Tag Archive for police behaving badly

Morning Links: LAPD cop charged in beating of bike rider, Biking While Black in FL, and Facebook bike drama

An LAPD officer has been charged with assault in the October beating of a South LA bike rider.

Twenty-two-year old Clinton Alford, Jr. fled from officers when they tried to stop him because he allegedly matched the description of a robbery suspect.

According to Alford, he ran when someone grabbed the back of his bike because the officers failed to identify themselves, and he only became aware of who they were when he was being held down and handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

After all, why would anyone look back to see who was chasing him as he fled for his life?

It was while he was face down trying to surrender that LAPD officer Richard Garcia allegedly kicked him in the head, repeatedly, in an attack that was captured on a nearby security camera. Police say they have no intention of releasing the video, despite the demands of Alford’s lawyer for it to be made public.

According to KTLA-5, he was kicked so hard he lost a filling from his teeth; other officers at the scene called the attack horrific, describing it as like someone kicking a field goal, with Alford’s head as the ball.

Garcia has entered a not guilty plea. He faces up to three years in jail if he’s convicted.

The LA Times reports three other officers and a sergeant have been relieved of duty and assigned to their homes while the investigation continues.

All charges against Alford, for possession and resisting arrest, have been dropped.

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Shameful.

Fifty years after Selma, people are still ticketed for Bicycling While Black, as eight out of ten of the 2,504 bike tickets written in Tampa FL in the last three years — more than Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined — went to African American residents.

Seriously, it’s long past time this country put this kind of crap behind us. No one should face fear for riding a bike, especially not from police.

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KCBS-2 offers a good report on Sunday’s Finish the Ride; for a change, someone in the media actually seems to get it.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers an update on the current status of hit-and-run, saying we’ve made progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

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Major Facebook drama, as an apparent cyclist fires back after Burbank racer Troy Templin posted a photo of a BMW that he says nearly ran him over because, as he claims the driver said, “you were in my way.”

Someone identifying himself as Peter Richardson professed to tell his version of what really happened, claiming Templin “committed multiple acts of violence” simply because the woman honked to let him know she was there, and he had to be run off by a security guard when he wouldn’t let her exit the car. He even includes stills from a security camera to support his claims.

However, the view in the photos is so distant it could show anyone, and it’s impossible to tell from them what may or may not be happening.

And as a commenter to Richardson’s post points out, the photos on his Facebook page were lifted from other websites, raising questions as to whether he actually exists, or if the persona was created simply to go after Templin in retaliation for the photo.

It is curious that his timeline only goes back to April 15th, two weeks after the original photo was posted online.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

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Local

The Times belatedly catches up with the news that the proposed California helmet law has been converted to a study of helmet use by the CHP and the state Office of Traffic Safety; BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein offers his take on it.

The Daily News lists bicycling as one of the top five eco-friendly ways to get around in LA, while Slate asks if LA can sell the myth of a green, sustainable city.

Alhambra police bust a thief who tried to escape with one of their own bikes on Sunday; the apparently remorseful man wrote of letter of apology from his jail cell.

 

State

A 24-year old San Jose woman is under arrest for slamming into a Miltipas bike rider who was standing on the sidewalk, then crashing into a mini-golf course before fleeing in another car.

An elderly Palo Alto woman was seriously injured in a collision with a cyclist; the rider was coming around a blind curve at speed when he ran into the woman as she crossed the street.

A San Francisco cyclist was seriously injured when he was deliberately rammed by an Uber driver following a violent road rage dispute in which he reportedly pounded on the driver’s car and pushed its mirror in. Seriously, I’m as hot tempered as anyone, but resorting to violence only makes things worse.

Marin County’s new bicycling museum will open this June; maybe they’ll include one of those rental bikes that Sausalito councilmember wants to get rid of.

 

National

A new study shows drivers are more likely to ignore crosswalks at speeds over 30 mph. I wonder what a similar study would have to say about bike lanes and sharrows.

An Anchorage cyclist says ride defensively, because your life may depend on it; good advice anywhere.

If cops in my hometown are reluctant to ticket cyclists because they feel bad about writing tickets that can reach $170 including fees, imagine how the riders feel about getting them.

Minnesota researchers determine that bike lane density — the measure of bike lanes within a given area — matters more than connectivity when it comes to encouraging ridership.

A Knoxville TN bicyclist suffers multiple non-life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by an SUV, but the only thing a local TV station seems to care about is his lack of a helmet.

Mashable looks at a decade of ghost bikes, while New Yorkers conduct the 10th Annual Ghost Bike Memorial Ride, visiting some of the 150 memorials to people who have lost their lives riding in the city.

Just like countless bicyclists everywhere, Shreveport bike riders says motorists need to be more aware of cyclists and the laws governing bikes. Especially the requirement to ride in the street where sidewalk riding is illegal — and the right to do so everywhere else.

 

International

Vancouver’s Van City Buzz gets it right, saying the media’s focus on shiny new safety gadgets is no substitute for proven safety measures like traffic calming and an effective bicycle infrastructure network.

Guardian readers relate their heart-stopping near-misses on the road; unfortunately, that’s something we can all relate to. Meanwhile, hundreds of people turn out for a vigil demanding a stop to killing cyclists; even so, Britain’s Labour Party may be backpedalling in its support for bicycling.

A soccer player is killed when a train smashes into on of those pedal-powered multi-passenger beer bikes in The Netherlands.

Turkey’s president rides through Istanbul to kick off the country’s 51st Presidential Tour of Turkey; he promised to make the city more bike friendly, while saying they “couldn’t manage to make people love the bicycle.”

A road raging Aussie driver hits a woman participating in a charity ride, then drives off with the mangled bike still trapped under her car.

Taking ciclovía to the next level, as one neighborhood in a Korean city bans cars from the streets for a full month.

 

Finally…

Now you can wear matching outfits when you ride with your dog. A word of advice: don’t try to use a mountain bike as a getaway vehicle if you can’t manage to ride it.

And a Portland BMX rider could be facing an expensive bill after riding over a parked $350,000 Lamborghini; the owner says he’s getting estimates to repair damage to the windshield.

Unless it’s all a publicity stunt, of course.

 

Stupid human tricks: Hit-and-run triathlete, assault on a cyclist, and confused SF and NYC cops and DAs

Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a common theme to much of this week’s news.

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A Chicago cyclist is injured in a deliberate assault, as a passenger in a passing SUV reaches out and grabs her messenger bag, dragging her alongside the vehicle until her bike crashed into a parked car.

Evidently, just for the heck it, as she reported that the occupants were laughing as they risked her life.

Fortunately, she wasn’t badly hurt. But it’s another argument for protected bike lanes as she was quick to point out.

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Following the death of a San Francisco bicyclist, members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition held a rally calling for improved safety and a separated bike lane on the street where she was right hooked by a truck driver who illegally turned across the bike lane she was riding in.

Evidently, one of San Francisco’s finest didn’t get the memo.

He illegally parked his patrol car in the middle of the bike lane, in the middle of the rally — despite an empty parking space to his right — forcing riders to leave the bike lane to go around his car. All to make a point that bike riders are supposed to pass on the left, just like anyone else.

Except they aren’t. Bikes are allowed to split lanes in California. And cyclists using a bike lane are in a separate lane from automotive traffic, and are no more required to stop for traffic in the lane next to them than a driver in the right lane would be expected to stop for one in the left.

Which isn’t to say it’s not the smartest move in response to clueless drivers sometimes.

Better to come to a full stop even though the law doesn’t require it than end up under the wheels of a car or truck.

And he blamed the death of Amelie Le Moullac, and two other bike riders killed by trucks in the same area this year, strictly on the victims. Even though the truck driver who killed Le Moullac was most likely overtaking her, rather than the other way around.

So he took the law into his own hands, apparently making the law up as he went along and needlessly risking the safety of anyone using that bike lane, just to blame the victim of a collision that’s still under investigation and attempting to bully bike riders into seeing the world through his own windshield perspective.

Sound about right?

If he’s not working a desk and worrying about his pension today, there’s something seriously wrong in Baghdad by the Bay.

Thanks to murphstahoe and Bike Soup USA for the heads-up.

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Thankfully, not all San Francisco cops have their heads so far up their own badges, as the department responded to a tweet from a tipster to bust a bike chop shop.

And speaking of bike thieves, a San Francisco resident noticed one riding off on a stolen bike. And promptly nailed him with an ice cube from his third floor apartment.

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In a case of someone who really should have known better, a well-known San Francisco triathlete has been arrested for the hit-and-run that left a Bay Area business suffering from the after effects of a severe brain injury.

Ironman champion Meredith Kessler was allegedly driving the SUV that ran into Soren Krogh-Jensen as he walked in a crosswalk last March, tossing him into the air before crashing back down ob his head. Security video shows her remaining at the scene for several minutes, reportedly checking the victim before getting back in her car and running away like just another heartless coward.

You’d expect better behavior from someone who rides a bike, especially at that level.

At least, I would.

Then again, instant karma seems to have played a role, as Kessler suffered a head injury herself in a collision with another rider while competing in a triathlon that followed the hit-and-run.

And yes, I know karma doesn’t really work that way.

But still.

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On the opposite coast, a New York City cop decides to ticket a bike rider for going through a red light by knocking her off her bike, apparently failing to realize — or perhaps not caring — that any fall from a bike can result in serious injury.

Or worse.

That’s like deliberately crashing into a driver’s vehicle in order to make a simple traffic stop. Or pistol whipping a pedestrian for jaywalking.

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Update: Thanks to Joe B for pointing out that the case below actually dates to 2009. For some reason it popped up in a web search for stories posted online in the previous 24 hours, and I neglected to check the date before writing this. So the good news is, maybe today’s New York isn’t as bad as it seems; or maybe the bad news is, this sort of thing has been going on longer than we thought. 

Or maybe I just need to avoid posting my own stories after 1 am. My apologies.

In another example of the sheer idiocy of officials in supposedly bike-friendly New York, a rider faces a charge of criminal mischief after he was deliberately doored by the driver of a massive SUV.

The vehicle was stopped partially blocking a protected bike lane with no indication of why it was stopped; but when the rider attempted to go around it, it started moving again.

So the cyclist responded by slapping the side of the SUV to warn the driver he was there; I’ve done the same thing more than once, and seen other cyclists do it as well.

It usually scares the crap out of the driver, but it’s better than getting run over by someone who doesn’t even know you’re there.

But I’ve never seen anyone respond the way this driver did, flinging open his door into the victim and knocking him off his bike. Then standing over him threateningly before picking up the man’s bike and setting it on the kickstand and driving away.

Leave it to the New York DA’s office to victimize the victim all over again, apparently for that potentially life-saving tap on the driver’s door.

According to the story, criminal mischief requires property damage in excess of $250 — which is far more likely to have been caused by the door hitting the rider than the other way around.

And this from the city Bicycling ranks as the 7th most bike-friendly community in the US.

Maybe the New York DA’s office didn’t get the memo, either.

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In another horrifying case from Gotham City, a taxi driver took the leg — or possibly legs — of an English tourist after an apparent dispute with a bike rider.

And Dr. Oz came running to the rescue.

The bike rider, who was injured in the incident, was next to the cab when the driver allegedly became impatient while attempting to make a left turn. When the rider attempted to tell him to stop, the cabbie reportedly became angry and stepped on the gas, tossing the cyclist onto his hood before slamming into the woman who was sitting on a piece of concrete street furniture.

Her life was apparently saved by a bystander who had the presence of mind to use his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on her severed leg, while another put the amputated limb on ice. Reports are her other foot was crushed and may not be able to be saved.

TV’s Dr. Oz reportedly saw the collision from his studio window, and came down to help, followed by a camera crew.

Needless to say, the NYPD seems to have ignored everything leading up to the crash and quickly determined there was no criminality involved. Not an impatient, careless or road raging driver, but just another tragic oops.

Fortunately, the city’s DA — yes, the same ones who charged the cyclist in the previous story — is taking another look at it. And the agency responsible for licensing cab drivers is taking steps to revoke the driver’s taxi license for a whopping 30 days; although under the circumstances, life would seem more appropriate.

Meanwhile, advocates are trying to get the NYPD to take traffic crime seriously, instead of just targeting bike riders while ignoring speeding motorists.

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A Florida detective makes a U-turn without checking his mirror, and collides with a driver in the next lane. But of course, it’s the stop sign-running bike rider who gets the blame.

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A British mom gives her hockey playing son a new BMW because she thought it was too dangerous to ride his bike to work.

Forty-two days later, he was killed driving his new car.

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Newport Beach’s highway-style right turn lanes put cyclists and pedestrians at needless risk. Actually, these are far too common throughout Orange County as well as San Diego County; another example of well-meaning but outdated planning gone dangerously amuck.

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But at least the Tour de France was dope-free this year. Right?

Although now that I think about it, I remember the same being said about Lance in the not too distant past.

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Finally, here’s the story I wrote for LA Streetsblog as guest editor yesterday, reporting on the new Save Our Streets LA proposal to repave the city’s crumbling streets.

And hopefully fix the sidewalks and install bikeways and build complete streets in the process.

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