Tag Archive for handcuffed for minor traffic infractions

Morning Links: LAPD handcuff South LA cyclist over traffic ticket; Taylor Phinney makes amazing comeback

Is it really necessary to handcuff a young black man to give him a traffic ticket?

Several LAPD officers are caught on video demanding that a 16-year old bike rider come out of his home, where he apparently fled when police tried to pull him over.

Despite the incessant anti-cop tirade by the man shooting the video, the young man eventually comes out voluntarily. And is promptly cuffed and led to a patrol car, where he is presumably ticketed.

For not wearing a bike helmet.

Yes, he broke the law.

And yes, he fled from the police.

But it looks like this could have been handled a lot better, with less antagonism on both sides.

In talks with the LAPD going back over five years, representatives of the bicycling community have repeatedly asked that the practice of routinely handcuffing bike riders — usually young minority men — during a simple traffic stop be halted.

The police have responded that their policy is to allow the officer making the stop to determine if handcuffs are warranted, such as if the bike rider appears to be a threat or may attempt to flee.

And yet drivers are seldom, if ever, ordered out of their cars, frisked and handcuffed because they ran a stop sign or neglected to use a turn signal.

Yes, it’s possible this young man might have tried to run away, though it’s unlikely since he came out of the house on his own accord. And he clearly didn’t pose much of a threat surrounded by over a half-dozen officers.

The LAPD has made great efforts to improve relations with minority communities under Chief Beck, as well as with bicyclists.

But it doesn’t take much to undermine those efforts.

And a little respect from both sides would go along way.

………

Now we know cycling scion Taylor Phinney is really back.

In the most exciting pro cycling news this year, Phinney came back from last year’s devastating crash — so bad that doctors told him he’d never ride again — to outsprint the field and win the first stage of Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge. His BMC team commemorated Phinney’s victory with a series of photos from the first stage, including a shot of his surgically repaired leg.

The Denver Post says this year’s Pro Challenge could be anyone’s race. Though not Ian Crane’s, who needed over 3,000 stitches after going chin first through the back of a support vehicle in last year’s race; he’s back on his bike, but a return to racing is a long way off. If ever.

The first black African cyclists to compete in the Tour de France say there are even better riders to come from bike-mad Eritrea.

Great news from Ivan Basso, who is back on his bike after recovering from testicular cancer. I wonder how many men have checked themselves after reading about Basso? Besides me, I mean.

Two cyclists set new course records in the legendary Leadville 100 off-road race. Sadly though, an experienced competitor died of an apparent heart attack just short of the finish line; Scott Ellis was a 19-time competitor in the race.

Women pros say the new pro tour format is a big step towards bringing equality to bike racing.

………

Local

UCLA’s Daily Bruin offers a good look at the city’s new Mobility Plan. Although seriously, enough with the 1% bullshit; the plan is designed to provide alternatives to driving, which will benefit everyone — not make it impossible to drive, or force anyone out of their car and onto a bike.

Those new buffered bike lanes on Vineland in the Valley seem to work better as a traffic bypass lane for impatient motorists.

 

State

A Vallejo man is under arrest for intentionally ramming a couple with his rental car as they rode on the sidewalk.

 

National

Somehow, it seems sadly inevitable that the popularity of fat bikes would lead to plus-sized bikes.

GQ offers advice on how to bike to work without ruining your suit. Yes, biking is exercise, but so is walking. A simple bike commute doesn’t have to be treated like it’s a century ride.

A Wyoming man travels 11,000 miles in a decade of riding across the country, assisted by an e-bike and an oxygen tank for the past two years.

It takes a real jerk to steal a home-made motorized bike from a disabled Oklahoma man.

A writer from Dallas discusses what she learned riding unsupported in Iowa’s RAGBRAI. Including that she can do it, and doesn’t want to do it again.

A Dallas-area teenager is pushing to require bike helmets for all bike riders under 18, after a 16-year old classmate is killed in a collision with a car driven by her sister. Yes, helmets are a good idea; not running over people on bikes is a better one.

A Michigan bike rider was killed in a collision with a pedestrian.

Unbelievable. A hit-and-run driver plowed into an Indiana family while they were riding on a bike path.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would steal a Rhode Island man’s bike as he lay unconscious following a collision. Fortunately, a local company has offered to replace it.

The Boston Globe calls on the city to take aggressive steps to improve safety for bicyclists.

 

International

Gizmodo explains the evolution of the bicycle.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a Brit road with thumbtacks, putting bike riders at risk of serious injury.

A pair of Indian teenagers on a speeding motorcycle kill a bicyclist crossing the road on his way home. So naturally, an official blames the bike rider for not using a crosswalk.

A “tired, sleepy and dreamy” Singapore taxi driver gets three months in jail and a seven-year driving ban after killing a cyclist when he fell asleep and drifted onto the wrong side of the road.

The Voice of America says the bike boom has come to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

Finally…

If you try to keep kids safe on their way to school by teaching them to ride in the gutter and the door zone, they may need that bike helmet. If you already got away with stealing four bikes in two separate break-ins from the same bike shop, don’t go back for the third time.

And Arlington VA police offer advice about who is allowed to park in a bike lane.

Arlington Police

This is why cyclists need to vote

Let’s go back in time a bit.

Back in the dark ages, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was still in high school, I edited the school newspaper.

One day, our staff photographer noticed a police officer approach a car stopped in front of the school and begin to search of the vehicle, without permission or probable cause. So he grabbed his camera, ran outside and started taking photos.

The officer, no doubt aware of the illegality of the search, threatened to arrest him and confiscate his film. So he put the camera way and slunk back to class as the officer continued his fruitless search.

But rabble-rouser that I was, even at such a tender age, I was damned if that would be the end of it.

The next day, I placed a phone call the state headquarters of the ACLU. And soon we were represented, pro bono, by a lawyer who leapt at the chance to protect our 1st Amendment rights.

The result was a written statement from the chief of police apologizing for the officers actions. He went on to add that even student journalists were legitimate members of the press and had every right to take photos of the officer’s actions; and further, that since it had taken place in plain view on a public street, anyone with a camera had a 1st Amendment right to do so.

In other words, we won.

Now fast forward a few decades.

A fellow blogger and friend crosses the street to take photos of a police officer conducting what was probably an illegal search of a cyclist, and finds himself handcuffed and eventually ticketed for a moving violation — even though he was on foot and crossing in the crosswalk, with the light.

It happened during Saturday’s C.R.A.N.K. MOB event, when the citizenry of Hollywood panicked upon being invaded by a horde of bicyclists, and the police responded in force.

Now, I’m not a fan of these rolling raves.

While I’m a whole-hearted supporter of the right to ride, even in large, semi-spontaneous groups, I believe we need to be considerate of other people — whether that means maintaining a reasonable level of sobriety, keeping the noise level down so residents can sleep, or allowing drivers to get where they are going without undue interference.

Because when you ride with no consideration for the rights of other users of the road — in other words, exactly the way too many drivers do — you become the problem, not the solution.

As Los Angeles Cyclist put it:

…Unfortunately, I was in the back half of the group, so by the time we got toward the Ralph’s which was our destination, someone who had arrived earlier had apparently decided not to pay for his items, and caused the police to be dispatched. (Apparently one of the ride organizers helped apprehend the thief. WELL DONE SIR.)

Lots of police were dispatched.

Who, by strategically blocking intersections directed the group out of West Hollywood and up toward actual Hollywood.

Then we headed East on Hollywood Blvd., which was pretty much a total fiasco.

Poorly corked/run intersections, irate motorists, cyclists not used to riding in groups, made for a BIG mess. I tried to time the intersections so I entered them on a green light, but with a group of close to 1,000 cyclists, some of the motorists were getting impatient, especially if they’d waited through the previous few lights and were trying to make a left turn.

So the police may have had good reason to break up the ride. Unfortunately, a few seem to have crossed the line, by breaking the law in order to enforce it.

LA Cyclist goes on to describe a young woman who was intentionally doored by an officer, in a highly questionable use of force. If a civilian hit a cyclist with his door in such a manner, he could be charged with a felony; yet an officer used exactly the same dangerous technique to apprehend a scofflaw for the heinous crime of failing to stop quickly enough after running a red light.

That same officer, evidently feeling a need to protect homeland security from the dangers of two-wheeled citizens, wanted to know if the cyclists patiently waiting to be ticketed were anarchists. No, seriously.

Meanwhile, Alex spent 20 minutes in handcuffs because a police officer claimed he crossed the intersection while the red hand was flashing — not because he was attempting to take photos of the officer while he searched a cyclist after a minor traffic stop, something that would be illegal if done to a motorist. This despite the fact that the courts have held that bloggers have the same 1st Amendment rights as any member of the mainstream press.

And the other cyclist was ticketed for an offense that both the city council and chief of police have agreed should not be enforced.

As Zach Behrens points out on LAist, the use of cuffs is at an officer’s discretion. Yet it can hardly be argued that any officer should feel threatened by a camera, or the person using it.

Or as Damien Newton put it:

Handcuffing someone for not having a bike license?  For crossing the street against a flashing red hand?  What country am I living in?

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