Oct 25th 2018

If you’ve ever owned and driven a car in the city of Chicago, chances are that you’ve gotten tickets or your car has been towed for any number of violations: turning illegally on red, not having a city sticker or overstaying a parking meter. Nobody likes getting tickets because they can be expensive and they can pile up, but are these tickets being fairly issued in the first place? And what happens when you don’t, or can’t, pay?

For the past year, ProPublica Illinois reporter Melissa Sanchez has been investigating the impact of vehicle tickets on Chicago residents. Here’s what she found: thousands of Black drivers are filing for bankruptcy in order to cope with the consequences of Chicago ticket debt. Another investigation, in partnership with WBEZ’s Elliott Ramos, found that the city’s 2011 decision to increase the price of what was already one of the most expensive vehicle tickets — not having a city sticker — has led to massive debt for drivers, but not much more revenue for the city.

We’d like to talk about our ongoing investigation into Chicago’s ticketing apparatus and to learn from your experiences to inform our future reporting.
· How have your experiences with ticketing differed by neighborhood?
· Do you think there is anything unusual about the way police ticket in your neighborhood?
· Have you ever felt trapped by ticket debt?
· Has ticket debt and the consequences — including license suspension or car seizure — affected your ability to find work?

We’re particularly interested in hearing about your experiences with towing, debt collection and camera tickets.

Note: We are not offering expert or legal advice. We are journalists; this event is informed by our reporting.

This event is part of City Bureau’s #PublicNewsroom programming, a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.

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