Special prosecutor appointed in Texas coal roll crash, and inquest into fatal deputy shooting of South LA bike rider

There may be hope for Texas justice after all.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the DA in Waller County, where six bike riders were run down by a 16-year old kid in a bigass pickup attempting to roll coal says just the act of blowing exhaust fumes onto innocent victims is assault.

“They are causing their vehicle to ‘spit’ on a living, breathing, human being that is worthy of dignity and not having his or her person violated,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis wrote in a Facebook post. “That simple assault is easily elevated to a jail eligible offense if bodily injury occurs, which can be caused by entry of toxic particles into mouth, nose and eyes.”

Never mind that the kid actually slammed into the victims after belching exhaust on another rider.

Naturally, though, the boy’s lawyer insists it was just an oopsie.

Rick DeToto, a Houston lawyer hired by the teen’s family, called the boy “inexperienced” and characterized the crash as serious but not prompted by someone out to commit mayhem.

“The police did an investigation at the scene.,” DeToto said in an email. “This included speaking with eyewitnesses… After their investigation they decided not to charge my client and did not issue him a traffic citation. Clearly, they decided a crime had not occurred.”

A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the case, adding to suspicion that the boy’s parents may be prominent residents of the area, or that he wasn’t initially arrested due to some other conflict of interest.

Photo by WikimediaImages from Pixabay.

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Maybe there will be justice for Dijon Kizzee, too.

Though I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to direct the county coroner to hold an inquest into Kizzee’s death at the hands — or guns — of LA County sheriff’s deputies, along with two other men who were fatally shot by deputies last year.

Kizzee was riding a bicycle in South LA last August when a pair of deputies attempted to stop him for riding on the wrong side of the road, a common practice in the area that’s usually ignored by law enforcement.

According to the deputies, Kizzee attempted to flee on foot and struggled with deputies when they tried to stop him, and was shot 16 times after he dropped a gun, then allegedly picked it up and pointed it at them.

However, witness reports and security video suggested that Kizzee was running away from them when he was shot repeatedly in the back, deputies continuing to fire even after he lay helpless on the street.

Kizzee’s father has filed suit, alleging that the case raises questions of excessive force, as well as the existence of gangs within the department that celebrate and reward officer shootings.

However, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has stonewalled other investigations, refusing to respond to subpoenas from civilian authorities. And deputies involved in other shootings have failed to participate in coroner’s investigations, resulting in failed inquests that offered little or no insight into the shootings.

There’s no reason to believe it will be any different this time.

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The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition needs your help to get a Complete Street on North Lake Avenue over the finish line.

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They get it. The San Francisco 49ers Levi Stadium welcomes bike-riding fans with a safe and secure bike valet.

Maybe SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers of Los Angeles, could learn something from our neighbors to the north.

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Streets for All announced their next virtual happy hour next month, featuring Santa Monica City Councilmember Gleam Davis.

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Local

Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman announced $15 million in state funding for a pair of projects connecting her Glendale hometown with the LA River bike path — even though she helped block a $7.5 billion green transportation bill in the legislature, which included a whopping $500 million for active transportation projects statewide.

Turns out the wall of bicycles we showed you the other day is an installation created by a homeless artist in Koreatown. There’s no word on where he got all the bikes, though, so you might want to take a close look if yours went missing lately. 

Agoura Hills will participate with the LA County Sheriff’s Department next month on a new campaign to encourage people to drive safely around bicyclists.

 

State

Bay Area bike advocates make a new push to improve safety on the Golden Gate Bridge, where a person on a bicycle is 21 times more likely to suffer an injury than someone in a car.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss guides us through the six stages of bicycling enlightenment.

Good question. A Washington radio station asks what kind of person would steal the bicycle a little kid used to ride to school.

A Wyoming couple is riding down the full length of the Mississippi on their ebikes one section at a time, even though the husband is 78-years old and dependent on oxygen.

A Good Samaritan came to the rescue of an Omaha bike rider after finding him bleeding in the street with what turned out to be a fractured skull — and left him an anonymous gift card to get a new bike helmet.

Once again, a teenage driver has slammed into a group ride, as a two bicyclists were seriously injured when a 17-year old girl plowed into them near Joplin, Missouri.

Now that’s impressive. Michigan is working on a 2,000-mile pathway running through 48 counties extending the full length of the state, with separate paths for biking and hiking.

A four-year old DC boy couldn’t wait to get back on his bike, despite getting hit by an SUV driver while riding in a crosswalk.

Mississippi’s Soul City Cycling is working to change the complexion of bicycling in the state, where the overwhelming majority of bike riders are white.

This is what the theft of a $13,500 bicycle from a Florida bike shop looks like.

 

International

A writer for Road.cc celebrates the joys of having places on your favorite riding route where you can take a leak.

Oops. A London driver clipped a bike rider with his wing mirror during a too close pass. Except the guy on the bike turned out to be a plain clothes cop conducting a sting operation to catch drivers violating the equivalent of a three-foot passing law.

Life may not begin at 40, but a London writer discovers she can still get an ebike and teach herself to ride it after avoiding bicycles for the first four decades of her life.

German bikemaker Cube has licensed the rights to BMW’s three-wheeled concept cargo bike designed to improve stability by leaning into corners; no word on when it might hit the market.

Two-thirds of Dutch drivers admit to checking their phones behind the wheel, even though 84% say the messages aren’t important.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist looks forward to this Sunday’s Paris-Robaix classic, and who you should keep an eye on in the race.

 

Finally…

Science says bicycling does not effectively work your abs. Forget the pro crit, the real action was in the bikeshare race. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

And that feeling when you lose a bike versus car race, but feel like you came out ahead because you weren’t stuck in a car.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

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