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« Pro Cycling and Helmets | Main | Freedom »

Be careful who you harass

I sometimes check out other bike blogs, and I came across this story on one called “A Girl and Her Bike.” The subtitle is, “Adventures in biking in DC.” For the benefit of overseas readers, that is Washington DC, the Nation’s Capitol.

This particular girl, I know only as K.C. was riding her bike home one evening last February. She was stopped at a red light waiting to make a left turn, and was first in line in the left turn lane.

A car pulled up behind her at a high rate of speed and stopped very close, the driver was acting aggressively towards her, but she decided to ignore it because after all the light was red and he could go nowhere.

Then she felt a bump against her rear wheel, nothing too hard, but the people in the car were laughing hysterically; apparently they thought it was a huge joke to harass a girl on a bike. Again K.C. ignored it, but when the light turned green and she started to pull away, she felt an even harder bump.

This is when our girl on a bike decided enough was enough. I should mention at this point that K.C. is a police officer, and although off duty at the time, she pulled her badge from her bag and ordered the driver to stop.

She heard the driver exclaim, “Oh Shit,” and he took off at a high rate of speed with tires squealing. K.C. decided to give chase and was catching up when the car was stopped at the next light. She noticed the reverse lights come on as the car started to reverse towards her. She surmised the driver was looking for an escape route down an alley.

However, the car was held up by more traffic and K.C. again caught up, showed her badge, ordering the driver to stop. Once more the driver sped off, this time narrowly missing the female officer. By now she had a license plate number and a description of the car. She had her radio out of her bag and was calling for back up.

Back up came within minutes, and checked that K.C. was okay; a short while after she heard the car had been stopped by another police cruiser. She made her way to the scene of the arrest and was able to identify the driver.

The car smelled strongly of marijuana, which would explain the driver’s hurry to get away. No evidence of drugs, apart from the smell was found in the car; obviously dumped before it was pulled over.

The driver was charged at the scene with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (his vehicle), Assault on a Police Officer, Fleeing and Eluding, and Reckless Driving. His vehicle was impounded.

K.C. was surprised to learn the next day that the United States Attorney's Office had agreed to not only prosecute those charges, but also made it two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon instead of just one. Furthermore they decided to hold him instead of releasing him. So, he has been hanging out in DC Jail since last February.

About a week ago K.C. was called to the Attorney General’s office to go over her testimony, when she learned that the defendant, while in jail, had called his girl friend asking if she would hide his gun and drugs for him. All calls from jail are monitored and recorded; a search warrant was obtained, and a gun was found.

The driver pled guilty to felony possession of a firearm, felony fleeing and misdemeanor assault on a police officer. K.C. was a little disappointed that the vehicular assault charges were dropped, as she pointed out, you can’t use your car to bully cyclists.

She also had the cold realization that on this particular night all she had to stop this car was a badge, but because she was off duty she had no weapon to back it up. Fortunately the driver didn’t have his weapon either, or the outcome could have been very different.


You can read K.C’s first hand version of the story here.


Reader Comments (8)

You go girl...

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarge

I commuted in the DC area (northern Virginia) in the mid 1980's. I would typically get crap thown at me from cars once or twice a week. (Usually old cans, ice, or anything else they could dredge off the floor of their cars) I have lived in Florida for 20+ years and have logged over 100,000 miles in the sunshine state. In all those years I have had something thrown at me only one time (probably some ass from the DC area!) The DC area sucks for bike riders. (Come to think of it, it pretty much just sucks!)

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Where's a Cop when You Need One? That is one damn satisfying story, Dave.


June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Joe Comstock

Talk about a story with a happy ending!

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChucker

It's too bad they dropped the charge for what originally got him in trouble, but wow... his life totally spun out of control from just that one moment. That's an amazing story.

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDevon Young

The thing is, if she had not been a cop, would the police have listened to her at all? Or would this have been another case where cyclists complaints are dismissed out of hand?

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

Incivility and rudeness are becoming too common. Many different reasons but I blame automania for a large part of this disturbing trend.

Simon in Politico: "My definition is that if you cut me off in traffic, that’s incivility. If I give you the finger for doing it, that’s justice."

"91 percent of Americans say that globally 'incivility has negative consequences for America … is perceived to be harming America’s future, hurting its reputation on the world stage and preventing it from moving forward.' On the other hand, you mess around with us, and we’ll send a drone to take you out."


Funny, in the list of identified causes, our roads-motorized vehicles are not included

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack

That is a great story and quite satisfying to me. Several years ago, I had a very similar incident. A driver bumped my wheel purposefully while at a light. When we pulled away, he got into a turn lane on my right, opened his door and hit me with it, trying to knock me down in the traffic. I got the plate number as he took off. The police in my case refused to do anything, saying that because no one was injured and there was no damage, they could not spend the time to track him down.

July 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

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