City and County Refuse to Pass Charges Againt Cayene Driver Who Hit Ed Magos and Ran

1_6_10_hirsch.jpgPhoto: Ross Hirsch

(Update: Tuesday, 2/23/10 at 8:02 A.M. - I had a chance to talk with Magos' lawyer over email last night and he confirmed that the LAPD sent the case to both the District Attorney and City Attorney; so in this case the LAPD isn't to blame.  I'm going to leave the text below unchanged so that the anyone reading through won't be confused by the comments section.)

On January 6, city employee and East Hollywood Neighborhood Council member Ed Magos was biking to work when he was hit by a Porsche Cayenne. The driver got out of her vehicle, checked briefly on the prone cyclist sprawled out in the street, ignored Magos' pleas for help and drove off. Magos was seriously injured and was carted away by the paramedics. The driver reported to an LAPD branch later in the day, reported she "might have hit something," and was let go with her license and expensive SUV still in her possession.

Today the LACBC released the information we were waiting for all along, the City is refusing to press charges against the driver for either the vicious crash or unconscious-able hit and run. Shortly after the crash, the LAPD accidentally handed a press release to Voice Newspapers' Carlos Morales stating that the incident wasn't a hit and run, despite the driver hitting Magos and fleeing the scene. After it was easily proven that there is no way the crash could not be classified as a hit and run by a conscientious and competent police department, The LAPD then spent the better part of a week backing away from their own release.

I guess the good news from all this is that the LAPD can't be accused of giving preferential treatment to a city staffer over a Latino kid when it comes to getting slammed into by an SUV. They show similar disinterest in pursuing cases against a hummer driver hit and running Andres Tena as they do Ed Magos getting plowed into by a Porsche SUV.

The release from the Bike Coalition, lamenting the city's boredom with this whole "hit and run" thing and announcing a protest ride to Wednesday's Transportation Committee hearing starring LAPD Chief Charlie Beck can be found in its entirety after the jump. However, of particular note is the shocked reaction from Magos and his attorney to the city's lack of concern.

"In what appears to be a clear case of hit-and-run, it has been discouraging to see that inflicting pain and injury in this manner can go without consequence or justice. I have come to find out that I needed to die or be paralyzed in order for this to be an event of note," states Ed Magos in response to the City's decision not to prosecute.

"It's unfortunate for Ed, his family, and all cyclists on the streets of LA that, once again, a driver that hit a cyclist and fled the scene will incur no criminal penalties or prosecution." Ross Hirsch, Magos's attorney and local cycling advocate said that, "It's also unfortunate that because of the driver's apparent lack of insurance that yet another cyclist may be left holding the bag for personal injury and property damage suffered as a result of this driver's actions," added Hirsch.

The entire press release can be found after the jump.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) announced today that it will host a bicycle ride and protest on Wednesday, February 24th in honor of downed cyclist and City employee Ed Magos and other victims of hit-and-run collisions whose cases have been unjustly treated. The ride will begin in East Hollywood and end at City Hall where the cyclists will join others for the LA City Council Transportation Committee Meeting. All are invited to join the cyclists to demand that our law enforcement authorities give equal treatment to cyclists who are victims of hit and run collisions.

Cyclists will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of Melrose and Heliotrope in Hollywood and follow Ed Magos' regular bicycle commute to City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. At the end of the ride, participants will join LACBC at the LA City Council Transportation Committee Meeting at City Hall in room 1010. Cyclists and supporters will address police Chief Charlie Beck and Councilmembers to let them know that as citizens of Los Angeles, they will no longer tolerate being marginalized; victims of inadequate police investigations never to see their cases prosecuted, and must be given equal treatment as anyone else under the law.

The decision to ride was sparked by Ed Magos's recent hit-from-behind on his commute to work while traveling on 2nd Street near Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. The motorist stopped, got out of her car, looked at Ed's prone and injured body lying in the street, and ignoring Magos's cries for help, got back in her car and drove away-leaving Magos lying helpless until the LAFD Paramedics arrived to take him to Good Samaritan Hospital. The driver did not speak or render any aid to Magos at the scene. State law defines this as felony hit and run. A passerby who called 911 wrote down the car's license number. When officers arrived on the scene, in spite of the eyewitness testimony, the officer erroneously listed the incident as a "traffic accident."

The motorist later went to an LAPD station and stated that she thought she might have hit "something." She was allowed to walk out of the station without incarceration, citation, or penalty.

The Los Angeles City Attorney and District Attorney's offices have declined bringing any charges against the driver.

"In what appears to be a clear case of hit-and-run, it has been discouraging to see that inflicting pain and injury in this manner can go without consequence or justice. I have come to find out that I needed to die or be paralyzed in order for this to be an event of note," states Ed Magos in response to the City's decision not to prosecute.

"It's unfortunate for Ed, his family, and all cyclists on the streets of LA that, once again, a driver that hit a cyclist and fled the scene will incur no criminal penalties or prosecution." Ross Hirsch, Magos's attorney and local cycling advocate said that, "It's also unfortunate that because of the driver's apparent lack of insurance that yet another cyclist may be left holding the bag for personal injury and property damage suffered as a result of this driver's actions," added Hirsch.

News of this flagrant injustice spread quickly throughout the cycling community. LACBC, one of the groups advocating for cyclists in LA County, is bringing concerned cyclists together the best way they know how, riding together to show the City that Ed Magos and other victims like him are not alone. "As cyclists, we are united in a common cause of justice and equal treatment on the streets of LA. We are no longer going to be pushed to the side," says Jen Klausner, LACBC's Executive Director.

According to an LAPD 2008 (09) Statistical Report 23 % of collisions involving bicyclists are hit-and -runs. With the rise in number of cyclists we see on the road, this is increasingly becoming an issue on our streets.

"What's frustrating is the public sees cyclists as a minority that operates outside the law, and that if they get hurt they had it coming to them," states Aaron Freeman, a bicycle commuter. "That attitude is unacceptable coming from anyone, but criminal when it comes from the LAPD and the DA's office. Hopefully, with this ride, we can demand that this be the last time a cyclist falls through the cracks of justice."

Ed Magos will not be able to attend the ride, as he is still recovering from his injuries and unable to ride his bicycle.

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Founded in 1998, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is the only non-profit organization working countywide for L.A. County's 3 million cyclists through advocacy, education and outreach. LACBC brings together the diverse bicycling community in a united mission to make the entire L.A. region a safe and enjoyable place to ride.

For information and registration go to www.labike.org, or call 213-629-2142.

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