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LAPD officers accused of clashing with bicyclists relieved of field duty during probe

Four police officers involved in a clash with cyclists in Hollywood during a mass bicycle ride have been removed from the field while investigators review the incident, an LAPD official said Wednesday.

Police launched an internal investigation into the Friday night episode after a video circulated that appeared to show an officer kicking at a passing bicyclist during a protest ride against BP's role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

Officers were at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue to ticket cyclists who failed to stop at red lights, he said.

The video, which was posted on YouTube with the title “Hollywood Cops Attack Bike Riders,” inflamed many bicycle activists, who have complained about mistreatment at the hands of the LAPD. Several dozen cyclists complained to officials Tuesday at a monthly meeting of the city’s bicycle advisory committee.

Among the attendees was LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who told cyclists the investigation would be a “high-priority issue,” said Aurisha Smolarski of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. Officers took statements from witnesses at the meeting.

At a meeting with bicycling activists in February, Beck vowed to make the LAPD more responsive to the rights of cyclists and to have officers crack down on motorists who disrespected cyclists' right to the road.

-- Kate Linthicum

Note: Video below contains foul language.

 
Comments () | Archives (78)

beck should worry more about his departments blatent disregard for the rights of citizens than about talkin trash bout the Arizona illegal immigrant law...and i stress the word ILLEGAL!!! why doesn't beck focus more on his duty to protect the citizens than about his future political ambitions!!!

What a surprise, cops abusing their power just because they have a badge. I am glad I didn't become a cop. Sheltered people are they...

The accused officer was probally trying to help the citizen place his kick stand back up after it was left down as he passed the group of officers. Having your kick stand down while riding is a real danger. It is easy to assume they (officers ) were up to no good.

What we do know is the majority of riders were having a good time and enjoying the evening. What is not talked about amongst the riders themselves is those who deliberatly ignore the rules of the road and place everyone else in harms way. The riders who take up both lanes purposely hoping to irritate drivers using the other lane.

It is easy to assume the bike riders are the victims, but in fact they are victims and idiots. Some of them are having a good time, but other s are bullies looking for a fight (idiots)...

You know who you are! We have seen you! AND NOW you are accusing the police of harassment-hypocrite.

The police should just let you ride at night and through red lights and get hit and left for dead, but that is uncivilized. See in a civilized society we have expectations for everyone to obey the law!

The police and bike riders!!!

I love how drivers come out of the wood work with complaints about people who ride a bike of all things.

How about complaining about the stupid drivers that are 99% of your problems on the road?!

Here's a few, please pile on it's amusing how dumb people in cars can be...

The woman putting on make-up in front of you, the guy eating with two hands driving with his knees, the coffee drinking smoker guy that can't seem to keep his hands on the wheel, the family watching TV in their vehicle, the person on the phone/texting, the person in the fast lane driving way under the speed limit, the person who doesn't wait for pedestrians to walk across the street, the drunk driver who just missed your car and smashed into another, the person that always slow-goes a stop sign or runs a redlight, the guy who never stops to take a right/left turn into oncoming traffic, the guy that's running amok in a high speed chase, the person who didn't check his blind spot and just ran into your car, the guy that tailgates everyone...and on and on!!!

Bikers aren't your problem wake up and share the road, it's the law.

Regards,

A Driver

my real problem arises from the fact that the camera guy was immediately thrown to the ground and arrested for pointing out the fact that the officer just kicked someone. There is your violation of a peaceful protester; no crime was committed or threat made by him and he was still falsely imprisoned.

Equal treatment under the law...it is the law.

LAPD doesn't tackle a car driver out of their car when making a traffic stop. Neither do they attempt to damage the car (putting a baton in the spokes will damage a bike) or drag the car driver out of the car, handcuff them and sit them on the curb to be humiliated by the public. That's what happens to bicyclists all the time. Do we need a Bicyclists Civil Rights Act?

This treatment spills over to the car culture. Imagine commuting everyday to work, then having someone put a gun in your face and threatening your life?
That happens to bicyclists all the time. They are regularly threatened by angry car drivers who swerve their cars towards them in a threatening and harassing manner. They are constantly pelted with glass bottles and other projectiles. Do bicyclists get help from the police? No. When bicycle victims of felony assaults or threats call into report it, they are told to come into the station and fill out a report. The police don't go out and search for the perpetrators. These maniacs continue to drive on the street and continue the threaten bicyclists. Why?!

The bicyclist is a second-class citizen. A vulnerable user of the streets. They are treated worse than animals going to a slaughter house. When will they be given the same rights, protections and privileges that the law says they have?
It's amazing that bicyclists have taken this treatment for so long and never caused civil unrest, like other people who were treated unfairly and inequitably in our history. Let's not wait until they can't take it anymore. Treat them fair, give them equal protection under the law, and stop threatening them with death and bodily harm.

Don’t be too quick to condemn the LAPD over this incident. I work for a city that had to deal with these Critical Mass riders in the early morning hours a few months ago. There were upwards of 150+ riders who completely took over our downtown city streets and were blatantly violating laws by shouting and yelling, riding down the middle of the street, riding in the opposing lanes of traffic, jumping medians, etc. While this was happening about 30 to 40 riders broke away from the pack and went to a local 24 hour grocery store. They all dumped their bikes by the main entrance and completely overwhelmed the store’s staff by their sheer numbers. A number of these riders shoplifted beer, other liquor, and snacks. When police officers attempted to stop some of these riders for the numerous traffic infractions witnessed the riders shouted obscenities and fled from the police. Most of those that they did manage to stop fought with officers and had to be restrained. Overall, and very undisciplined and aggressive group of young people. Again, don’t be too quick to judge the LAPD until all the facts are out.

So I send this link to my friend in NY.

He responds with:

http://videosift.com/video/NYPD-Ravages-Cyclist-in-Time-Square

To anyone who thinks the man on the bike had it coming, trust me he didn't do anything to provoke the police.How do I know This? I am the man in the dark blue hat,and army green jacket next to the rider when he gets hit.And it is intresting that I was a witness to it and ended up being tackled by the same cops that tackled the camera man except I was on Vine. Sounds like someone took it personal when I witnessed his bad judgement and came after me, and that's one thing cops should not do; is to take things personal.

Cops etc are paid by our tax dollars...they should be accountable to us! If it means that there actions while out in uniform are captured well be it...they shouldn't be able get away with that type of behavior. They've done it for so many years...its time to be accountable.

This is what happens when you have idiots w/a high school education running around w/badges and guns.

Don't worry. the justice system has it all under control. They are making it illegal to photograph cops.

jam soup not sure what you think you are talking about but lets get on thing straight not all people who live and work in L.A. are losers. Try looking in the mirror and you will see the real loser. Secondly the cops they are out of control and the only people that will be able to do anything about it is the people that they harrass and abuse. They need to be more vocal and kudos to the guy who took the video. he was standing up for what he knows is the right thing to do and that is document the police actions no matter what happens.

People are unbelievably inconsiderate to people on bicycles. By the way, just like pedestrians, cyclists have a God given right to be on the street. This pay-to-play world that the pro-car people have the idea that they own the streets because they pay gas tax is absurd. Cars and drivers do not have this right -- they are licensed by the state. It doesn't take me 10 minutes to observe some driver breaking the law -- cell phones, red lights, unsafe turns. It does not take a genius to figure out what kind of d-bags drive mercedes or bmw, and what kind of people ride bikes to work. This cop should also have his license revoked permanently.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you in my first post that I am an LAPD Police Officer. All you that are shouting "These guys should be fired" need to re-examine. Aren't we ALL innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?? Or does that not apply to the police? I looked at the video and saw a guy attempt to kick a bicyclist. You can't tell how close the guy on the bike came to the officer. Maybe he swerved at the last minute and the officer was trying to protect himself. Or, maybe not.. You cant tell from the video. I deal with these Midnight Riders all the time. They ride with disregard to public safety, run red lights and often cause traffic accidents. Sometimes they enter businesses in the area and terrorize the business owners and steal everything in sight. I try and cite as many as possible when I come in contact with them..

we have a new definition for "biker gangs"....cyclists are complaining its dangerous to share the road with cars and buses...WELL DUH!! ride your bike at your own risk...if you want to share the roads..then share the responsibility...follow the laws (red lights..stop signs) and stop riding in large packs and blocking intersections....its obviously become a statement to hop on your bike and join others in thumbing your nose at authority...get a life..or at least a car

In response to Tom Jones' argument I'd like to point out that attempting to kick a passing bicyclist for any reason apart from assault is at best a juvenile reaction especially given the diversity of tactics that authortiy makes available to law enforcement. Did they pursue this person for doing something wrong in an attempt to charge him for this supposed wrong doing? No, instead they turned their attention to a camera man. This honestly appears to me to be little more than the employment of tactics of intimidation akin to something you might find in a high school locker room and I expect better.

"picked out that guy for a reason..." LA, you so crazy!!

I would just like to respond to some of my favorite anti-bicycling comments:

"Cyclists don't stop at red lights or stop signs!"

Well neither do motorists or pedestrians. Sit at any intersection for about five minutes and count how many folks of any wheeled variation disobey the lights or signs. Do it right now. I dare you.

"But they're creating traffic!"

What do you think you're doing in your car on your 9am commute to work?

"They think they're better than everyone else!"

So do you. So do I. So does anyone on the road - anyone. I don't know what it is about driving in LA, but everyone thinks his or her right is holier. When I'm in my car, I'm annoyed with other drivers. When I'm on my bike, I'm annoyed with drivers, pedestrians, and even other cyclists. When I'm walking, I'm annoyed with cars and cyclists who ride on the sidewalk. We're humans, we're selfish, we're concerned with only our own needs...it's an evolved trait that has helped our species survive millions of years. Check yourself.

"Cyclists don't pay for the roads they use!"

Okay, so then what exactly were those checks I sent back in April to the IRS and State of California for? Should people have to register and get a license to walk on the sidewalk? Know what you should be more pissed about? The fact that so many of the roads are so torn up that I don't even want to drive them and guess what...you're paying for them to sit there like that.

"They shouldn't have provoked it!"

Did you know this country is founded on protest and provocation? England was not exactly pleased to see us go. If people had that mindset about a hundred years ago, you would be sitting down to tea time right about now. Protest is a part of this nation's landscape, it's what sets us apart from a lot of other countries. Protest is an impetus for change and change is always good. Protests often involve provocation...it's called thinking and questioning authority, and it's good for you.

If you're predominately a motorist, you should be angry. You should be so angry that you ride a bicycle. There's a bunch of rich old dudes profiting from your addiction to the pump, and Los Angeles is an enabling city. No I don't like showing up to work sweaty and having to get in 30 minutes early to freshen up...but the exercise sure beats the hundred bucks a week I'd be spending on gas (And maybe another hundred for a gym membership).

Positions of authority require checks and balances. Just like some cyclists are idiot jerks, some cops are too, and both require vigilance on our part to make sure everyone is following the rules. After all, what if this happens to you?

Better make sure you've got your camera ready.

Shouting and yelling is a violation of the law? Can you quote that statute, Frank?

These bicycle riders apparently forgot that we live in a civilized society that is governed by laws that are designed to protect all of our citizens. The riders endangered others and themselves by riding their bikes through red lights and displayed a total disregard for the rules of the road. They showed contempt for the officers when officers confronted them to restore some form of order. Yet when the police use any type of force to restore that order, the bicycle riders immediately scream excessive force. The police officers are damned if they do and damned if they dont. They are in a no win situation when they dont get the backing of their supervisors.

Alongside our natural ability to empathize with others, we also have a need for others’ kindness, which runs like a thread throughout our whole life. It is most
apparent when we are young and when we are old, but we have only to fall ill to
be reminded how important it is to be loved and cared about, even in our prime
years.

Sluggh,

To answer for Frank, the correct section for yelling and shouting is 415 of the Penal Code. It is a violation as long as it is disturbing someone else, etc, as appears to be in his scenario as well as in this scenario. There you go buddy. Maybe you should just look it up next time.

cops r corrupt.

I didn't know kicking was proper police procedure? We are talking about adults here, right? I know 3 year olds who know that is not an appropraite response, so what's the cop's excuse?

 
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