The on-going battle between pedicab drivers and the United States Park Police continues with a pedicabber being tased twice by a USPP officer.
Police say the pedicab driver assaulted the officer. But witnesses say tensions between pedicab drivers and Park Police have begun to boil over and called it a clear use of excessive force.
Police say they told [Charles Guillon] to get out of the crosswalk, but he refused, so they threatened to write him a ticket. Officers say Guillon then assaulted the officer, and got tased.
But Clark and another witness who, fearing retaliation, wouldn't show his face on camera to ABC7, say that assault never happened.
"I didn't see anything that looked remotely like an assault or battery on the police officer," Clark says.
"Apparently his passengers had been told to get off his cab," another witness says. "He went over across the street to where the museum was and tried to let the customers on, and was blocked by a police officer."
They say things had already calmed down, when the officer tased Guillon in the ribs. They watched their friend drop to the ground, screaming and writhing in pain. He hit his head hard on the police cruiser.
And then the officer fired again.
The real reason for the crackdown, comes at the end of this (IMO)
Bill Line, a National Park Service spokesman, said the pedicabs are engaged in illegal activity when they come onto park service property because they aren't allowed to make commercial transactions on the National Mall or the park service property around it -- including the roads.
"The pedicabs are obviously doing much more than driving a bike," he said. "The pedicabs are obviously out at the National Mall to make cold hard American cash."
The bikes aren't safe, he said. Furthermore, the Tourmobile bus service has an exclusive year-to-year contract to provide transportation services to the Mall. "We cannot allow these pedicabs to pick up and drop off because that would breach the contract with the Tourmobile," he said.
Line is wrong, There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that the pedicabs are unsafe. Has there been even one injury related to them over the last five years? Not that I know of.
Park police say that the driver was tased after he attacked the officer. They also denied a crackdown saying that officers are simply going after drivers who clog the roadway, impede traffic and stand illegally in handcap and crosswalk spaces.
And relatedly, DC is considering regulating the industry.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says he believes the vehicles should be regulated. The city's Department of Transportation is drafting new rules.
He sees them as like bikes, but not bikes.
DDOT is drafting new regulations.