A Bicycle Rider’s Troubling Brush with the SFPD in the Mission

Over on Change Your Life, Ride a Bike, Adrienne Johnson writes about a terrifying encounter she had while riding a bicycle when a motorist behaved aggressively and then escalated with threats of violence. The motorist, according to Johnson, was an SFPD officer in an unmarked vehicle.

Johnson, a regular contributor of beautiful photos to our Flickr pool, explained the encounter [edited, read full version at her site]:

Last Saturday I had a very frightening encounter while riding on Valencia St. with my husband and older son. As we approached the intersection at 17th St. I found myself being cut off by a driver turning right, no signal. I was in that weird place where you can’t stop but you are still behind the car, so I rang my bell a couple of times and gave a shout out. The driver slowed the car but kept moving, slowly enough for me to pass but fast enough to be nerve rattling. The windows were down on the car and I could see the driver and his two passengers looking out at me. They were paying so much attention to me, I was worried they didn’t see James and Cameron behind me, so I told the driver there were two more bikes behind me and kept riding. I could hear the driver yell something at me in an angry voice. It sounded like he called me a bitch but I couldn’t really hear him.

At this point I did something kind of dumb, I flipped him off. This wasn’t the most intelligent thing, but at some point you just get sick of being called names for not wanting to be run over.

The car raced up next to me, just a little too close for comfort, to force me to slow down. I kept moving but he paced me. The driver leaned over his passenger and said "Shut your fucking mouth bitch or I’ll knock you off your bike". He didn’t yell it at me, he just stated it like there was no way it could be any other way, straight to my face. My nature is to not show fear, especially with people like this- I have found it makes them more bold. I looked right back at him ( I started taking note of all the details- the driver, the passenger in the back, the colour of the car….) and asked him if he would like me to call the police to report his harassing me? I got another "shut up bitch" and he started to drive away, slowly to see if I would try to pass him.

At that point I was just annoyed- I shouldn’t have flipped him off, but he shouldn’t have done any of the things he had done (I realized at this point that his almost right hooking me was not an accident). Then I saw what turned the whole thing very frightening- the car was an unmarked San Francisco Police car. Red and amber lights were in the rear window along with what looked like a police citation book.

I was completely floored. I had just been threatened and intimidated by a police officer. His partners in the car had done nothing to stop him. To top it off, this all happened not 100 feet from the Mission Police Station (which I turned around and went straight into to file a report which is now with the Office Of Citizen Complaints). The worst part was that from behind, both James and Cameron thought I was about to be run down in front of them (James pulled out his cell phone to start taking pictures). That was when I started shaking, just a little but for the next three hours.

I will not stop riding. It would take a hell of a lot more than this to stop me. I will not let this situation pass without making this officer face me and tell me why he thinks it is OK to threaten a woman with bodily harm in front of her family. I will fight back so that no one else has to deal with this.

Hardly the experience Streetsblog Editor Bryan Goebel had with SFPD Police Chief George Gascón last week riding through the Marina.

With regard to Johnson’s experience, SFPD Spokesperson Lyn Tomioka said the department had no comment on current complaints or investigations. She did recommend that any San Franciscan should go through the Office of Citizen Complaints for allegations of police misconduct. "That’s the process that keeps everyone accountable for their actions," she noted.

Complaints can be registered online, in person at 25 Van Ness, Suite 700, or by phone at 415-241-7711.

  • Gascon is a bigot (see comments this past week re: Muslim Americans’ in SF willingness to blow up the city’ buildings), is pro-taser, wants to try to Willie Brown CM again (presumably with tasers), and was only willing to bike in the Marina.

    Is it any surprise his staff behave in this way?

  • david vartanoff

    another bully who found a job to enable his pathology.

  • I would like to say this about this situation, it sucked. The guy who rode up on me was horrid. But the officers at the station were wonderful! They took me seriously, walked me through the process I needed to follow and showed true and sincere concern for my situation. I do not think for one minute that this reflects what all of the SFPD is about, but I do think that it is representative of a few people who have joined the force for all of the wrong reasons and who behave the way they do because they feel they will be backed by their department.

    Hopefully the system will work and my complaint will be taken seriously so that this guy can be dealt with.

  • @Adrienne, sorry this happened to you. The more people that hear your story the better. The collective voice will force action.

  • pilastr

    Good on you for halting your day to go report this.

    Is there a book of mugshots for police officers? Did the friendliness of the station officers extend to helping identify who this lunatic and his passengers were?

    Car drivers don’t realize that the slightest contact between a 2000lb car and a bicycle can result in severe injuries. I had to learn it the hard way.

  • icarus12

    If some police officers don’t know or care about key traffic rules regarding how cars and bikes should interact, what can we expect of ordinary drivers? Just last week a woman sped up to take a right turn directly in front of me. I had to hit the brakes going up hill, come to full stop, and then stand up on the pedals to get moving again. I wasn’t endangered, as you were, but mightily annoyed for sure.

    Maybe this incident can turn into something good — the police chief starts a program to educate first his own officers and then the rest of drivers what the rules of the road are and how to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. If the police become road warriors in the best sense of the word, then they can teach by example and citation.

    I hope you pursue this and that the police brass take note that this is an opportunity for change, not a lawsuit.

  • CBrinkman

    Awful. Adrienne I feel horrible for you. It’s bad enough dealing with average citizens who behave badly towards cyclists, but to have the people we pay to protect us do it is just jaw dropping. He needs to be fired.

  • Sorry for your experience, Adrienne. But of course you did the right thing reporting it.

    Turning in front cyclists – endangering lives to save 2 seconds.

  • Noah

    This is awful. I would like to point out, though, that I don’t think that this behavior is consistent with how most motorists, or most cops, view bikes. While I agree that attitudes about bikes need to change, this level of maliciousness is fairly uncommon.

    I’m sure there are many examples to the contrary, but, in my experience as a motorist and a cyclist, most drivers are, at worst, oblivious to bikes.

  • tea

    Well I do think that, in some sense, this reflects on the SFPD. It seems that there were other persons in that vehicle. Did they do nothing to stop this prick? I have a hard time imagining that this is an otherwise exemplary officer, losing his cool for the first time. And he drives around in an unmarked police car? I’m sorry but isn’t driving up to a biker and yelling ” “Shut your fucking mouth bitch or I’ll knock you off your bike” not a threat with a deadly weapon?

    What do we get? Stonewalling. And this:

    ====================================================
    She did recommend that any San Franciscan should go through the Office of Citizen Complaints for allegations of police misconduct. “That’s the process that keeps everyone accountable for their actions,” she noted.
    ====================================================

    Inforrect. The OCC is the place where complaints go to die. Especially since Gascon is fond of granting wholesale amnesties to his officers:

    http://reason.com/blog/2009/08/30/san-francisco-police-chief-pro

  • Nick

    I’m sorry this happened to you. I personally wouldn’t have escalated the situation by flipping him off. There is some responsibiity there on your part, hard as it may be to admit.

    My experience with SFPD is that they are pretty professional overall. There should be more of an effort to work with them to curtail this type of behavior, whether it invloves officers or citizens.

  • I was threatened and intimidated by an SFPD police officer over a year ago, and filed an official complaint at the OCC. The investigator was very professional and on my side. Because there were no witnesses (the officer’s word against mine), he was not charged. But there was a record of misconduct in his file.

    A year after I filed the complaint, a private investigator contacted me and said that another complaint had been made against this same officer and he was being tried in court. And with the evidence from the report I made, it was more than likely that he would be charged this time.

    So the OCC is not useless, and our citizens’ complaints do make a difference.

    Finally, this doesn’t reflect the SFPD’s attitude toward cyclists. There are some bad eggs out there, and the officer who intimidated Adrienne and the one who intimidated me are bad eggs.

  • Thanos

    You can gentrify the Mission but you will never change her.

  • Let’s bounce this report to each of the SFPD district stations — directly to the Captains.

    list of stations here: http://sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=796 (or go to sf-police.org and look for stations list.

    Captains’ names are listed…emails: first name “dot” last name “at” sfgov.org (sending it to the station’s general email adr: it’s not clear who sees it).

  • Sprague

    Thank you for sharing your bad experience and for pursuing the matter with the Police Department. I, too, am hopeful that some good will come out of this. It would be interesting to learn the results of your meeting with the involved officer(s), if such a meeting does take place. Good luck!

  • Peter Smith

    sorry that happened to you, sister! hang in there!

    i’m guessing this was one of the plainclothes/undercover SFPD cop cars — either grey or dark blue, unmarked, Ford Crown Vic or one of those typically-ugly, hulking, ‘cop-y’ cars — one driver, usually two dudes in back, one or more of them is bald/shaved head, etc. they usually stick to the Tenderloin and just pop out and start arresting people, but i have seen them in a Mission on and off — not sure if activity has picked up around there.

    since it’s so easy to spot them (the undercover cops), i don’t mess with them. whatever illegal/dangerous stuff they do, i say “Aye, Aye, Cap’n!” — and i live for another day, and don’t have to deal with the crazy emotional stress. i’d rather save my ‘crazy’ for non-officers — at least if i catch them, it’ll be just me vs some other citizen, not me vs. a cop, which is a no-win for me.

    This is awful. I would like to point out, though, that I don’t think that this behavior is consistent with how most motorists, or most cops, view bikes.

    i just talked to someone today who was like “I _hate_ bikers. Why do they get _right_ in front of me??”

    i was thinking, “They still _make_ you?”

    yes, yes they do.

    if nothing else, i’m hoping incidents like this will help my fellow advocates not get complacent about what the goal needs to be — no more cars in SF — no more chances for drivers to act like aholes and act with impunity.

    bikes up, cars down!

  • JohnB

    Peter,

    You could view this situation the exact opposite way though. Maybe the cop would have behaved even worse had he not been a cop with a badge to protect?

    Your idea that you’d be MORE likely to take on a driver who you knew wasn’t a cop could rebound very badly. This could have been 3 kids from the Projects who maybe don’t share the same high regard for life and injury that you do.

    They could have been guys in a stolen car. This was the Mission after all.

    Or just one of the many crazy people I see out there on the roads every day.

    As a cyclist, you are highly vulnerable to any road rage type encounter. Nick was right that the bird should not have been flipped here. That is always going to inflame a situation.

    But you should not be “saving your crazy for non-officers”. You should be sparng your “crazy” altogether.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right but they could get you killed. Discretion is the better part of valor.

  • Matt H

    Adrienne, this completely sucks. Been there, experienced similar, but never from a cop. Never fun.

    Nick and JohnB, cut her some slack. Threatening someone is against the law, but flipping them off is not. I think it’s a totally understandable reaction. What other recourse do you have? Better to do that than to smash their window or key their door.

  • JohnB

    Matt

    I feel bad for Adrienne too. That’s not the point.

    What other recourse do you have? Take their number, don’t inflame the situation, stop and seek help or otherwise try and leave the scene, and report it to the police when you can.

    If flipping them off is a bad idea, vandalizing their vehicle essentially makes you the villain here. I’m surprised you’d publicly suggest committing crimes on a website for making streets more “livable”.

  • You could view this situation the exact opposite way though. Maybe the cop would have behaved even worse had he not been a cop with a badge to protect?

    yes — it has happened, to me and others, of course.

    Your idea that you’d be MORE likely to take on a driver who you knew wasn’t a cop could rebound very badly. This could have been 3 kids from the Projects who maybe don’t share the same high regard for life and injury that you do.

    yes, it could rebound very badly indeed. hasn’t happened yet, but i’m very aware that it could. i’m always ready for a gun to be pulled — no matter the color of the drivers or where they’re from or what socioeconomic background they may be from — i’ve already got my words planned (“OK, you win.”) — whether they’ll save me or not, we may yet see.

    the way i see it, i’ve taught a whole bunch of people some lessons they’ll never forget, and made the streets safer and more pleasant in the process. people don’t like confrontation, especially cowards/bullies, which is what drivers who terrorize bikers tend to be. once confronted, they go all weak in the knees — and, in my experience, it’s 99% men. women drivers will honk and do weird stuff like that, but men like to ‘man up’ by swerving and really upping the crazy. that’s what sets me off.

    people stop biking because they get tired of being terrorized by drivers — similarly, people stop terrorizing bikers because once they’ve been confronted that one time by ‘that one crazy guy’, they’ll _always_ think twice before terrorizing another biker.

    ‘what if this biker turns out to be in a bad mood and he chases me down a mile and a half and blocks my cars like that one guy?’

    oh yeah — they remember alright. i see drivers calculating in their head whether or not they’ll make the next red light — wondering if they can treat a biker badly because they think the biker won’t catch up — as if we abide by red lights. you made an arithmetic error, driver person — time to pay the piper. lecture time! 😀

    i try to tailor my responses appropriately — if it’s a girl, she gets the lecture – low-key, calm voice, patronizing, annoying, etc. if it’s a dude, depending on his behavior (did he cut me off, honk at me, swerve at me, threaten me, F-bomb me, etc.?), he’ll get varying levels of crazy — sometimes a lecture, sometimes a ‘spirited lecture’ — differing tactics, depending 🙂 . old folks get the lecture. anyone with kids gets the lecture.

    never answer questions — just ask them: “why did you honk at me? do you not think i have a right to be there? do you know california law? are you better than me? do you always act this way? what will it take to get you to act like a decent human being?”

    it honestly doesn’t happen that much, but if they’re terrorizing me, a relatively big dude, imagine what they’re doing to everybody else? they do it because they think they can. it’s not right. it’s not fair. it’s unjust in the extreme. it has to stop.

    the thing is, even if i _did_ get beat down, it’s still a victory for cycling. you have to challenge injustice — just because you lose doesn’t mean you stop fighting — figuratively and literally. even actual tough guy drivers (to the extent that they exist) don’t want to fight every day — it’s tough to kick ass every day. even Chuck Norris would get tired of beating bikers to a pulp every day. 😀

    As a cyclist, you are highly vulnerable to any road rage type encounter.

    true, and i’ve had some drivers do all sorts of crazy stuff to get away from my ‘retaliatory road rage’ — it’s gotten to the point where i started thinking it might not be a good idea in some cases, if at all, because the fleeing drivers might kill an innocent bystander — like in a cop car chase. tellin ya — as big of terrorists as some drivers are, they’re even bigger cowards. and i have seen them almost run into other cars and pedestrians in trying to get away from me (especially when they try to ‘quick right turn’ but get bombed with a typical SF crosswalk, filled with pedestrians — gosh, the horror that those drivers experience at that moment in time, knowing i’m about to roll up to their window and deliver ‘The Lecture’ — _that_ is priceless), so it’s definitely on my mind. i’m generally not forgiving of cop car chases in urban areas, so i’ve been thinking about rolling back ‘the crazy’ a bit. i usually ride out with a Phil Jackson-like Zen attitude, but life is life….if a driver and I both have bad days, anything can happen – my attitude can change on a dime.

    But you should not be “saving your crazy for non-officers”. You should be sparing your “crazy” altogether.

    so, yes, you might be right about this.

  • cyclotronic

    a car is no different than any other loaded lethal weapon. if you point it at someone, or threaten to use it on someone, it is no different than doing the same thing with a gun.

    for some reason, most people licensed to open carry a car have no idea what a car is.

    if you threaten me with your car, i will do my best to disarm or avoid you. it’s best to assume anyone who points a weapon at you and declares their intention to use it, is in fact willing to use it, and should be treated accordingly – not just by cyclists, but by society as a whole.

  • @ JOhnB- You assume I knew it was a police vehicle. I didn’t even really notice the type of car it was until he came to threaten me. Up until that point it was just a car with some agro guy with a chip on his shoulder driving it. Do you take a full account of every driver and car that comes near you on Valencia Street?

    Police officers are trained to deal with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations- none of that training calls for the use of foul language, intimidation or threats of bodily harm to people. My off hand throw of the 3 fingered solute (not my finest moment but also not out of the spectrum of normal street interaction when done after being called a bitch and nearly hit with a car) does not constitute a threat or use of a weapon or aggressive and directed action or violence….

    This is an issue of inappropriate use of force, intimidation, abuse of power and violation of regulated police behavior on the part of an on-duty SFPD officer and his two partners. If he pulls this kind of thing on me, what does he do to people he has arrested? How does he treat people who do not speak English? How does he deal with rowdy kids?

    there is a much larger issue here than my use of my middle finger.

  • I agree that it’s silly to focus on Adrienne’s flipping the bird as the vast majority of the responsibility in this situation was on the driver (as is most always is on the road).

  • cyclotronic

    i too thought the real issue was the threat with the car, not the threat of being birded.

  • cyclotronic

    in fact, this does get at the most important issue here. people talk about the issue of cyclist behavior all the time, as if it correlates to car behavior. it’s like arguing cap gun vs. assault rifle, as if there is a moral equivalence. or saying a pedestrian jaywalking is the same as driving down the sidewalk.

    some drivers need an additional mirror that reflects back into their own mind, so they can maybe see who they have become behind the wheel.

  • patrick

    well put cyclotronic!

  • Just gotta put my two cents in here and say I am with Peter Smith on this one. Sometimes, yeah, you gotta let it go, but sometimes you gotta stick up for yourself and for bikers as a whole. You can’t just lay down every time.

  • peternatural

    The driver was obviously in the wrong, both by driving badly and then by threatening Adrienne. That it was a police officer makes it even worse — he should obviously know better. It was good to report him, and hopefully he’ll get some blowback.

    Still, I would take JohnB’s comment more in the spirit of “free advice” (flipping the driver off probably made things worse in this case) which Adrienne already agreed with (she wrote that it was “kind of dumb”).

    When I am in incidents like that, I usually afterward try to see what lesson I can take from it and apply in future situations. E.g., I’ve become leery of passing a car on the right when traveling the same direction and approaching an intersection where the car might turn right and cut me off. The fact that the driver hasn’t signaled means little. By carefully observing the car’s “body language”, I can usually tell whether it will turn or not. But even if I hang back and they don’t turn, it just means I end up going a bit slower than I would have otherwise. Being cautious is less stressful (and in the long run I probably save time anyway by avoiding the occasional extended debacle)!

    Still, I’m glad to know that Peter is out there giving motorists lectures and making them think twice about pulling crazy, dangerous, and inhospitable stunts next time.

  • JohnB

    Peter,

    Yes, my comments were intended more as “gentle advice” than anything else. And really it’s not a point specific to cyclists but rather about the prudence of not escalating any road rage type situation.

    I understand why Patrick, Cyclo and others feel the need to assert what they feel are their rights. And educating drivers is a noble cause. But squaring up to a driver, flipping him off or otherwise menacing or threatening the driver is not a good way to educate anyone. In fact, it more likely polarizes drivers more.

    I actually witnessed a road rage incident between 2 cars which suddenly got really nasty when one of the drivers made “the sign”. The other guy cut him off, got out of the car and initiated a fist fight. That’s why I made the comment I did to Adrienne – not to criticize her but to try and indicate how inflammatory such reactions can be.

    Ultimately this isn’t about road rage or transport. It’s about how we behave in public in the face of disagreeable and inconsiderate behavior. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that there is so much craziness in the world that I really need to pick my battles. Attack me or my family and I’ll defend myself as much as I need to. But I can’t abuse or fight everyone in the City that pisses me off. There’s just too many of them and you never know who the real crazies are. Evidently they could even be cops.

    Easy to say maybe but a little zen never hurt anyone. That idiot in the car is already in his private hell. And all you can control is your own state of mind.

    P.S. Adrienne, I realized that you didn’t know he was a cop at the time. My point was more that that particular person might have actually restrained his response precisely because he was a cop, and knew there were witnesses. It could have been much worse.

    “I lost my mind for a moment” is something that is heard a lot in hospitals, jails and probably would be in morgues too. I was arguing for you keeping your own head cool while all around are losing theirs.

  • cyclotronic

    sometimes it isn’t about educating a driver, sometimes it is about applying stress to the driver. if you measure your application of stress appropriately, you induce a future stress avoidance response. someone who does something foolish and is “scared” by a cyclist is more likely to pay attention and avoid that situation in the future.

    invariably the umbrage a motorist feels towards a cyclist behaving “inappropriately,” ie. running a stop sign, taking the lane, etc., is accompanied by AWARENESS of that cyclist. in my hierarchy of needs, that tops the list.

    i would rather have a driver pissed off and see me than not notice me at all. i only know of one incident personally where a driver intentionally hit a cyclist (for blocking his right hand turn at a red light.) all ther others have the same excuse – “i never saw him” and in each of those incidents the cyclist was comfortable in obeyance of all traffic laws.

    as far as i am concerned, the rules of the road are useful only insomuch as they inform as to how a car is likely to behave, and are followed at your own discretion as a cyclist, subordinate to the rule of “don’t get hit.” sometimes that means i stop at green lights, sometimes that means i “take the yellow” to get out in front, sometimes that means i dig behind the cross traffic on a 4way stop to get behind them instead of trusting, sometimes that means i ride down the middle stripe.

  • JohnB

    Cyclo

    I find it a little worrying when you assert that the rules of the road (AKA the Vehicle Code) only apply “at your discretion” simply because you are one particular type of road user.

    You are in any event entitled to break the law to avoid an immediate accident. That much is understood and accepted by all road users.

    But you appear to be going beyond that and claiming that the rules of the road only apply to you when you decide that they do.

    If everyone did that, there would be anarchy on the roads. Your dismissal of the relevance of the law to you only works, if it ever works at all, because most of the rest of us don’t hold the same attitude.

    A moral code that can only apply to a small minority without chaos, and that relies on the kindness and tolerance of the obedient majority, is not a sustainable or scalable ethical approach. It’s the rationalization of the rebel.

  • keith saggers

    3 cops in a unmarked police car hazed me on my bike on McAllister about 15 years ago

  • Keith- Did you file a report? I am curious as to how many people file reports about these things. If they don’t, I wonder why?

    As to discussions of following laws… as I stated in my post at the blog, this is not a story about bicycling, per se. It is about how a small number of SFPD officers behave toward the public with my story being an example. And even if I had blown through the light and called him the names he called me the most he should have done is written me a ticket.

    People who commit serious crimes are let go all the time because of police misconduct, so this is an important issue that touches all of us no matter how we chose to get around, or even if we flip someone off.

  • cyclotronic

    jo-

    i think you missed my point. did you see the examples? i stop at a green light. if i feel limited visiblity or an imminent light change might make someone left hand turn into me, i’ll stop on a green. or instead of waiting for a courtesy wave through, act like you are turning right and “dig” to the back of a car a a four way intersection instead of passing in front. if the right side of the road is a madhouse, ride down the center stripe. when the lights change, so what if i leave two seconds early of nobody is coming?

    and yes, it is anarchy – if you define anarchy as taking personal responsibility of your actions instead of following the herd. (you probably have the ignorant view of anarchy = mayhem promulgated by mainstream media)

    but back to my point – don’t rest on your smug laurels obeying all the rules, they were written for cars and will get you run over, just ask anyone who has been run over obeying the rules. instead, obey your common sense and the rules as they apply to this. obviously, i’m not recommending breaking the law for its own sake, but rather follow the spirit of the law – which is “do no harm” – and bend it where practical to your situation.

    the most important thing to do is not feel safe under the law just because you are following it. if you are only paying attentoin to the law, or paying attentoin to the law first and formost, you are putting yourself in danger.

    if you like, we can rewrite the vehicle code to suit bicycles, speed limits, etc., and fit cars in around the edges. as it stands, bikes are merely a second thought in the law. the rules of the road are for cars, and i am not a car.

  • cyclotronic

    keith – i had an obese cop on a motorcycle blare his horn right behind me in the Mission for taking the lane at the speed of traffic, less than one block for a sign that said “bicycles are allow full use of the lane.” Make them ride a bicycle beat for a month, they might get some insight and lose some weight too.

  • JohnB: anarchy in the roads? That is the best suggestion I have heard in a _long_ time. Seriously. Even if you weren’t.

  • CBrinkman

    It also resonates with me that if this officer treated Adrienne like that – an english speaking white woman on a nice bike, well dressed etc – how is treating other people? Minorities, non-english speakers, those who look poor. Those whom he arrests? Yikes.

    He should be fired. He is a liability to the City.

  • Shawn Allen

    Any follow-up on this? It’s a disturbing story (even ignoring the fact that the victim was on a bike), and I’d like to know that the perpetrators are being dealt with. Nobody should be afraid to assert their rights and express their frustration to drivers who put their lives at risk, and nobody should be subject to threats by police for doing so. This chips away at the public’s very sense of safety and undermines the efforts of other cops to do their job effectively.

  • keith saggers

    Adrienne
    No i did not file a complaint i am ashamed to say.
    At the time I did not see the point of complaining about cops to cops, maybe today i might be more mature.
    Sincerely
    Keith

  • tommy

    My guess would be that the majority of younger people would never file a police complaint because they know that it is usually a part of cop culture to be aggressive and inappropriately violent, and it is always a part of cop culture to protect one of your own, no matter what. Perhaps, however, liberal yuppie-types, especially of middle age, are less disenchanted with the system for some reason.

    Also, my guess would be that at least 90% of Mexicans, blacks, and Filipinos would never file a complaint, because they, their families members, or their friends have been victims more than once of police profiling and harassment, so when the brutality or false arrest happens, it’s no surprise.

    Also, isn’t what the cops did in this case not merely “threatening” her, but assaulting her? I’m not too knowledgeable of legal terms, but as far as I know, if you’re threatening to seriously injure or kill someone (which is what happens when you knock someone off her moving bike) and you’ve got a weapon (car) and have already displayed an inclination to use it (by driving too close to her), you are committing assault maybe even aggravated assault. I don’t know, maybe not since they didn’t press the issue.

    Anyway, i don’t want to be too negative; Kristin’s story is reason for hope.

  • grosser schwanz

    Most importantly – don’t agree to mediate. Mediation program is a scheme, to lift even a possibility of any sanctions from evil cops.

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