Tag Archive for police violence

Morning Links: LAPD cop walks on bike rider beating, get paid to ride a bike, and how not to wash one

I’m not a fan of jailing cops.

As far as I’m concerned, police officers should be disciplined, retrained or fired. Except in the most egregious cases, where their actions go far beyond a mistake in judgment or failing to follow policy.

Like this one, for instance.

Because there’s something seriously wrong when an LAPD cop can kick a black bike rider in the head like he was lining up a field goal, and get away without spending a single day behind bars.

Despite a video recording of the beating Clinton Alford received after he fled from the cops, first on his bike, then on foot, Officer Richard Garcia got off with far less than a slap on the wrist.

Garcia pled no contest to felony assault in exchange for a sentence of 300 hours of community service and a paltry $500 fine to be paid an unnamed charity, along with two years probation. After which time he could have his conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.

Which is exactly what happened on Wednesday.

According to the LA Times, Garcia is on unpaid leave pending a disciplinary hearing that could result in a well-deserved firing.

However, that also means he could end up keeping his job. Which would just compound the incredible injustice in this case.

And disgrace all the officers who struggle to do the job right and win the trust of the people they serve.

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The free Biko app is now available in Los Angeles, as well as San Diego and San Francisco; the app allows riders to collect credits for each kilometer they ride, which can be redeemed at participating businesses and charities.

So where the hell was this when I was still riding a few hundred miles a week?

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A reminder to always pull over when you have five or more vehicles backed up behind you and unable to pass.

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Apparently, there’s a never-ending supply of sexist stupidity within the bike industry.

Never mind that women ride bikes, as well as fix them. And damn few dress like that to do it.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the image.

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Local

Nutcase Helmets features a ghost bike art display as part of LA’s Vision Zero Roscoe.

Eater looks at the newly re-opened Spoke Bicycle Café along the LA River bike path, offering an expanded menu including local craft beers and California wines.

USC’s popular Lil Bill’s bike repair shop has officially been given the boot despite a widespread student outcry to save it, thanks to a non-compete clause with a new bike shop opening in the soon-to-be-completed USC Village.

Pasadena wants developers to pay more to fund transportation improvements, including bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Brea invites you to check out the new Tracks at Brea shared use path this Saturday, complete with bike rodeo courtesy of Walk ‘n Rollers.

 

State

Republican legislators are complaining that Governor Brown is diverting gas tax funds for non-transportation projects, which fails to recognize that bike paths and public transportation are transportation projects.

Caltrans has adopted the California’s first statewide active transportation plan, calling for people of all ages to be able to comfortably walk and bike safely and conveniently by 2040. Now the question is whether they’ll actually follow through, or if it will sit on the shelf like most bike/ped plans do.

Bay Area bike riders are pushing back after Caltrans proposes improving safety at a dangerous intersection by banning bikes from one of the primary bike routes connecting the Pacific Coast side of San Francisco with the peninsula. Maybe that’s what Caltrans means by being able to walk and bike safely and comfortably — somewhere else.

The annual AIDS/LifeCycle will depart from San Francisco a week from Sunday, arriving in Los Angeles the following Saturday to raise funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

An Oakland bike rider gets a surprise bill for rear-ending a cop car nine months later, even though he was not ticketed and there was no apparent damage to the bike or patrol car at the time.

Sacramento is beginning a $1.7 million project to fix a deadly intersection, including better bike lanes and bike boxes.

 

National

A Seattle bicyclist says he’s okay, but it’s all those other bike riders who piss drivers off; a pair of anti-bike talk radio jocks use his letter to try to stir up a little controversy.

Salt Lake City will move forward with more bike lanes, but no more curb-protected lanes after complaints from merchants.

A Colorado woman says she learned about business by riding her mountain bike. Evidently, she failed to gain any major insights. Or stock tips, for that matter.

Colorado will try out a trio of tech concepts submitted in response to a competition to come up with safety solutions for bicyclists and pedestrians, including lighted bike lanes and an LED light that follows as a rider approaches an intersection.

The founder of both Colorado’s Oskar Blues craft brewery and a handmade bike maker offers his tips on mountain biking.

Houston is just the latest city where police have set up safe bike passing stings using an ultrasound device that measures an exact three-foot passing distance. Now if only we could get the LAPD, LASD and CHP to give it a try.

This is the cost of traffic violence. Relatives of a San Antonio TX bike rider are struggling to find answers after he was left to die in the street by a pair of hit-and-run drivers, one of whom stopped just long enough to remove his bike from the car’s bumper. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

A New York woman is out of work for eight weeks and facing $25,000 in medical expenses after she was run down by a cyclist who blew through a red light, claiming he couldn’t stop in time. She says law-breaking cyclists should be treated like drivers; unfortunately, that’s exactly how the NYPD usually treats drivers who kill or injure bike riders and pedestrians.

 

International

Cycling Weekly explains how to deal with wrist pain when you ride.

London’s Independent considers the tragic irony in the bicycling death of pro cyclist Nicky Hayden.

An English county’s chief constable plans to tour the county on two wheels after his retirement, stopping at every police station along the way.

About damn time. Sydney, Australia is backing a plan that would require student drivers to learn how to ride a bike safely before qualifying for a driver’s license. Now if we can only convince the rest of the world to go along.

A user white paper from China’s Mobike bikeshare company offers insights to the country’s emerging cycling demographic; the company says it’s taken the emissions equivalent of 170,000 cars off the roads and out of the air.

 

Finally…

How to do #2 when you’re trying to stay #1. If you’re going to promote Bike Month, try to do it before the events are over.

And David Wolfberg forwards video of how not to wash your bike.

View post on imgur.com

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On a personal note, the Corgi was once again a hit at Amoeba Music.

Morning Links: Teenage bike crash victim pepper sprayed by police, and help make Westwood bike friendly

The good news is, we’ve figured out what caused the problem with email notifications for new posts. Now the problem is figuring out how to fix it. Hopefully we’ll have it working again soon.

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Evidently, you don’t want to get hit by a car when riding while mixed-race in Hagerstown, Maryland.

A 15-year old girl was handcuffed, pepper sprayed and arrested for the crime of refusing transport to a hospital after she was struck by a car while riding her bike.

Even though there’s no law requiring collision victims to accept medical treatment against their will.

And instead of being transported to the hospital, she was taken to the police station, where she was charged with disorderly conduct, two counts of second degree assault, possession of marijuana and failure to obey a traffic device.

Although her attorney describes the amount of marijuana found in her backpack as “a flake.”

Then to cap matters, police later said she wasn’t booked for refusing treatment, but because she failed to provide proof of insurance.

For a 15-year old. On a bicycle.

Police officials claim they used “appropriate force” in pepper spraying the five-foot tall, 105 pound girl, saying it was the minimal amount needed to gain her cooperation; meanwhile, the town’s mayor crashed a press conference with the girl, turning it into a shouting match with her lawyer.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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UCLA’s Daily Bruin writes about the city council’s vote to remove the bike lanes planned for Westwood Blvd from the Mobility Plan, and move them to Gayley instead.

Meanwhile, Westwood Village is looking for community members to help revise the area’s specific plan. Which would be a perfect opportunity to suggest making the village more bike and pedestrian friendly.

And moving the bike lanes back to Westwood Blvd.

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Weshigh had an unpleasant encounter of the cop kind on his ride home last night, as an officer yells at him to get to the right on a non-sharable lane before passing other traffic on the right.

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Today is the last day to apply for the LACBC’s Policy and Outreach Coordinator position.

And Multicultural Communities for Mobility says several positions are available to help make LA’s nascent bikeshare system equitable for all constituents of the city.

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Local

Streetsblog strongly endorses Measure M to impose a half-cent sales tax to fund a wide rage of road, transit and active transportation projects. Just for the record, it has my support, as well.

CiclaValley endorses bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, and asks you to stand up for people spaces on the North Hollywood corridor.

Fourth District Councilmember David Ryu calls on the city to eliminate human-operated vehicles from LA streets by 2035.

There will be a free bike valet at Sunday’s Abbott Kinney Festival, where $25 in purchases will enter you in a drawing for a Linus Roadster Classic bike. Biking there makes a lot of sense, given the large crowds, heavy traffic and extreme parking shortage at the annual event.

Deputies with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station are looking for the owners of several bicycles they recovered from a homeless encampment, some of which have been partially dismounted and repainted.

Congratulations to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition’s Kevin Burton, who will be honored on Sunday for Outstanding Contribution to Public Safety for his work with the group.

Santa Monica police are conducting yet another of their bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operations today.

 

State

Australian BMX silver medalist Sam Willoughby suffered a severe spinal injury while riding at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista two weeks ago; following surgery, he’s regained use of his arms, but is still unable to move from the chest down.

The Camarillo Rotary Club will host a Biking, Brews and BBQ Ride this Saturday to raise funds for local causes.

Uber is teaming with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to provide bicycle safety training for their drivers; the SFBC prepared four videos instructing them how to drive around bicyclists.

Benicia police pitch in to buy a new bicycle for a 19-year old man who had to walk two hours each way to work after his car broke down.

 

National

Oregon is less than nine miles, though several years, from completing what will eventually be a 73-mile bikeway along the Columbia River Gorge.

Colorado authorities are looking for a hit-and-run bicyclist who injured an 86-year old man on a walking trail where bikes are banned; the rider stopped to ask if the man was okay, then took off when he answered no. Bike collisions are no different from car crashes; you are legally required to stay at the scene and exchange information, on or offroad.

An Ohio woman accuses the local police of failing to properly investigate the collision that killed her husband as he rode his bicycle with a friend; even though the driver had two prior convictions for driving under the influence and had admitted to drinking the night before, police claimed they had no probable cause to test for drugs or alcohol. If killing someone isn’t probable cause, what the hell is?

The co-defensive coordinator for the Ohio State University football team hit a bike rider as he was driving near the campus Thursday morning.

More on the wealthy opponents of New York’s Prospect Park West bike lanes finally giving up their lawsuit after five years, after claiming they had been vindicated; Streetsblog says they did irreparable harm to the city.

Challenging piece from a DC cyclist, who is giving up on America after being unable to find a safe city to ride, and considering a move to the Netherlands.

A writer for Forbes explains why she put her life on hold to ride across the country from Georgia to California.

 

International

Caught on video: A British bike rider is harassed and threatened by a road raging FedEx driver who lurched just inches from his rear wheel.

When a Brit cyclist wrote the head of a company complaining about repeated harassment by one of its drivers, he was stunned to receive a response blaming him for his own stupidity and suggesting that he use the non-existent bike lanes.

An Aussie study concludes requiring helmets for motor vehicle occupants could save 17 times as many people as a bike helmet mandate.

A Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce official says a proposed rail to trail conversion could open the Australian state up to an avalanche of tourism.

 

Finally…

Apparently, not everyone is a fan of bicycles. Your bike could be why you have trouble having an orgasm.

And now you can make tax deductible donation to a pro cycling team.

 

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.

 

Weekend Links: LAPD officers accused of beating South LA bike rider, SDSU police blame the victims in bike wrecks

An LAPD officer is accused of beating and kicking a bike rider in South LA.

According to the LA Times, 22-year old Clinton Alford was riding on the sidewalk on Avalon Blvd near 55th Street — something that’s perfectly legal in Los Angeles — on October 16th when a police car pulled up behind him and he was ordered to stop.

However, Alford kept riding, since he says the person failed to identify himself as a cop. After a brief pursuit, he voluntarily laid down on the street and put his hands behind his back, making no attempt to resist as officers restrained him.

That is, until another very large officer arrived on the scene. And immediately stomped Alford as the other officers held him down.

The officer then dropped to the ground and delivered a series of strikes with his elbows to the back of Alford’s head and upper body, sources said. Alford’s head can be seen on the video hitting the pavement from the force of the strikes, two sources recounted. Afterward, the officer leaned his knee into the small of Alford’s back and, for a prolonged period, rocked or bounced with his body weight on Alford’s back, the sources said. At one point, the officer put his other knee on Alford’s neck, a source said.

It gets worse.

The paper describes the officer kicking Alford’s head like a football, before several officers carried his limp body into a patrol car.

Alford was booked for drug possession and resisting arrest, and released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty — likely to be tossed for a lack of probable cause in making the initial stop.

Meanwhile, the officers involved have been relieved of duty — with pay — pending an internal investigation.

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Oh please.

The campus police at San Diego State University say bike collisions are up in the area surrounding campus — and that it’s usually the cyclist’s fault. Oh, and those scofflaw cyclists cause psychological trauma to the poor drivers by getting blood on their bumpers.

No victim blaming there.

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Local

The LAFD is now the first fire department in the nation to post response times online; and yes, this matters, since your life could depend on how fast help arrives if you’re injured in a fall or collision.

LADOT is testing traffic signals that give pedestrians a head start before cars are allowed to cross the street; hopefully, they’ll try giving bikes the same four-second safety margin.

Calla Weimer — who made a detailed argument here for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, which Councilmember Paul Koretz blithely ignored to placate wealthy homeowners — calls for more bike lanes and bike racks instead of increased parking at Metro stations (second letter).

Figueroa For All says Koretz’ fellow councilmember Gil Cedillo is putting politics over people by diverting two hundred grand from housing funds to pay for a new traffic signal at a dangerous intersection — when the same amount could pay for the entire already-funded road diet he killed for the same street.

Santa Monica will host a Halloween-themes Kidical Mass ride today, while the Santa Monica Spoke hosts next Sunday’s edition of the LACBC’s Sunday Funday ride.

Wounded vets will ride in Redondo Beach on Sunday, November 9th, the weekend before Veteran’s Day.

A local couple create what the Long Beach Post calls the ultimate guide to urban cycling.

 

State

Ford works with California-based Pedego to market an e-bike beach cruiser under their own moniker.

Calbike’s coming 241-mile bike tour will avoid parts of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach due to the dangerous conditions on the cities’ streets.

San Diego considers a one-mile bike path through congested Mission Valley.

The San Luis Obispo sheriff’s department is asking for donations of unwanted children’s bikes to be repaired and given to kids this Christmas.

San Francisco thinks cargo bikes have a role to play in improving disaster response.

 

National

USA Cycling has three job openings at their Colorado Springs CO headquarters.

VeloNews talks to a recovering Taylor Phinney.

Seattle’s mandatory helmet law could hinder the city’s new bike share program.

In another case of cops gone wild, Idaho police detain five BMX riders for the crime of being in a skate park 12 minutes after closing time — then illegally tell them they don’t have any legal rights when one tries to record the confrontation.

A road raging Kansas driver intentionally veers into a cyclist, knocking him into a ditch, then turns around and rams him again before fleeing the scene. All in front of a sheriff’s deputy and two witnesses who saw the whole thing.

A Minneapolis cyclist says a new protected bike lane could make things more dangerous for bike riders, and says there’s little research on the subject — ignoring studies that show protected bike lanes reduce injuries up to 90%.

 

International

An 85-year old Vancouver man regains his mobility with an e-bike.

A UK cyclist is threatened with a knife after a man demands to “borrow” his bike, then refuses to give it back.

A road raging Brit driver is convicted of intentionally running into a cyclist.

Three men are convicted for stealing over 500 bikes from British railway stations.

Graeme Obree and son plan to go after the pedal-powered land speed record once again next year.

A Vienna, Austria industrial design student has invented a self-filling bike water bottle that literally sucks moisture from the air.

 

Finally…

Lance can’t even ride in a non-competitive Gran Fondo run by his fellow ex-doper friend. A London website takes the city’s bike bashing Baroness to task for her vigilante violence. And over 91% of UK residents insist that cyclists aren’t a menace on the roads.

 

Allegedly intoxicated, lightless bike rider fatally shot by Sheriff’s deputies in South L.A.

Yes, it’s against the law to ride a bike under the influence.

And yes, bike riders are legally required to have both a headlight, and at the very least, a rear reflector.

But the first is just a misdemeanor with a maximum $250 fine. And the second is usually just a fix-it ticket, often dismissed if the rider can prove he or she has put lights on the bike in question.

Neither usually punishable by the death penalty.

Yet that’s what happened over the weekend as a 50-year old bike rider was shot and killed in South L.A.

The L.A. Sheriff’s Department reports that the man, identified by KACB-7 as Terry Laffitte, was riding without lights and appeared to be drunk when he was spotted by Sheriff’s deputies at 9:12 pm Saturday on Miramonte Blvd in unincorporated L.A. County.

When the deputies tried to stop him, he continued riding to his home in the 6100 block of Miramonte. The officers followed him to the back of his home, where he reportedly punched one of them in the face, leading to a scuffle that eventually included members of his family who tried to pull the officers off Laffitte.

During the fight, he allegedly pulled out a gun, leading both deputies to fire a single shot each; Laffitte died at the scene.

The L.A. Times reports that two guns were found on the man, one of which was a replica.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, both Laffitte and members of his family who lived at the house are known gang members.

However, according to the report from KABC-7, family members say the shooting was unjustified.

“My brother was on the ground. They had his hands behind his back,” said Laffitte’s sister, Sandra Cotton. “He didn’t have a gun. Why would you shoot him if he was already on the ground and you guys had possession of him?”

Laffitte’s sister said the altercation was recorded on a cellphone, but she claims the device was confiscated by the sheriff’s department. Detectives said no cellphones were confiscated.

Family members said Laffitte had turned his life around and did not carry guns.

Of course, claims like that are easy to make.

But sometimes, they turn out to be true. Kern County Sheriff’s deputies are accused of illegally confiscating cell phones from people who witnessed a fatal police beating in the Bakersfield area — and allegedly deleting a video of the incident.

So let’s be clear about one thing.

You have a 1st Amendment right to record anything that occurs in public, whether or not it involves the police. And without a subpoena, they have no more right to take your phone or camera, or confiscate any photos or video on it, than anyone else on the street.

Less in fact, since police are required to protect the rights of the public and adhere to legal standards that the general public isn’t.

And while it happens far less often than some would suggest, it is also not unheard of for officers to plant a gun following an illegal shooting. I once knew a cop in another city who made a point of carrying a cheap handgun to drop at the scene in case he ever shot an unarmed person — and according to him, had used it in at least one case.

Of course, there’s nothing to suggest that’s what happened here, other than the statements of family members whose credibility has already been challenged by the gang accusations.

But even gang members have rights. And clearly, the LASD has some questions to answer.

Like how a simple misdemeanor traffic stop was allowed to escalate into fatal altercation.

And it’s not the first time it’s happened.

Riverside police assault May Day cyclists; accused DUI hit-and-run driver Juli Ann Brown goes to court

Police in Riverside apparently make up the law as they go along during that city’s May Day protest, ordering bikes out of the street and onto the sidewalk — despite a local ban on sidewalk riding.

And despite the fact that the riders were just a block from their destination.

Then they forcibly stopped the riders by pulling a police car across their path, jumping out of a patrol car with Taser drawn, and tackling a rider off his/her bike.

Regardless of whether the riders may or may not have committed a traffic infraction, using a Taser on a cyclist or knocking a rider off his or her bike is a serious use of force, with a high potential to result in injuries to the rider — and potentially serious, if not deadly, consequences.

Any officer who resorts to such physical violence against department policy to enforce a perceived traffic violation is in serious need of training. If not dismissal from the force.

And any police department that condones it should be reined in by city officials.

If not a lawsuit.

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Our anonymous South Bay correspondent sat in on Monday’s preliminary hearing for Juli Ann Brown, the woman accused of running down three cyclists in a drunken hit-and-run.

Juli Ann Brown had her preliminary hearing Monday in Judge Margaret A. Anderson’s courtroom. Starting the proceeding was an arraignment for an amended complaint. One of the enhancements was upgraded from 12022.7(a) to 12022.7(c), which suggests that one of her victims was over 70 years old. Naturally the plea is still not guilty.

Officer Michael Ezroj of the Seal Beach Police Department, first on the scene at the Taco Surf parking lot where the cyclists had gathered after the assault, conducted recorded witness interviews and collected physical evidence (pieces of the suspect’s vehicle). All witnesses stated that after hitting the cyclists in the bike lane, the vehicle had stopped a very short way up the road, straddling the lane marker, and had then fled. When notified by Huntington Beach PD that they had pulled the suspect over, Ezroj left the scene to identify and question the suspect.

Just minutes after receiving the description of the suspect’s vehicle, HBPD Officer Johnathan Deliema observed a vehicle matching that description travelling southbound on PCH. He made a U-turn and followed her in the #1 lane. While behind Brown’s vehicle, he observed the vehicle drift partially into the #2 lane not once but twice. Brown, the driver, then engaged her right-turn signal and attempted to merge into the occupied #2 lane, causing another vehicle to take evasive action. At this point, Officer Deliema hit the lights and sirens. Incidentally, this all took place at approximately 40 miles per hour, within a distance of less than a third of a mile.

Officer Deliema observed Brown’s slurred speech and unsteady gait, and asked about the damage to the right front side of her vehicle, Brown claimed she had been shopping at Von’s in Long Beach earlier that morning and discovered the damage when she returned to the parking lot, but had not notified the police because she was late to a doctor’s appointment in Huntington Beach. Asked for her driver’s license, she immediately confessed it was suspended. Officer Deliema initiated a Romberg test, to which Brown complied, and which she failed miserably.

When Officer Ezroj arrived, he noted the damaged vehicle matching the suspect vehicle’s description and also observed in the interior a small baggie filled with an unknown white powder and two short plastic straws. He asked Brown if she knew why she had been pulled over and she stated, “I was told that I hit a motorcycle or something.”

HBPD Officer Nick Nicholas arrived on the scene. In his two years with Huntington Beach, he’s administered an estimated 130 field sobriety tests, and he proceeded to test Ms. Brown, who claimed physical limitations with her lower extremities (which she had not divulged to Office Deliema) and was therefore excused from the walk-a-straight-line and stand-and-turn bits. Officer Nicholas also allowed her to fudge a bit on the Romberg, and she still failed it.

Then it was time to recess for lunch, and I had to split. Kinda disappointing to miss half the witnesses, but the exciting news is that Brown’s next scheduled court appearance is an arraignment- a very good indication that she has already simply agreed to whatever plea deal the prosecution has offered. Looking forward to that.

………

Could someone give these kids their darn bike lanes already?

Seriously, I think they’ve earned them.

………

In an interesting experiment, Malibu shifts street cleaning on PCH from Mondays to Fridays, in hopes of having safer streets for weekend cyclists.

It’s a small step, but could make a big difference — especially if they extend cleaning to the shoulders where cyclists usually ride. And it’s a huge shift in attitude from the formerly bike-unfriendly city.

Thanks to the ‘Bu master bike advocate Eric Bruins for the heads-up.

………

Bike lanes almost magically appear on a short, uncontested section of Sepulveda Blvd. Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg calls for a different sort of road diet on York Blvd; if you can find a copy of Momentum magazine, you can read Rick’s bicycle visitor’s guide to the city. Is CicLAvia headed to points east anytime soon? Bikerowave is conducting a series of bike repair and purchasing classes this month. Why the Amgen Tour of California cyclists won’t be riding Santa Monica Blvd through the biking black hole of Beverly Hills later this month. Celebrate bike month with Better Bike, who says the city’s bike route pilot project leaves a lot on the table. Culver City needs volunteers for bike counts on May 19th and 23rd. The Pasadena Star-News says it’s time to make bikeways the new freeways; I couldn’t agree more. The Claremont Cyclist offers his typically great observations on last weekend’s Chuck Pontius Memorial Crit. Join new LACBC affiliate chapter Pomona Valley Bike Coalition for a casual, 24-mile Art Ride this Saturday; can’t speak for you, but I’m loving the way these affiliate chapters spread bike advocacy to the far reaches of the county.

The San Diego woman who traded her car for a bike at last year’s Tour de Fat is still riding. The San Diego Reader says in a world where everyone dopes, it’s wickedly unfair for Floyd Landis; if he had just accepted his suspension instead of lying to everyone about it, it might have been a different outcome. Head to Paso Robles for a full four days of biking on Memorial Day weekend. The Mercury News explains the meaning of sharrows and gets it mostly right if you exchange “must” for “should” here and there. No, seriously — if you’re carrying rock cocaine, put a damn light on your bike. A San Francisco reporter documents his own harassment of cyclists, along with getting the whole concept of bike safety wrong. A disabled Sonoma cyclist is beaten and stabbed in an early morning assault. Right now, you can conduct your own personal ciclovia on the carless roads of Yosemite.

The Bike League and Sierra Club team up to ask Congress to stop giving cyclists the shaft. The surprising aerodynamics of bicycling; link courtesy of cyclist and CD13 City Council candidate Josh Post, who I never heard of before Tuesday, but I’m liking already. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says we all need to stand up to biased anti-bike policing. The media doesn’t exactly look favorably on the car-free among us; link courtesy of Streetsblog. Gotta like this one, as U.S. Air Force cyclists take 2nd and 3rd in the Wounded Warrior Games; just the fact that they’re still competing says volumes. Even Houston is getting a bike share program. A fallen Austin TX cyclist did nothing wrong, but that still doesn’t stop some from blaming scofflaw cyclists; seriously, don’t these people have any shame? A Boston Whole Foods bike parking fail. Evidently, road rage fisticuffs directed at cyclists isn’t just an L.A. problem, as a New York driver beats the crap out of a bike rider who tapped on his car to warn him he was too close; note to motorists — if someone on a bike can touch your vehicle, you’re too damn close.

A UK police official says drivers who kill should face life in prison. A Scot cyclist barely avoids death just days after attending the Ride on Parliament. Great anti-drunk driving campaign from Fiat. Three Korean pro cyclists are killed when their team is rammed by a truck on a training ride. China’s Red Cross is accused of running a bike scam. Who needs a bike lock when you’ve got a bike riding guard dog?

Finally, drunken Florida grandparents face charges after towing their granddaughter behind their SUV in a toy car secured by dog leashes.

………

Let Wednesday’s suicide of future Hall of Fame and former USC football player Junior Seau serve as a reminder that you never know what’s going on in someone’s life unless you ask. Take a moment to reach out to those you love, and don’t take a casual “everything’s okay” as an answer.

There are far too many Richard Corys in this world.

And sometimes, hope can seem to be in very short supply.

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