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.
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.
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.