Imagine you go to pay your traffic fine online only to find out the site given to you by the cops is actually an online store selling MAGA merch designed to support former President Donald Trump’s “make America great again” slogan. That’s exactly what happened to residents of Miami Beach. Rolling Stone reports that local police gave out flyers to pay traffic fines online with a link that lead to an online store selling MAGA merchandise.
Police across Miami-Dade county were given flyers to hand out to the public with instructions on how to pay their traffic fines online. They were all supposed to be printed with the correct link of miami-dadeclerk.com. But for some reason, Miami Beach police had other ideas and decided to make their own versions of the flyer with the wrong URL. It’s not known how long the flyers were in circulation before the mistake was caught or how the address got changed, though I have an idea. From Rolling Stone:
The fliers were in circulation until last week. It’s unclear how long they were being distributed or how many drivers received them. The original, correct flier was sent to police across the county for distribution in May 2020, a court spokesperson told the Herald. But Miami Beach police “produced its own version of the notices and the error was inserted at some point during the printing process,” the paper notes, citing Miami Beach police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez.
When users wanting to pay their fines typed in the address, they were redirected to a rather sketchy-looking site called findsale.com, which has items for sale with links to Amazon. If you went down the rabbit hole from there, you would see MAGA items listed for sale with some of the classic hits, some weird ones and some new ones: “Trump 2024” flags, weird DVDs titled “World After Trump” and “Trump, Prophecy, Globalism.” Even new stuff like Hillary Belongs in Prison, Joe Belongs in a Nursing Home.”
While new flyers with the correct address are being made, the president of the Miami Beach police union, Paul Ozaeta, made a rather convenient excuse as to why none of the officers checked whether or not the links were correct:
Most officers don’t sit there and say, ‘Let me make sure all of the links are right. If they say hand them out, you hand them out.
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I’d hope someone decides to keep an eye on that in the future.