It’s Been a Year, When Are We Going to See the “Bike v Hummer” Report?

6_25_09_hummer.jpgThe LAPD testified that this hummer had full license plates at a City Council hearing. Were they lying, or hadn’t the officer looked at the pictures that had been submitted? Photo: Luis

Yesterday, San Francisco Streetsblog reported on a SFPD officer harassing a cyclist and the horror that it would take nine months for the case to get a full review. As much as I sympathize with the cyclist, all I could think of is, "nine months, that’s it?"

The story reminded me that next week it will have been a year since a hummer driver ran down Andres Tena from behind and ran through a group of cyclists. A member of LA’s "finest" allegedly wrote a report on the incident squarely placing the blame on the hospitalized cyclist and his friends and not the hummer that was eventually stopped by the LAPD while dragging a bicycle underneath it’s rear axle.

What followed next was a profound stonewalling effort that has included ignoring at least two public information requests from media outlets, Streetsblog and LAist, and the City Council for a copy of the report. Four times the LAPD appeared at City Council hearings to discuss their handling of the case, and Council Members Perry, Rosendahl, LaBonge and Greuel all requested that the LAPD bring copies of the report with them. Four times, that request was ignored.

Meanwhile, the LAPD did bring a packet of mis-information, often saying things about the incident that were easily proven to be wrong. Yet, the reporting officer not only hasn’t been reprimanded for his at-best completley shoddy work; he apparently has time to make phone calls to USC Journalism students and laugh about how bad he is at his job.

This weekend, a man who identified himself as Officer Cho, but who refused to give his first name, called from the LA City Hall phone number and confirmed that he really did say that. He laughed at the memory of that night. He didn’t "particularly like" the cyclists he spoke with, he recalled. And he said that I also would have hit the cyclist had I been driving the Hummer (For the record: I would totally run people over if I had to drive a Hummer, but not on purpose). But Cho insisted there was more to the story.

"Just so you know, your cyclist friends were drunk," he said.

Odd, that the cyclists were "drunk" was never revealed before and Tena, the hospitalized cyclist, claimed that he hadn’t a drink that night.  It would be interesting to see if the drunkenness is part of the LAPD’s secret report on the crash.

So for all the olive branches and committee hearings the LAPD offered in past months, let’s remember one thing.  It will take nine months for a cyclist to have a review of a loutish SFPD officer up North.  In the Southland, it’s been over a year, four City Council hearings, one police commission hearing, and one secret report later and Officer Cho is still on the job and laughing about how his personal biases effect his policing.  And nothing’s being done about it.

  • My understanding is that no one will be charged in the Hummer Incident. LAPD never seriously considered submitting for filing charges against the driver – they have told us that an independent witness said that a cyclist ran into the hummer. LAPD was looking into charging cyclists for vandalism for throwing a bike at the hummer, but never submitted for filing because they couldn’t identify a specific cyclist to charge with vandalism.

    I don’t know where the complaint is at, but the complaint process seems to be a sham, so I don’t anticipate anything coming out of it.

  • Greg

    Has the bicyclist struck began a civil suit against/received an insurance settlement from the driver?

  • Two police commission hearings.

    I don’t know if Tena is suing or not.

  • la rider

    Sue. The only way things get done is through lobbyists. Once we as bicyclists sue and enough money is recovered from insurance companies. They (insurance companies) will eventually lobby on our behalf. Our government is corrupt, let get one of the most corrupt industries on our side.

  • asphalt_juheesus!!!

    That’s the LAPD I grew up with cycling in L.A. in the 80’s and 90’s. The DA won’t touch it for a million reasons..

    1. Penalties aren’t severe
    2. It’s not a slam-dunk win for the DA.
    3. LAPD won’t produce the evidence.

    Civil litigation is about the only way forward.

    This one is DOA. It’s been abandoned by the leadership at LAPD because there are *zero* consequences for letting it die. The cop’s career is safe.

    All the moral outrage won’t change a thing….

    It’s time to change the laws.

  • Omri

    If you don’t what this to die, don’t let it. The community has to make sure EVERY time an LAPD representative comes to a municipal hearing, there is someone there to ask “why has nothing happened regarding Officer Steven Cho’s conduct in the Hummer incident of last year, where the is known to have lied in his report, as proven by photos of the incident, probably covered up an attempted murder, and boasted of his conduct afterwards?”

    Every time. Don’t let the LAPD show up in any public event without someone there to ask this.