Arrest at Santa Monica Critical Mass
[[image:handcuff_mini.jpg::inline:1]]Critical mass in Santa Monica met at the pier tonight (June 1, 2007) at 7:00ish. By 8ish we had made several circuits around the city center and up San Vicente. We were coming down (West) on San Vicente, towards Ocean Ave when this incident took place.
Published June 1st, 2007 by C.I.C.L.E.
Contributed by Josh Lake
Well, here is one more case for you of the man verses the mass.
Critical mass in Santa Monica met at the pier tonight (June 1, 2007) at 7:00ish. By 8ish we had made several circuits around the city center and up San Vicente. We were coming down (West) on San Vicente, towards Ocean Ave when this incident took
The mass got pretty spread out and cars got in between bike riders. Wouldn’t you know it, so did a massive black hummer with quite a jerk for a driver. He was honking at a biker, coming inches from hitting him and revving his engine as a bluff against the biker. The driver slammed on his breaks and was getting out of his car, to do what? When I saw this I stopped along with a few other bikers. The driver then got back in his hummer, assuming that his weapon of mass humming was more virile then he was
The mass turned left (S) on 7th street, we were about 400ish and about 1/2 to 1 mile long, so traffic got pretty backed up. At this point a police motorcycle pulled into the middle of the street and flashed his lights, looking very agitated. We thought he was there to help us get safely off the road, as the motorists were getting testy. We did not remember we were in the united states of bush. The mass soon afterward (after about 30 seconds) cleared San Vicente, heading south on 7th
I heard the cop coming up behind us, then ordering us to pull over. Us being me and a guy riding next to me. We both pulled over and the cop quickly pulled over and ordered us off our bikes. He then preceded to hand cuff the other guy. We asked what the offense was, and the cop said that we had ignored a direct police order. After asking for clarification, the cop hesitated and said that he had ordered the rider to pull over and the rider instead fled the scene (this is absurd, as I will explain in a few lines).
I told the cop that I immediately pulled over when I heard the first order. He then said that he was not talking to me, and that I could go. By that time only a hand full of riders were with us, the rest had passed. The officer then called for a cruiser to transport the guy to jail (I did not, nor do I now, know the riders name). Another motorcycle officer pulled up and was offering “support”
A few of us tried to reason with the original officer, and asked him to let the rider off with a warning. The officer was literally red hot and fuming, and obviously had some temper issues. He was yelling at this poor kid and treating him like a criminal. And, the fact that he put handcuffs on a bike rider, who did nothing wrong to begin with!
The whole mass had assembled on Palisades Avenue by the circle just west of 7th. After the handful of bikers caught up with them, a few of us decided to go back and video what was going on, but by that tem they had stuffed the rider in the car and were putting his bike in the trunk of the cruiser. I approached the one remaining officer, got his badge number and name. He then started to lecture me, telling me that he did not appreciate “You intellectual types think that you’re superior to all of us…” And that he thought I was being condescending to him. This, I assure you, I was not. This part of the incident was filmed by someone with a video camera, and I hope the incident is on Youtube very soon (he said he would post this little confrontation, but the actual incident, unfortunately, was not filmed.
To go back to the original claim of the one cop. We were at the corner of San Vicente and 7th. The cop was driving north on 7th, and the mass was moving south. There is no way anyone could have heard any order issued by the officer. By this time his siren and lights were on, car horns were blaring, and there was pretty much confusion. Even if he issued the order, and assuming the biker heard him (which is a HUGE assumption), what was the biker supposed to do? Stop on a dime in the middle of other riders going 10 mph? In my opinion the claim of the officer was absurd and possibly even falsified. He appeared to be angry, agitated and when pressed for a reason for making the arrest, he needed to think for a few seconds about what the charge was. He was extremely angry and that was probably a result of trying to appease the car drivers (who, by the way, did not witness any of this
For all I know the rider is still in the Santa Monica jail.
I think that the larger system is set up to keep people who want to think outside the box-that there may be an alternative to cars and oil, off the street (literally and figuratively).
I hope that the next critical mass ride in Santa Monica is twice as big. We may need to change a few of the details and get a little more organized, but I think we need to speak louder to try and break through our culture that is hell-bent on cars, oil, death and destruction.
I do think that riding on San Vicente may have not been the best decision, but I am a little happy about the whole confrontation. I wish there was no arrest, but we have one more peace warrior trying to make a difference. The rider looked scared and upset, and I am sorry he had to take the fall, and I hope all good things for him.
So, that is critical mass for Friday, June 1st, 2007.