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Thread Box:
may's LACM and it's ticket(s)
Thread started by clutch at 05.31.08 - 3:38 pm

may 30th's critical mass, incidentally, resulted in six cop cars around me while i was handcuffed and being aggressively groped --legs spread, and a ticket for "blocking traffic". i quote because i feel it was a false accusation.

this is how the story goes...or one of them.

i was riding to a different event on that friday evening. as i was heading in the opposite direction i saw the critical mass riders. knowing about this ride, i waved and was about to go on my merry way to meet my friends in a different ride. as i was crossing an intersection on sunset, a guy in a volvo was stopped because of the mass of bikes riding through. he asked if i knew anything about this ride, and when i was trying to tell him what little i knew...the cops showed up. i wasn't trying to ride away quickly because there was nowhere to go and i thought i had done nothing wrong by talking to an already stopped driver who had specifically asked for my assistance. my hands were tied...then cuffed.

is that what i should say on the morning of july 8th?

this is what else i was thinking...
whatever the ticket is...and if there is no way to get out of it, i'm going to say "jail time or community service"...and they won't give me jail time because it was a non-violent offense. so if incase i am screwed and do community service, we should make a ride out of it and have massive bike support/protest??? obviously just to cause a scene and have some fun...and to prove we're a team?? i'd rather take your time then your money...and take it in the best way possible, yeah?...ride-r-die, right? haha

thanks for everyone's encouraging words and support. seriously. it makes all the drama-rama with the lapd not so rodney king.

if there's any advice "off record" you can give...my email address is
afka.byers at gmail

you my dudes*

alesa

reply


That's crazy...
However... I don't think it's important if you were part of the ride or not.. From what you are saying, traffic was already blocked and you were explaining to a blocked car why he was blocked.

You were not the cause. You were the explanation to the cause.

Anyone witness this? Please write to Alesa.



marino
05.31.08 - 7:18 pm

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Just tell the truth. Odds are good, the judge won't believe you, in any case, since cops are always considered to be 'expert' witnesses by the court, so unless you have witnesses to back up your story, you'll lose in a 'your word against theirs' scenario. That said, you have a constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure and a moving violation is absolutely NOT reasonable justification to search your person. I've gotten out of a ticket that was the result of a cop searching a vehicle after stopping for speeding on that very basis. The fact that you were talking to a vehicle while stopped is not justification to search your person, confiscate your stuff (even for a short period of time), etc.

Do the usual trial by declaration stalling tactic (google it). If you lose in the written trial, you still have the option to take it to a regulr court trial. My guess is that if you mention the unreasonable search and seizure, the cops in question won't be terribly interested in answering questions to the judge and will let the whole thing drop without responding, letting you win by default. If you are feeling particularly peeved about it, skip the declaration and show up in court just to make them sweat it a a little.

Assuming you just got a moving violation, there's no need to worry about community service vs. jail. You'll just get a fine which you are automatically qualified to work off via community service. You can probably ask the judge to strip any points from your license, since you were on a bike, too.



ideasculptor
05.31.08 - 11:47 pm

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Yeah, you should totally tell an implausible lie in court and talk about it on the Internet first.



PC
05.31.08 - 11:55 pm

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Was it LAPD? Or one of the so-called "Sherrifs"?



jericho1ne
06.1.08 - 1:24 am

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That's a little excessive to handcuff a girl on a bicycle. This was probably one very aggressive and angry cop. But this picture will resonant across the ether. LAPD is still under Federal investigation and oversight. One cop could ruin it for all of the cops, especially since LAPD has generally been tolerant and helpful to our group rides.



skd
06.1.08 - 10:47 am

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Alesa,
if you want/need a witness (or just some support) hit me up. i don't work sunday and i'm sorry you had to go through that bullshit.
i hardly saw anyone corking this ride (too many newbies perhaps?)and when i tried the cars kept creeping on me evenutally pushing me out.

just a suggestion but since there seem to be more and more new faces at each ride, maybe whomever has the tralier and/or megaphone should go over some guildlines at the beinging of every ride?
it seems like it's always the same people are the ones that call out directions, are concerned with keeping the group together and corking.
what's going to happen when we lose these stronger ridazz because they are tired of having to "babysit" everyone else or getting tickets?



deboRAWR
06.1.08 - 11:20 am

reply


the truth is that i was corking...blatantly stopping already stopped cars. they weren't going anywhere...
i was talking to the guy in the volvo (the car i was in front of) telling him it would only be a moment and to enjoy the view of all the hotties on wheels! he was laughing. i shouldn't have even "corked"...but i thought i'd entertain for a moment...and it looked like it was working...
i entertained the cops as well...they were fucking dead that night, that's why 6 cops cars were surrounding me...they had nothing better to do. they were all LAPD.
at first they were really really shitty...yelling every demand...instantly making me drop everything i had and cuffing me. i really want to know the white guy who sat shotgun of the car that first caught me. if i ever see that mutherfucker out of uniform...
i'm a shit talker.

anyhow...the above story was maybe going to be my fib...just wanted to see if you guys thought it would fly.



clutch
06.1.08 - 12:51 pm

reply


Lying in court is never a good idea. If you get caught, and you will, your case is fucked from the ground up.

Lying in court and talking about it on the Internet (you know that cops and other non-hip people have net access too, right?) is never anything other than a fantastically fucking dumb idea.

Tell the truth in court, but of course spin it however you want, and don't incriminate yourself any more than you (tactically) have to. Concentrate on the cops' excessive reaction. FILE A COMPLAINT. GET WITNESSES. Consider a lawsuit--it's the only language some of these bumblefucks understand.



PC
06.1.08 - 1:01 pm

reply


i feel you.

and i agree...
balls.



clutch
06.1.08 - 1:04 pm

reply


ideasculptor has given you the best advice.

The case might get thrown out because of the unreasonable search, but may not. A lot of times an unreasonable search only prevents evidence obtained by said search from being admissible in court (Exclusionary Rule). The evidence (in this case the officer's testimony) to convict you on the moving violation would not be affected in this case.

That being said, if the search is found to be unreasonable, this may be grounds for something like a lawsuit, or at least a formal complaint. It might be hard to argue however, a lot of times these things are excused because if you have weapons on you, it is in the interest of the officers safety to search you before taking you into custody.

(As argued in Terry vs. Ohio:) [D]istinctions should be made between a “stop” and an “arrest” (or a “seizure” of a person), and between a “frisk” and a “search.”. . . police should be allowed to “stop” a person and detain him briefly for questioning upon suspicion that he may be connected with criminal activity. Upon suspicion that the person may be armed, the police should have the power to “frisk” him for weapons. If the “stop” and the “frisk” give rise to probably cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime, then the police should be empowered to make a formal “arrest,” and a full incident “search” of the person.

from: http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4314&context=expresso

It's not going to help to tell a lie in court, especially when you've just admitted "blatantly stopping already stopped cars" on the internet. Your angle here is wrongful search/seizure. Maybe ask your dad what your options are.

There's an online database chronicling Critical Mass arrests nationwide, maybe you could find a case that parallels yours, or find angles that have been argued successfully in the past?

http://critical-mass.info/police.html

For the future, it best not to discuss details on the internet. The likelihood of the police finding this thread is arguable, but now it's out there, and there are myriad examples of people posting things on their myspace or facebook that later got them arrested.

Good luck. They can't cuff us all.



Purp
06.1.08 - 2:13 pm

reply


It might be hard to argue however, a lot of times these things are excused because if you have weapons on you, it is in the interest of the officers safety to search you before taking you into custody.

If it wasn't the officer's intention to take her into custody--and it's not standard practice to make arrests for citable traffic violations in Los Angeles--then that doesn't exactly apply here, does it? How often do LAPD officers conduct patdown searches on routine traffic stops? How often do they do it on ped stops? Is there any particular reason for a police officer, exercising reasonable prudence, to think that a member of a group bicycle ride directing traffic (even when arguably doing so illegally) is more likely than the average traffic violation suspect to be carrying a dangerous weapon or otherwise to pose a threat to the officer's safety? I don't have a book of figures in front of me, but common sense tells me that the answers to those questions are "not often," "not often," and "no," respectively.



PC
06.1.08 - 2:46 pm

reply


Agreed, just that these sort of precedents tend to muddy the waters, and should be considered beforehand.



Purp
06.1.08 - 4:23 pm

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I believe the search was done to intimidate and humiliate rather than a true search for weapons or contraband. Since no weapons or contraband was found, then she might have a case that the search was excessive, harassment and illegal. You need "probable cause" to search a suspect. A bicyclist talking to a man in a Volvo at a red light hardly constitutes a reason to do a humiliating body search.



skd
06.1.08 - 5:31 pm

reply


talked to my inside dude (dad)...

another cop was not happy at all when he heard what happened. i was unlawfully cuffed and frisked for a traffic stop on my bike. especially since i showed 0% resistance with no suspicion of having a weapon. therefore i should file a complaint and a lawsuit.

guess i am going to the records dept for a copy of the video and audio from that officer's squad car.

this just opened up a massive can of worms.

LA really has it in for me.

*nathan and manni (sp?) hope you guys will help since you pretty much saw the whole thing go down!!



clutch
06.1.08 - 8:32 pm

reply


You were the girl with the bullhorn?

I overheard you talking about it at Wilshire/Alvarado.

where exactly did they think you were hiding anything?



chrisconsin
06.1.08 - 8:47 pm

reply


Just to make my earlier statement clearer. The unreasonable search and quasi-arrest are useful tools to get the cop to fail to show up for trial, but won't get you out of the moving violation. If you were cited for anything as a result of the search, then you will almost certainly be able to have that citation thrown out. I'd keep the lawsuit and noisemaking in your back pocket for now. Consult a lawyer on how best to use them as leverage for getting out of your original moving violation. Unfortunately, the cop can really react in one of 2 ways - recognize the risk of pursuing you and let it drop (in which case you'd be very wise to do the same thing) or get very defensive and try to maximize your own inconvenience. You need to be prepared for either scenario if you are going to try to bluster your way out of the ticket.

If your concern is the cost of the ticket, then, to be honest, your best bet is to plead guilty and do community service, which will keep your costs to a minimum. If you can't beg your way out of a license point in order to keep your car insurance low, you can always do traffic school to get rid of it. If, on the other hand, your primary motivation is to win a battle against the LAPD, then you'd be best off paying a couple hundred dollars to a lawyer who specialized in traffic violations. It will cost pretty much the same as the ticket, if not more, but you stand a very good chance of having the case dismissed - both because the lawyer will know how to play the unreasonable search and seizure thing and because traffic court lawyers know everyone in the courtroom and they are more than happy to do favours for each other. 90% of all traffic cases that I've seen handled by a lawyer are dismissed, found innocent, or the fine and points have been dropped.

Bear in mind, of course, that you are actually guilty of the violation you were cited with, so you would be wise to just focus on minimizing the damage rather than scoring points - in my opinion. You don't really sound like you're positioned, economically, to do battle with the LAPD over a point of principle.



ideasculptor
06.1.08 - 9:14 pm

reply


Unfortunately, the cop can really react in one of 2 ways - recognize the risk of pursuing you and let it drop (in which case you'd be very wise to do the same thing)

Why? If he lets it drop, her case is dismissed. She can't be tried again for it (double jeopardy). At that point there would be absolutely no risk to her in pursuing a complaint or lawsuit, especially if she can find an attorney who will take the case pro bono because of the civil liberties angle. (And, of course, you don't need an attorney to file a complaint against an officer...and whether he wins or loses, it goes in his file.)

Even if he doesn't let it drop, the worst that can happen is that she has to pay a fine for some chickenshit traffic violation...and then we pass the hat and cover it for her, as is the CM tradition (and because I'm running my mouth here, I'll be sure to back that up with my own money).

Some cops are like big, dumb, mean dogs who need to be taught a lesson by their owners (that's us). History has shown that complaints and lawsuits are the only way to do that with the LAPD.



PC
06.1.08 - 9:41 pm

reply


For the simple reason that if he lets it drop, it is because there is a tacit quid pro quo and if you mess with that, then you are poisoning any chance any other road user has of negotiating a similar deal. The ticket in question might go away, but LACM will have made a bunch of new enemies on the LAPD in the process. Personally, I don't really consider that to be in the best interest of the community. I don't like that they harass us now, but I hardly think that provoking them into ever worse extremes is the way to solve the problem.



ideasculptor
06.1.08 - 10:40 pm

reply


@PC:
Some cops are like big, dumb, mean dogs who need to be taught a lesson by their owners (that's us). History has shown that complaints and lawsuits are the only way to do that with the LAPD.


I think that's exactly wrong. the LAPD has been remarkably tolerant of group ride antics, in my experience, and I'd hate for that to change because a couple of cops were dickheads and a feud got started up. And you would be very hard pressed to find a lawyer to take on a civil liberties case on a pro bono basis when there is no demonstrable loss incurred by the plaintiff. That's why I say you should use it as a bargaining chip to get out of the ticket and nothing more. Yes, her rights were probably violated according to the law, but not to enough of an extent that anything is going to come of it, ever.



ideasculptor
06.1.08 - 10:44 pm

reply


For the simple reason that if he lets it drop, it is because there is a tacit quid pro quo and if you mess with that, then you are poisoning any chance any other road user has of negotiating a similar deal.

The quid pro quo in that case would be: we'll let the cops get away with abusing and humiliating us, and they'll let us get away with minor traffic violations.

I think I can live with the idea of other road users not getting to negotiate that "deal."



PC
06.1.08 - 11:10 pm

reply


Alesa, of course I'll be a witness.

I won't be recounting any details here on teh internets, but I will say that I agree that the cops were way over the line. Alesa was completely cooperative, and I can't think of any justification for the kind of treatment they gave her. I wish I'd thought to get video, but I did at least get photos to document the handcuffs and the frisking, in case the cops try to deny any of that.



nathansnider
06.2.08 - 1:22 am

reply


I wrote up the ride on Streetsblog here: http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/06/02/downtown-la-critical-mass/

If anyone feels I should change any of the text about the seizure either let me know here or in the comments section of Streetsblog. I already posted one edit to it.

I also feel that we ought to help out more than just give advice. How about a promise that if she gets hit with a big fine we pass the hat at the July Downtown CM to make sure she gets her money back. After all, she was ticketed while allegedly corking. If she is found guilty, she's essentially paying a fine for trying to keep the ride safe and together.



daymen
06.2.08 - 9:53 am

reply


ok...so i feel you on the bad blood...but everyone has been telling me the riders and lapd already have bad blood.

not only that, but this isn't really against lapd...it's against a couple of officers wrongly representing and executing the law under lapd's badge.

therefore i am going to consult with a professional in law to see what is in our -the riders- (and my) best interest.



clutch
06.2.08 - 11:30 am

reply


I agree with Clutch. The point here is the cops don't have a right to do what they did. I'm not advocating breaking the law, and I think if you are going to do that, you have to be willing to suffer the consequences, but handcuffs and search are not part of the consequences in this situation. If she doesn't fight this, then the cops are going to think they can get away with it.



brassknuckle
06.2.08 - 11:44 am

reply


"Storm the Bastille".

The BAC meets at Parker Center Tuesday night @ 7pm and Public Comment is up first on the agenda.

If you're not in the Valley or to Spaceland, join us as we speak up on behalf of Enci, Randy and Alesa.





SoapBoxLA
06.3.08 - 12:46 am

reply


@ideasculptor, can you only ask a judge to remove a point from your license for a bike ticket in court (new trial)? I was just found guilty on my trial by written declaration.



Mooncake
08.25.10 - 11:42 am

reply


request a trial de novo



superblueman3
responding to a comment by Mooncake
08.25.10 - 1:35 pm

reply


nice find, archeologist



tfunk408
08.25.10 - 3:18 pm

reply

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