LAPD: Cyclist “Ran Into the Side of Hummer” (From Behind)
In a video that shows that no matter how illogical their finding, the LAPD will closed ranks when someone tries to point it out, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese went to City Hall yesterday to tell the Council how when a cyclist is rear-ended, it's the cyclists fault.
Albanese, who was not present at the scene of the assault a couple weeks back when a H3 rear-ended a cyclist in on Los Angeles Avenue after midnight, seems to not only have a problem with cyclists, but with the basic laws of physics. When other cyclists in the group tried to stop him until the police could come, the hummer plowed through the cyclists in front of the vehicle, destroying their bikes and dragging one a couple of blocks.
After a group of angry cyclists visited the Police Commission, the LAPD Inspector General and swarmed a Van Nuys meeting of the City Council on May Day, the LAPD finally responded yesterday. Albanese stood by the "official report" repeatedly using the "stature" of the LAPD to sweep aside Council Woman Janice Hahn's questions about the crash and the incompetent report. Honestly, the video speaks for itself. The quality may not be very good, but take the time and watch it.
If I seem biased towards the cyclists and against the LAPD; consider that Andres Tena, the victim of the hummer driver's attack, was thrown forward when the impact happened and could feel the hummer as it went past him.
If you believe the LAPD, that Tena "ran into the side of the hummer" then you have to believe that Tena, who was wearing light colored clothing and had a rear light on his bike, backed into the side of the hummer with such force as to throw him forward. His bike is destroyed from the rear, his injuries were consistent with being thrown forward; so the laws of physics, laws which the LAPD has no jurisdiction, don't back him sideswiping the H3.
Albanese also mentions repeatedly the three independent witnesses "who saw the whole thing" from a local apartment building who verified the story of the H3 drivers and passengers, that a cyclist rammed their hummer and then others threw their bikes at it. That there are other witnesses who Officer Cho and the other responding officers refused to take statements from was not included anywhere in his testimony. When Hahn asks why the LAPD believes three people who witnessed the incident from afar over fifteen people that witnessed it first hand; Albanese basically says the LAPD doesn't believe them because they were riding bikes or "affiliated with the cyclist" as he put it.
The irony, is I had the opportunity to ride with Tena this morning in one of the unofficial "Bike to Work" rides. When I asked him about the attack and the LAPD's reaction, his reaction wasn't one of anger or bitterness. He just smiled and wished that the streets would be safe for everyone to ride in and expressed relief that his injuries weren't more serious. The picture of Tena, a happy and safe cyclist versus the maniac portrayed above by Albanese is striking.
If I had to decide between taking Tena's word, backed by the laws of physics, or the LAPD's, backed by a H3 driver who was dragging a bike under his hummer and three people that claimed to be staring out their window for no reason at two in the morning; I'll take Tena's anyday.