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On Wednesday evening at 8:20 PM on May 30, 2012 I was harassed, intimidated, and insulted under color of uniform by Officer _____ and his partner.
I was waiting to make a U-turn on ________Blvd. on my bicycle. I was in the center left turn lane facing west. It was approximately 8:20 PM, but still light out. All the traffic traveling westbound was clear and I was waiting for the on-coming traffic to clear before turning. I heard a car speeding up behind me and coming very close. As the car passed the driver yelled, “Get out of the f#*king street!” Judging from the kind of language used and the revving of the engine as if to intimidate me, I did not regard the person as someone important and yelled “F#*k you!” over my shoulder only to see that I was yelling at an officer in a patrol car. Upon realizing it was a policeman, it was too late. I had provoked the wrath of the officer and the retaliation was in full swing. The police car made a dramatic high speed U-turn in the middle of _______ Blvd. crossing the full width of the street wheels squealing and smoking. I wasn’t sure what provoked such a burst of testosterone, but I knew I was its intended audience. Still standing and waiting to safely turn from the center left turn lane I did not feel it was safe to cross as a police car was speeding toward me at full speed and screeching to a stop only ten feet from where I was standing. The driver again yelled out of his open window, “Get out of the f%#king street NOW!” I said, “Okay, okay, calm down! I’m going.” As I crossed the street and put my bike on the sidewalk, I turned and saw that the driver of the police car was not relenting in his threatening approach. I was being treated as though I had been caught robbing a bank. He violently pulled the car up in a skewed angle to the curb pointing the front of the vehicle toward me in a threatening way and swung open his door and yelled, “Turn around! Get up against the wall! Put your hands behind your head!” I was amazed and thoroughly embarrassed by this command, but I did it anyway. I wasn’t sure if this officer had mistaken me for someone else, but it was clear that I was going to be arrested for something. The second officer now approached me and asked if I had any identification. I said, “Yes” and reached into the pocket of my shorts to get my license. He immediately scolded me for doing so. “Get your hands out where I can see them!” The driver now storming towards me yelled, “Keep your hands up! Spread your legs!” I was being frisked for the first time in my 47 years for doing absolutely nothing. He asked if I had any sharp objects in my pockets and I said, “No.” He reached into my pocket and removed my driver’s license and I asked him what I had done wrong. He said I was crossing the street illegally. I told him I was making a U-turn from the center lane and that it was legal to do so. He stormed back to his car to check my license yelling, “Do you have any previous convictions or parole violations?” I said, “No, and that I was a very respectful person.” Since the driver whose badge name was _____ did not seem interested in listening to my explanation of why I was in the street. I tried the second officer, a little man with a long name I couldn’t pronounce. He stared at me and asked why I was in the street. I told him I was making a U-turn, a legal U-turn from the center lane and that it was perfectly common for cyclists to do so. He said, “You were in the middle of the street.” And then he added, “You’re not the brightest tool. Are you?” I said, “Now you’re insulting me, sir. That’s not necessary.” He stared blankly at me for a few seconds and then said, “When you’re on a bike, you’re considered a pedestrian.” I politely corrected him surprised at his ignorance of the law. I said, “My bike is considered a moving vehicle, it has a drivetrain and that I was subject to all the laws that cars had to follow. I described the center lane as a legal left turn lane for which to make a U-turn. The driver yelled back that I was in the middle of the street and I admitted, “Yes, I was,” and repeated that I was there legally. Being treated with absolute disregard for my rights, I assumed I had done something wrong and that was why he was so angry. So, I also added that I was sorry if I had caused him some offense. Then the driver said I could turn around, but to keep my hands behind my back. I guessed he’d decided that I wasn’t a terrorist or gangster after checking my identification. He tried a new tactic taking his partner’s lead talking to me as though I were stupid. “So, if you weren’t crossing illegally, how’d you get to the middle of the street?” I told him that I had crossed to the center lane from the right lane just as a car would. Since there was no traffic traveling west and ample room for him to violently swing his patrol car widely to the opposite side of the street at the time. I figured he’d understand that the westbound traffic was clear enough for me to make a lane change safely before he arrived on the scene. I had simply been waiting for the on-coming traffic to clear and that’s when he saw me. I had my front and back lights flashing on my bike and my reflective gear on. So there could be no danger involved. Officer _____ stormed back up to me handing me my license saying, “Just be more careful next time.” I said I would and that I was a very respectful person. The last thing Officer _______ said to me as he got back into his police car was that he knew I had not observed who he was before returning my insult. This implies that he was, in fact, trying to intimidate a cyclist whose only offense was that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time according to Officer _______.
Please check your records and videotape for these dates and times. I was bullied unjustly by Officer _______ and his partner under color of uniform. I consider this a serious offense by the _____Police Department. and I my only wish is that respectable people be allowed to come and go without harassment or over-reaching authority in their own neighborhood. There aren’t any bike lanes on _______ Boulevard in the entire stretch between ________ St. and _______ Blvd. Cyclists are risking enough hazard without this kind of bullying. This is an obviously misuse of authority and an unjustified stop-and-frisk under force of authority.