cop. The police officer came up behind me and pulled me over and told me I was getting a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt," Rusk told Global News of the incident.

Regina police inspector Evan Bray said that the officer was placed in the area as part of a "random intersection project" meant to watch for traffic violations.


"Intersections are probably one of the most critical areas when it comes to accidents obviously, and our high-volume intersections are ones that we tend to target," he said.

Rusk said the situation felt like entrapment, as he simply believed he was helping out a panhandler.

"I'm quite upset, I thought I was doing a good deed," he said.

Bray insisted that the disguise was not intended to make the officer look like a homeless person or to solicit money from drivers.

"I wouldn't say he was posing as a homeless person," Bray said. "He was dressed in plain clothes and he did have a sign. The sign read 'I'm not broke, I'm not hungry, have a great day.'"

Despite the stated intention of the project, Rusk still felt wronged by the encounter and intends to fight the ticket.

"The ticket's $175 and the three dollars I gave to him – I'm out $178 all because I was trying to help out a homeless guy," he said.

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