Could I set up a court date. Tell the judge my side of the story and hopefully get it reduced ? Represent my self.
You should hire a lawyer. That said, if you want to represent yourself, you should call the court. Likely, you'll have two options; one will be a formal hearing where you will go before a magistrate. The ticket can be reduced or you may wind up just being found responsible for the offense. The other option is to set it for a formal hearing. First you will meet with the city attorney. The city attorney may offer you a reduction and maybe they won't. If you don't work out a "deal" and appear before the judge, you will have to present your case to the judge. The city attorney will have the officer testify. The odds are not in your favor.