A screenshot of the Facebook post of a story in the satirical news website New Maine News. Credit: newmainenews.com

An Oakland police officer said he got a laugh when a local allegedly cited a satirical news website as a defense after getting pulled over.

“While heading up towards one of our schools in the distinctive black and white cruiser I see a young man I’m familiar with in a souped up truck,” wrote Sgt. Tracey Frost, a school resource officer, in a post on the department’s Facebook page. “We make eye contact, and then he proceeds to spin his tires. This makes that familiar screech and smoke that just makes my skin crawl.”

Frost pulled the alleged perpetrator over, but wrote that “the young man proudly exclaim[ed] ‘You can’t do anything about it anymore.’

“He then goes on to explain to me that the Maine Supreme Court ruled yesterday that burning your tires is now protected free speech,” Frost continued, in part. “He goes on to explain that it was on the news, and internet.”

The tire spinner then allegedly showed the police officer the story in question on his smartphone, which was posted on New Maine News, a satirical news website similar to The Onion, but with a local theme.

One New Maine News headline, for example, reads: “Line between real and fake Maine news increasingly blurred, says magic 8-foot-tall talking lobster.”

Frost was familiar with the website and said he got a hearty chuckle when it was being thrown in his face as a defense. The officer later told the Boston Globe he didn’t issue a ticket for the offense, choosing instead to let the young man off with a warning and an impromptu lesson about checking the authenticity of news articles online.

“I figured the amount of kids who are going to pick on him at the high school about it was either equal or worse to giving him a summons,” Frost told the Globe.

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Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.