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...
Mike is right. Clearly, the CPD harbors a number of bad apples and it's no secret any more that they foster their own don't snitch culture, making the job much harder for the good officers and the department itself. If this behavior is not brought to the attention of the public, it will only get worse. "To serve and protect" or to intimidate and protect ourselves?
A first step in cleaning up the Chicago Police Department.
But compare the AUDIO of this clip against the clip already released.
Somebody REPLACED the original audio in the CPD release.
And you hear 3 shots before he starts his spin and fall down.
But who will ask for Rahm Emanuel's resignation?
Though she doesn't say anything about Emanuel, Preckwinkle has it right in regard to Alvarez: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-preckwinkle-ca...
I guess I'll just leave this here then:
Does anyone know if there's an update to this story?
James was offered a less than $200 settlement to plead guilty and dismiss the case. He refused same, represented himself and was found guilty and fined less than $300. I attended this hearing with a handful of other friends/reporters. Since then, I no longer touch cars but do know their days on this earth are numbered.
Sad to hear that is really the end of this story, I had somewhat hoped that there would be a 'round 2'.
In late April James Liu told me he the civil rights law firm he had retained had not yet filed a lawsuit against the officer, and it looked like the case was not moving forward.
- John Greenfield, Streetsblog Chicago
Things that make you go argh.
What is it with off-duty cops? Shouldn't they be civilians when off-duty? But here is one that pulled his gun on a bike messenger, had him arrested and walked away free.