Dozens of cyclists attended a hearing on police hostility to cyclists at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last week. They told stories of undercover cops threatening to beat them up after cutting them off on their bikes; of cops refusing to take action against drivers who had attempted or threatened vehicular homicide; and of a systematic refusal to investigate cases where cyclists were injured or killed by drivers.
Before the inevitable, victim-blaming round of "but cyclists are so aggressive and horrible," please read this (tl;dr: statistical analysis of cyclist behavior does not bear out the caricature of the lunatic rider, who is significantly less common -- and less dangerous -- than the lunatic driver cohort).
When Sarah Harling was hospitalized by a minivan driver who made a left turn into her at a stop sign intersection, she says the SFPD officer who filed the police report included a fabricated statement from her claiming that she “approached the stop sign without stopping.”
Harling said she tried to submit a response to the numerous “factual errors” in the police report, but an officer at SFPD’s Richmond Station “raised his voice to lecture me about how traffic laws apply to cyclists too, how he’d never let his children ride bikes in the city, and then told me repeatedly, ‘I’m not telling you you can’t leave this here, but you just need to understand that sometimes things get lost.’”
“I left the station in tears,” she said.
Harling later hired an attorney, who collected witness statements and a photo, which showed the driver to be at fault and led the driver’s insurance company to settle for his or her maximum amount of coverage available.
Victims Share Tales of SFPD Anti-Bike Bias and Hostility at City Hall [Aaron Bialick/Streetsblog San Francisco]
In 112 recent cases of stalking and harassment reviewed by UK police watchdogs, “not a single one was dealt with properly,” reports the BBC. The report, “Living in Fear,” found that victims of harassment and stalking were widely disregard and left at risk, and often told that the harassment they received was their own fault. […]
When he was pulled over in Oviedo, Fla., professional handyman Karlos Cashe told cops that the white powder in the footwell was just drywall. As a probationer with a drug conviction, however, he got to wait 90 days until they bothered to complete the tests that would prove it. It was drywall.
After shooting Philando Castile dead during a traffic stop — a killing that was livestreamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds — the police obtained a secret warrant for Reynolds’s Facebook account, including her private messages and deleted messages, accompanied by a gag order that banned Facebook from every discussing the warrant’s existence.
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