Breaking News: Christopher Thompson Found Guilty on All Charges

laist_3.jpgA different picture from a different day.  Today Peterson is healthy and Thompson is facing jail time.

H/T Roadblock of the Midnight Ridazz,and Stephen Box.

The jury brought back "guilty" verdicts for Dr. Christopher Thompson on six felonies, and one misdemeanor stemming from his July 4, 2008 assault on two cyclists riding down Mandeville Canyon.  Thompson’s request that he be released on bail has been denied.  He was found guilty of 2 counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (245a) 2 counts of Battery
with Serious Bodily Injury (243d) reckless driving (23103a) and
reckless driving causing specified injury (23105a) and Mayhem (203).  Thompson faces up to ten years in prison for the charges and will be sentenced on December 3.

In the meantime you can catch up on Streetsblog’s complete coverage here, L.A. Now is reporting on the case here, and Velo News, who has taken the lead reporting on this case, has their analysis here.

  • Dana

    Finally! Was getting scared that a jury might not get it right. Pfew!

  • Erik G.

    But will he serve time, or get a slap on the wrist like Mister Weller of Santa Monica?

  • Rich Wilson

    Considering he wasn’t even granted bail, I’m guessing the judge thinks Dr. T is dangerous enough to not be out driving.

  • Lets hope this is a turning point in traffic justice nationally. I don’t know of another case like this anywhere in the US that has ever made it to a guilty verdict. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • eric

    five of the six charges were felonies, it would be safe to say he will be doing time in prison. The fact that the judge would not release him on bail prior to his being sentenced says a lot.

  • Glen Youngman

    Both sides got what they deserve… aggressive drivers, inconsiderate bicyclists… I am glad at the final outcome.

    Peterson: Learn how to be courteous to cars and their drivers, obey the law. I hope you are reminded of your selfishness when you feel your face every day for the rest of your life.

    Thompson: Being a vigilante is dangerous and I’m glad that you got the punishment you deserved. I hope you are reminded of your recklessness every day you spend in jail.

  • @Glen Youngman –

    I’m curious as to what your evidence or opinion is that Peterson was disobeying the law, and how he was “selfish”.

  • Glenn!

    Huh?!?! What?!?!

    “Both sides got what they deserve… aggressive drivers, inconsiderate bicyclists… I am glad at the final outcome.”

    GPS evidence that the prosecutor brought forth (from the bicyclists GPS units) showed the cyclists’ speed to be around 27 and 28mph right before the assault. As a veteran cyclist and LCI I will tell you that at that speed the proper place for the cyclists was in the middle of the road, taking the lane. It is even more important to take the lane on curvy road at speed because a cyclist needs the extra room to navigate the road safely.

    I ask you, Glenn, would you ever consider passing a car or a motorcycle traveling 28 to 27mph on a curvy 35mph road in a no-passing zone? How does riding a bike require the overtaking driver to pass and for the cyclist to give way?


  • Glen Youngman

    If you ever break your face in an accident, use this section of the law books to cover your wounds… quit being so smug… both sides were at fault… the only difference is that Thompson’s act was a felony.


  • At fault implies that Peterson caused his own injury. Name one thing to support your position…

  • Pants Yabbies

    How is a bicycle travelling 27-28 mph on a 30 mph road a slow-moving vehicle?

    Also, CVC 21654(a) reads “as far to the right as practicable”. As Andy B stated, the middle of the lane is the safest place when travelling this fast.

    Glen, I’m curious to know how much you ride or walk your city (or are you just trolling)?

    I think that most cyclists take umbrage with being found at fault so much when we get shoved off of the road daily by several-thousand-pound vehicles on a daily basis. Granted I can be rude and aggressive at times, but curtailing that behavior only serves not to egg people into getting out of their cars looking for a fight. When I’m polite and assertive I still get buzzed and right-hooked constantly.

  • Ace

    Did the GPS records show that the bikers sped up or slowed down in the exchange of words? I don’t know the answer.

    Many parts of the world when you tell someone to “F” off or yell something at them, you can expect to get hit. Unfortuneately in this case it was with a car. (I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the jury said yes.) I personally believe that he was trying to scare them.

    I know for a fact that residents of mandival canyon have a long historic problem and continue to have a problem with bikers. I don’t know if the “victims” are included in this. I have heard that the police have been asked to monitor bikers in mandival canyon (before and after incident) for their “militant behavior”. This was only partially admissable in court to my understanding.

    It is my understanding that the civil suit was settled months ago. Insurance companies agreed that it was an ACCIDENT. I don’t believe this was admissable in court. Typically insurance companies will deny a claim of their own insured if they believe that their insured was intentional in their actions.

    One of state’s witnesses just concocted a story about having a run in with Thompson on a date when Thompson was working or out of town. What is his punishment for perjury? Will the states attorney charge him when he was a witness for her? Doubt it.

    The state had a recorded telephone conversation of one of the witnesses. Is it illegal to record a phone conversation without someone’s approval? Yes, it is. Was it admissed as evidence? Yes, it was. Will anyone (I believe it was the police or state’s attorney who made recording) be prosecuted for illegally taping a conversation? I doubt it.

  • “Many parts of the world when you tell someone to “F” off or yell something at them, you can expect to get hit.”

    Fortunately we don’t live in one of them. Or would that be your preference?

    “I personally believe that he was trying to scare them.”

    So you consider this acceptable behavior at 30 MPH? A drunk driver who fails to kill someone is no better than a drunk driver who causes deaths – he’s just luckier. That’s why additional charges were levied in the incidents that didn’t cause physical injury.

    “Typically insurance companies will deny a claim of their own insured if they believe that their insured was intentional in their actions.”

    This depends on how much it costs them to deny the claim, and the size of the claim. Insurance Companies are businesses, not trial courts. If Peterson had died, the claim could run into the millions and you can bet that the Insurance company would be fighting. As it stands, even though the picture was horrific the total costs were probably minimal. I was hit by a driver and her insurance company just paid the bills and cut me a ten thousand dollar check for my trouble, without really even trying to investigate fault – in a case where I had no police report to back me up.

  • Keep in mind that a posted speed limit is the FASTEST you should be traveling. It is not necessarily the speed you should be traveling at, just the speed you should not exceed.

  • Jose

    I agree that some bikers are getting a little militant. There is a d-bag on Youtube under the name Socomcorky who at one time had videos posted where he would bait cars into altercations.

    Car drivers should share the road with safety and bikers should share the road with courtesy.

    Bikers need to obey laws just as much as cars, be courteous to one another and if you are holding a car up, let them pass because it is the neighborly thing to do.

    Bicycles should have registration numbers on them so citizens can report reckless riders, that would make this small percentage of bike riders accountable for giving us a bad name.

  • After spending a sufficient time in jail, his probation should include getting all his transportation by bicycle

  • After a sufficient time in jail, his probation should require that he does all his transportation by bicycle

  • Like on the KPCC report on November 3, 2009, this topic brings out the douche bags amongst us who assume that everyone on a bike is some sports fiend putting in their miles.

    I wonder, do I even figure into their assertions about cyclists when I’m shopping on my bike? Riding my daughter to see her mom at lunch time on my days off, or to the park, or out to the bank on an errand?

    You clowns have turned someone using a bicycle into some bizarre stereotype of a thin, male, riding an expensive bike in tight clothes – I live and work around cyclists all day long, and those guys are very few and far between in the circles I ride in.

    This whole “those bike riders are selfish/reckless/etc.” line is indicative of a deep an abiding ignorance in the factual state of affairs in our streets. Wake up – this is not about sport cycling, but about the basic rules of civil life in the city.

    You may sit in your little metal shell pretending that you’re an independent little cog, doing your duty as a consumer – but you’re a belching prick to those that have to put up with the infrastructure and planning associated with the device you are paid (collectively through state subsidies) to use.

  • what josef said.

  • Interestingly, the normally pro-car, anti-mass transit John & Ken show (the top rated radio talk show in the state) has taken the bicyclist’s side on this, probably because their newscaster is a frequent charity cyclist who knew the Mandeville Canyon cyclists. So the story has penetrated through to a different demographic primarily due to a personal connection.

  • joe

    My Favorite line so far
    “Bikers need to obey laws just as much as cars”

    I think Drivers of cars break the law on a regular basis. When is the last time you didn’t break the speed limit? When is the last time the wheels on your car actually stopped moving when you came to a stop sign? How about that cell phone you keep texting on or that time you were at the bar and had to go home a bit earlier then you planned and thought, heck I can make it home its only 4 miles.

    As a driver/cyclists/motorcyclist people in cars do some really dumb things. Lately I’ve been seeing many cars people make right hand turn at speed from the 2nd lane over.

    And really all these dangerous drivers who are they most likely to hurt….


    LAPD has been doing a shit job at enforcing traffic laws (for everyone). Its so bad that there has been talk of increasing the speedlimits in the valley cause LAPD can’t enforce them currently. (see past street blog posts)

    Everyone needs to driver safer. And frankly what I see is that drivers are uncomfortable when the see a bike. They don’t know what the hell to do and they get mad cause nobody likes to feel that way. I think everyone needs to take a breath and relax.

    I certainly hope cyclists obey more traffic laws then cars. Cause if you want us to do the same as cars, its going to be hell.

    In addition. If any car centric people out there are really annoyed by cyclists, the only way this is going to improve is for the city of los angels to build serious bike infrastructure. We are behind most major cities in building bike infrastructure. Dallas Tx is building 50 miles of bike lanes this year, NYC is building twice that, LA has maybe 10 miles at the most of bike improvement this year. These improvements that are being built in other cities have proven to reduce conflict and just make things easier for everyone.

    Cyclists are not going away, Cycling in the US has increased 47% since 2000 and the next time you see the gas prices go up, you will see more people out there. So why not use this passion to solve then just argue.


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