I saw a car stoped askew and a bicyclist down when I got to Desplanes and Washington this morning. I recognized the cyclist as someone whom I had passed a bit further back on Milwaukee and who must have then passed me up again when I stopped to fidget with my chain. I was amazed to see a police office already there until I realized that the cyclist was in handcuffs. I didn't actually witness what happened but from hearing what the cyclist was saying and what the officer was telling dispatch on his cell phone and what a witness who did actually see some of this said something similar to the following must have occurred:
The officer was off duty, likely on his way home from work in his own civilian car.
the cyclist was riding in the bike lane on des planes.
The officer was weaving lanes a bit and driving a bit aggressively (according to the cyclist and the witness the officer said he was stopped and not moving to the on duty officer who arrived later but had indicated he was in motion when initially calling dispatch)
A witness showed up who said she saw the cop weaving as he drove and asked if she should stay to give her information the cop told her that he did not need her information and she could (/should) go. The cyclist said he did need her information and she should stay. This was a red flag that caused me to stick around. I got her number on two of my business cards and tried to give the cyclist one. The officer told me I could not give someone who was under arrest anything, I said its just a business card. He took the business card from me. I told the cyclist I would post something to thechainlink.org so he can locate me if he doesn't still have her info. in the hopes of making this searchable I'm putting his name in the Tags, but I do not know if I have the spelling correct.
The bicyclist says he saw the officer weave a bit into the bike lane and knocked or banged on the car to alert the officer to his presence, the degree of force used for this knock was of some discussion ('a light tap?' 'no, loud enough that he could hear me' - 'he banged on my car hard, for no reason I was stopped')
Clearly blood was running hot, voices were raised but everyone was civil enough.
The cyclist asked what he was under arrest for the officer cited 'reckless conduct' or something vague and could not cite a statute number. The cyclist said he is a lawyer, threats of lawsuits for improper arrest/detainment were issued.
What a mess...
For what its worth:
I don't think any cyclist bangs on windows unprovoked. Your hand is worth more than the glass and is more breakable, that's pretty clear even when road rage of getting cut off runs high.
The cop probably was tired coming off a hard shift doing thankless work and did not have any patience left.
No damage was visible to the car or the cyclist.
I'm glad no one got hurt, but what are you supposed to do when a car cuts into the bike lane... and its an off duty cop!
If you are the cyclist, and you need the witnesses phone number, call me at: tree one too, cinco quarto tres, eighty seven, 41.
I wrote this up within an hour of what I saw, but I arrived too late to see the events leading up to the arrest and even now my memory grows fuzzy... I wish my gopro hadn't been out of batteries, or that the cyclist had had one. ugh.
Streetsblog article http://chi.streetsblog.org/2015/11/09/cyclist-arrested-by-allegedly...
Most recent Streetsblog article: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2015/11/13/witness-officer-drove-reckles...
Marcus updated his Facebook to let us know James is no longer in custody. He's been identified. I am also friends with him and will reach out to him as well.
Good to know. He spelled it out for the officer 'calling for backup'? but I wasn't taking letter by letter notes. If you know how to contact him, let him know that this is up here. obviously he won't have phone/web access for a while.
Luckily we have the witness' phone number so all is not lost if they decide to actually press charges.
Someone should try to contact her soon, before the off-duty officer does. He doesn't sound like an upstanding guy and could contact her to disuade her from providing her witness account.
I know how pessimistic that sounds, but it was the first thing that popped into my mind when you said he took the other business card.
np. hope others would do the same for me.
Well done Ben. I think what started as a bad day for a cyclist will end up being a bad day for an arrogant off duty alleged public servant.
I will be amazed if this officer receives even a verbal reprimand. It's more likely he's going to receive sympathy from his commanders.
When it's all said and done, the supervisor/arresting officer made the choice to arrest the cyclist. If an officer is involved in an incident (on or off duty), they are supposed to ask for a supervisor. The supervisor may make a final decision that isn't necessarily in synch with the officer's wishes.
Please note that I am not making any assumptions about what the off-duty officer may have said. I'm just sharing info I've gotten from other officers I know, who don't always agree with supervisors' decisions and may consider them dubious at best.
I admire your optimism.
"Breath I am not holding." - Yoda