CAMROSE, Alta. — An easy-going dude from Camrose, Alta., is racking up impressive views on Facebook with his good-natured rant against the young Edmonton police officer who gave him a $465 ticket for having a cracked driver's licence.
Dave Balay — or "Handsome Dave'' as the self-proclaimed motorcycle enthusiast fashions himself on Facebook — posted a video of his story Friday and by late evening had already had 453,000 people check in to hear his tale of woe.
Balay says he was driving home this week when two police cruisers pulled him over on an Edmonton freeway, apparently after they'd received a call saying he had swerved on the highway.
He says he thinks the officers suspected he was impaired. A police helicopter was even called in.
"All of a sudden, there's four policemen around me,'' he explains in his video, adding he had his seat belt on and had "no outstanding warrants" so thought everything would be fine.
In his version of events, he politely produced his licence and registration while the officers grilled him.
"'You been drinking?' No. "You on any drugs?' No, well, I won't mention Cialis to him," says Balay, referring to the erectile dysfunction medication. ''So they go and find out everything's all good."
But Balay says while one officer was his age — "he's cool'' — the other was a young guy who Balay implies had a bit of an attitude.
"I've probably got a sports jacket in my closet older than him,'' he cracks, adding he and the older officer briefly discussed the younger officer's apparent concern.
"'A mutilated licence! I didn't even know there was such a thing.'"
"Well, that's good he takes his job seriously," offers Balay. "That's awesome. I'm glad.''
Or at least it is until the officer tells Balay he's going to give him a ticket for having a mutilated driver's licence, all because the document has a small cut on the top corner.
"I say, 'a mutilated licence! I didn't even know there was such a thing.'"
Dave Balay shows the tear in the top corner of his driver's licence. (Photo: Dave Balay/Facebook)
At first, Balay says he wasn't that concerned, figuring "it's not going to be that much.'' But his attitude changed when he read the ticket and saw it was for $465.
"I'm not paying it,'' says Balay. "I'm going to go to the Crown prosecutor. He can either toss it out and I will get a new licence that doesn't have any crack on it, or I will go to jail for the weekend or however long it takes to pay off 465 bucks, or I'll do community service. Serve some soup or fold some clothes — whatever.
"But I'm not working. I don't have $465.''
Police service standing by the officer
Media attention to Balay's video even prompted the Edmonton police service to issue a statement standing by their officer.
"Because of the observations of the witness, the officer had grounds to lay a careless driving charge under the Traffic Safety Act, which carries a penalty of $543 and six demerits,'' says the release.
"Upon speaking with the driver, who was cooperative, the officer used his discretion to issue a lesser fine for a cracked driver's licence under the Traffic Safety Act Section 61.''
The Edmonton police service is standing behind an officer who handed driver Dave Balay a $465 ticket for a cracked licence. (Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The release says police won't comment further and it will be up to the Crown and the courts to determine if the charge was warranted.
As for Balay, he says things could have been handled differently.
"You know what, policeman? You could just give me a warning and say, 'I could give you a ticket for that.' I think a warning would have been fine,'' he says, ending his video with a big smile.
"Way to go, Constable Whatever-The-Heck-Your-Name-Is! Nicely done!"