Who Acted Worse? The Hummer Driver or the LAPD?

4_27_09_bike_hummer.jpgCyclists are known for throwing their bikes under moving hummers.  Photo: Matt Stilline

For anyone that doesn’t think there’s a bias against cyclists from the Los Angeles Police Department, they should check out this first hand report from Dr. Alex Thompson at Westside BikeSIDE of a hummer running through a group of cyclists from behind multiple times, putting some of them in the hospital, dragging a bike several blocks and then having the LAPD officers on the scene bizarrely blame the cyclists.

The incident occurred at 2:00 A.M. Friday morning, and perhaps more horrific than the crash itself is the reaction of Officer Cho, who seemingly believed that the people surrounded by 2,000 pounds of steel were threatened by a dozen unarmed people on bicycles.  That the hummer’s inhabitants actually threatened to return "60 crips deep" didn’t seem to register to Officer Cho as a threat.

So, you have an SUV filled with gang-bangers, running through a group of cyclists and this is the best the LAPD can offer as a response:

After a large group of police officers interviewed the witnesses and the suspects they released the driver, who drove off without a ticket.  Officer Cho, the officer in charge at the scene then approached the cyclists.  He first told the group:

Get everyone together because I don’t want to say this
twice.   If anyone says anything I’m gonna walk away and I’m not going
to talk to you guys.  Based on the evidence right now it looks like the
cyclist hit the car, not that the car hit the cyclist.

Cyclist then argued with him, pointing out that the driver of the
Hummer was dislodging a bicycle from underneath his vehicle when the
police pulled him over.  Officer Cho then responded, saying “if it had
been me with my family in that car, I’d have done the same thing, and I
carry a gun in my car.”

Wait, was that quote not offensive enough to tickle your outrage bone?  Well, how about this one?  While it’s reported at Westside BikeSIDE! this is from an eyewitness that is not Alex Thompson:

Sometime between when the police stopped him and they ran over the
bikes, the black man in the white long t shirt got out of the car and
started to walk back towards 7th and Los Angeles. I urged the police
officer that this man was guilty of a crime and claimed to have had a
gun, but the police officer told me ”Did you see a gun?” I told him
that I believed the man and that I didn’t need visual verification to be
terrified. The officer then told me quote ”I have a lightsaber, do you
believe me?” and walked away.

First it was ticketing pedestrians for crossing against a flashing red hand to improve pedestrian safety at lights where cars run reds habitually, then it was bike licenses, and now this.  Maybe they should amend their slogan to "To protect and to serve, as long as you own and are driving a car."

  • KateNonymous

    This is disgraceful, and I’m glad it’s getting blog coverage. I’m sorry I’m not seeing in the L.A. Now blog at the L.A Times, much less finding it through a search of their site. What does the L.A. Times do, again?

  • Sadly, this is nothing unexpected. I learned a long time ago that I can count on the support and protection of the LAPD in just about any situation, unless I happen to be on my bike at the time; in that case, we’re on our own.

    As Kate noted above, it’s ironic that the Times featured a front page article about the road rage death of a pedestrian killed in Hollywood crosswalk last November, but not a word about this. The only real difference is in the severity of the injuries and the sympathetic nature of the victim. Instead of a sweet-natured jazz pianist, it was just some bicyclists, who — in the minds of some law enforcement officers — seem to deserve whatever happens to them.

  • It was 2 am and the cyclists might have been a rowdy bunch, but thia situation is intolerable. That vehicle, the Hummer, was being used as a weapon. The LAPD have killed people for doing less with a car.

  • That’s horrifying. And it doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    Shame on Officer Cho.

  • Vineman

    Officer Cho is a moron. In his mind groups of bicyclists roam the US raping and pillaging the general public.

    I can’t really figure out why the LAPD choses to enforce only those laws which politically suit them. Kinda sounds like Orwells Animal Farm – All pigs are created equal but some are more equal than others. By the way – only a reference to the quote from the book, not a commentary on law enforcement.

  • bliss

    “To protect and to serve, as long as you own and are driving a car.” add: you are a gang banger with a gun. the streets of LA belong to criminals and the police protect the criminals.

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