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

June 2, 2010 | 11:34 am

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.