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My Bike/Trooper encounter. A follow-up.(16 posts)

My Bike/Trooper encounter. A follow-up.EJC
Jul 16, 2002 6:55 AM
I have a follow up to the report I filed in regards to the accident I was involved in the other day.

I received a phone call at work this morning from the Big Swingin' Mickey at the Troopers office asking me to go back over my statement of what happened. I essentially gave it back to him verbatim from the first time, and (big surprise), he said this did not match up with what his "Officers" told him. He had been told AFTER I filed MY report that I had been riding off the shoulder, in an unsafe manner, this from the officer who saw me crash and continued on with his little redneck procession. Essentially, I have been accused of being a liar and trouble maker.


NOW, here is the BIG rub...on Sunday my good friends, the GF and myself all went riding. After our ride we went to the lake for a quick swim and cool-down. On the way back from the swim, on a busy road that goes around the lake, we were swerved at in a classic case of road rage. My GF was behind and she was almost hit by a Jeep towing a ski-boat. The driver of the Jeep then proceeded to brake, and come at her again, this time deliberately swerving towards her to force her off the road.

My instincts kicked in and I screamed at the bugger to come after me. He went forward, stopped and waited for me to get near him. I am not going to engage in any type of fighting or silly behaviour, as this prooves nothing, but we did have to cycle past him. As we did, he yelled AT ME to get off the road so cars can go past. Now get this...I tell him we are in single file, on the shoulder and well within our legal rights and he screams (and I quote) "I AM A STATE TROOPER BUDDY. DON'T PISS ME OFF BECAUSE I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND FIND YOU!!!"

So, I have one bad encounter with the police two days prior, and now this. I don't believe he knew who I was, but it was a classic case of police believing they can do what they want, how they want with no prosecution or consequence. He swevred with a vehicle at my GF, then threatened to "HUNT US DOWN AND FIND US".

It is bad enough we have to tolerate this from people who are not officers, let alone those who are supposed to be examples. The four of us from the Sunday ride are still trying to figure out how to handle the situation. We have been in touch with our lawyers, the Mayor of the town, and several bike clubs here. One idea we have had was to take the high road, and invite all local law enforcement officers and cycling club memebers to an all day "summit" where all concerns and laws can be discussed to try and difuse and obviously tense situation. The other idea is to once again, file a report and try to prosecute.

Any thoughts?

here's a contrast.rufus
Jul 16, 2002 7:05 AM
i was out for a ride saturday evening and noticed my front tire was low. it didn't seem to be flatting, maybe just a slow leak. so i pulled off to the side and pumped it back up. as i was clipping in and getting ready to start off again, waiting for a few cars to go by, the last in line was a town cop car. he stopped, asked if i was ok, i told him "sure, just think i got a slow leak here", and he says "man, those are the worst", makes sure i'm all set, and continues on.
Town/Local cops...EJC
Jul 16, 2002 7:13 AM
...two years ago, the GF and I were on Holiday in Arizona and Utah (beautiful areas!) and we were finishing up the last portion of an 85 mile ride (that was when I was in shape! Not NOW, but I used to be!). The winds had kicked up something fierce and we still had about 12 miles to go to get back to the car. The headwinds were so fierce and we were so tired that we abandoned the ride. We waited at the side of the road and a lovely family from Minnesota offered one of us a lift to the car. I didn't like the idea of my GF sitting alone on the side of the road in the middle of nowehere, so she accpeted the lift from the family and went to the car. I sat on the side of the road, with two bicycles, in the middle of the desert. As I was waiting, a local police car drove up and saw me sitting there. He stopped, and it turned out I was waiting on Reservation Land and he was a local Reservation Officer. The chap was wonderful! He said he stopped because he thought it was odd I was by myself with TWO bicycles. He asked if I was laright, if I had enough water, and wanted to know everyything about the bicycles. Turns out he was considering getting into cycling, as he always saw cyclists going by and thought it looked like a good way to stay in shape!

I agree, they aren't all bad! It just seems that around here they are!

here's a contrast.harry hall
Jul 16, 2002 9:59 AM
And another contrast...........did my seventh Seattle to POrtland on Saturday and Sunday last, GREAT cop escorts and traffic control all 200 miles, small towns and large. We were directed through intersections by Seattle and P
DX metro cops, King, Columbia, and Multnomah county sheriffs, and every jurisdiction in between. They looked to be enjoying it too, it has to be a lot more fun to direct bike riders than bust meth labs or referee domestic abuse cases. Got hoarse from thanking police every five miles! Thanks a lot, men and women in blue, Oregon and Washington.
maybe he was pissed re those spoilers...MJ
Jul 16, 2002 7:14 AM
seriously though - if you can id the guy - you should go after him - litigation, even when successful is deeply unsatisfactory, potentially expensive and probably not what you want anyways

I'd go after an apology from the trooper who assaulted you (and I'd term it an assault) and request perhaps a designated cycle community police liasion officer or something similar

anyways bad luck - enjoy the tour
LOL! Funny!EJC
Jul 16, 2002 7:17 AM
Ahhh hell, I do get a shade too serious. Thanks for the funny!

I agree about trying to get at LEAST an apology, but I sincerely doubt it will happen. I am on a list-serve for the local cycling club here in the Noprth Country and it sounds like an invite to a half-day summit is appropriate. Have the local police and cyclists get together to talk it all out and see how we can make better relations and safer roads for all of us.

Jul 16, 2002 7:21 AM
Here's my take:

You need to write a factual, objective summary of both incidents devoid of emotion (as much as you can...I understand). You need to include desciptions of what happened in both cases, who you spoke to, and a description of the Jeep with the SOB/supposed cop.

Once you've done that, take a day off and then re-read it. Edit it for content again, and then send it to ALL of your state legislators, the Chief of the Highway Patrol, the Police Benevolent Association, the Mayor's office and all of the local bike advocacy clubs that you can find. The sqeeky wheel gets the greecin' (unless you're JaJa, and then you get another bike).

That's my recommendation.
re: Bike/Trooper encounter.Fredrico
Jul 16, 2002 7:27 AM
Suits against the police seldom, if ever suceed, but working up a citizens' group, calling a "summit," of community leaders, getting people to write a blizzard of letters to the editor of the city newspaper, would attract attention and get people thinking, and could very well serve as a consciousness raising session for the police.

I have seen this work before if the news media gets involved.

Good luck, and enjoy the TDF!

re: Bike/Trooper encounter.Shadow11
Jul 16, 2002 8:32 AM
Did you get the license plate? That would be the easiest thing to do, lots of people "claim" be cops ..and if you have their can find out for sure...and I'm sure the local cops would be happy to bust someone for impersonation...
re: Bike/Trooper encounter.EJC
Jul 16, 2002 8:41 AM
No no, he was a real State Trooper. Pete Mendelson. Saranac Lake branch. The thing about small towns, you know everyone. This dumb-ass was just dumb enough to pop off about being a Trooper. The other couple the GF and I were riding wiith new who he was.

real trooperklay
Jul 16, 2002 9:29 AM
Once he had identified himself as a State Trooper, would he then be considered as acting in an official capacity? If so, would threatening to hunt you down (as a State Trooper) be a bit "questionable"?

Just a thought.

Go for it!!! Press charges and take his badge!!!spyderman
Jul 17, 2002 12:23 AM
He's a danger to society!
The Road To Perdition...AllisonHayes
Jul 16, 2002 9:04 AM
First, happy TDF to you and your sweetie. (uroneluckyguytohavesomeoneasthoughtfulasshe)
Second, good idea about a "summit"

Now a terrible story I read a few years ago:

About 20 years ago, a mother in a very poor part of a major city complained to the precinct Captain about the abusive treatment her 15 yr old son received by the local police. According to her statement, her son was a good kid, got good grades and had never been in trouble.

This one night he was hangin' with a group of friends around 10pm on a hot summer night. The police ordered them to disperse, but her son said, "We aren't doing anything." The police singled him out for special treatment, took him down to the precinct and he returned home with a bloodied and swollen face.

The precinct Captain said he would take care of the matter. What actually happened is that the police sought out her son at every opportunity for several years, charging him with various crimes. Some of the charges stuck. He got a juvenile record. He got a criminal record. He ended up spending 15 years in jail on a felony charge.

He was eventually found innocent of the charges and crimes and was released. He later sued the city and won. But he can never regain what he lost. Indeed, a road to perdition.

Your story sounds like it could go in the same direction.

Allison (hey, EJC, it might help if you didn't wave yur Canadian flag in these encounters--sumz of thems truuppers don't like dem fureen rabble rouzers alien sobs.)
POP the Question.............african
Jul 16, 2002 1:14 PM
Dude ask her in Paris............. screw the cops, forget them. Let us know how it goes.
Did the first cop have his lights on? Second guy was no cop...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 16, 2002 2:12 PM
If so, sorry to say, you were totally at fault. If he was having a "procession" with his lights on then you need to stay out of the way and yield. Much the same as you yield to funerals going thru a red light.

As for the second guy, he was no cop. Cops don't go around wrecklessly driving and then announce they are cops. Did you get a plate? If so go after him and see if he is a cop. Impersonation is a serious crime.

You should have found the Trooper and had a chat with him - this was your chance to take the "high road" before you started paperwork. As it stands you went "over his head" and complained to his bosses. It's gonna be a he said - he said thing and guess who's gonna lose?

Don't lump all of the cops in to one barrel just because one idiot claims to be a cop. I have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with cops from all over the country.

I feel your pain as every day I save my own life becuase of idiot drivers. If I filed complaints whenever I was wronged I would have no time to cycle.
First, did ya get his license plate???spyderman
Jul 17, 2002 12:18 AM
If he really was a trooper you probably could get his badge if you can prove what he did in court. I pretty certain an officer can't have a reckless driving conviction on their record.

I know you're very angry, but you must drop the 'redneck'. It's not helping.

Try to relax and enjoy France and le Tour, ya lucky SOB!:)