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Between this and ejecting journalists from a Taxicab Commission meeting a few days ago, Park Police are way out of control. Who's going to rein these thugs in?

Are pedicabs still completely unregulated/under-the-table?

All too common, I assure you. And not restricted to cyclists.

Refusing to show id is a losing proposition.


As I interpret it an officer must have a reasonable suspicion but I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe any officer can't just invent one.

Best to show the id then immediately and politely ask if you are free to leave.

All too common, I assure you. And not restricted to cyclists.

Unrelated to cycling story:
A few years ago I was watching an anti-fur demonstration. Plenty of police presence was on hand.

During the protest I stood just behind the officers as they took pictures and identified known demonstrators.

I also got to overhear their rather frank appraisal on various demonstrators sexual proclivities.

Among the protestors were 3 who were wearing masks (to hinder their identification). Keep in mind that this protest was fully on public property and completely civil.

The police pulled the 3 out of the crowd and asked for their id. They initially refused but when given the choice of arrest or showing the id they complied.

I suppose a court would find the wearing of a mask to be a reasonable suspicion.

On the heels of the GGW story I saw about this yesterday, this is really troubling. I'm sure the office has a different version of the events as they occured, but as this is not an isolated incident, and rather a part of a pattern of behavior, I am more open to the student's side.

I have less than kind thoughts about the NPSP when I see them around downtown now...

I suppose a court would find the wearing of a mask to be a reasonable suspicion.

Let me comment on my own comment :)

This is what confused me at the time.

Sure wearing a mask was "suspicious". But I think the standard is that the officer has to be reasonably suspicious that a crime has been or is about to be committed!.

Park Police don't answer directly to local politicians so they may be somewhat insulated from criticism of overstepping their bounds, treating people with respect and using basic common sense.

Case in Point:
A year or two ago part of Rock Creek Park was closed to cars with a cop blocking cars from entering. I asked her if I could ride through and she said sure. A little further down the road I saw a fire truck, 2 Park Police cars and a tow truck connecting to a crashed car. The car had hit a tree off to the right side. Maybe 5 firemen were sanding on the left shoulder watching the tow truck connect to the smashed car. So I slowed way down to walking pace and went way over to the left of the road. Suddenly one of the Park Police exploded in a bizarre fit of rage screaming how could I ride my bike through such a dangerous situation. I was across the street from the accident a foot or two from the firemen (there was no fire they were just standing watching and the cop and tow truck driver across the street). It was not a dangerous situation.

So I got of my bike and started to walk. then the Park Police officer yelled "What are you doing?!?!" and I had no idea what I was doing wrong. He screamed at me to go back, get out of the street and walk behind he firemen. I can't do justice explaining how angry and bizarre his rant was. The firemen seemed shocked too. So I walked my bike back behind the firemen.

The thing is all the officer had to do was ask. No need to go ballistic screaming at me. Maybe he thought I was ignoring the closed street and he could not have known I asked his colleague if it was OK to ride through, but still it was still an amazing over reaction. I wish I had a video because my description can't do this officer's looney reaction justice.

I worry about the Park Police and the aparent pattern of crazy over reactions to pretty small stuff.

Note to self: avoid NPSP when on a bike.

Which nobody should have to do, least of all people eking out a living escorting people from one place to another without an engine or AC. Would they show the same behavior toward someone driving a car-taxi-cab?

I often don't carry ID when biking. Why should I need it? (And: I don't think avoiding the random rage of NPSP is a fair answer, even if it is apparently accurate.)

I hope you carry some form of ID. I know at least three cyclists who got concussed in accidents, so were for a period unable to communicate. You owe it to your loved ones.

Agreed. On WAGBRAD last year one cyclist hit his head and Mark Blacknell, who graciously helped him to the hospital, couldn't figure out who to call or even where the guy lived. I recommend ID and possibly even some sort of ICE card.

Definitely get a RoadID or similar device. Cycling without ID is irresponsible, IMHO.

Also, the person in question was operating a pedicab, not merely riding around recreationally. I'm not sure it's unreasonable to expect pedicab operators to produce ID.

(Not that I'm in any way supporting the unnecessary roughness alleged by the pedicab operator.)

@Tim H
Crickey7, washcycle and antibozo all state the *best* reason why you should carry an id while biking.

While here is no legal requirement to do so, unlike driving, if you are stopped by an officer for some infraction he well could decide to take you into custody in lieu of not being able to, with certainty, establish your identity.

Are you up for a body cavity search just because you rolled that stop sign?

Also, the person in question was operating a pedicab, not merely riding around recreationally. I'm not sure it's unreasonable to expect pedicab operators to produce ID.

And if such a law existed it would not be an unreasonable law. But until that law exists the police can't go around making up their own laws.

As an aside, the name of the police force in question is the US Park Police. They hate it when people get their name wrong, especially when doing so implies they are a part of the National Park Service, which they don't consider themselves part of.

Police don't need specific legal authorization for every little thing they do. And I'm merely questioning the characterization of the act of requesting ID from a pedicab operator as fascist or "Nazi"--the pedicabs are carting the general public around and acting, at least in part, as commercial vehicles. A regular cabbie is expected to display his or her hack license. I don't necessarily advocate a full licensing scheme for the pedicabs, but they are responsible for others' safety and I don't think the comparison with Nazism is fair in this case.

Moreover, I can't help but suspect that there's a lot more to the story than what we're getting from a 22-year-old college student. "Just trying to understand the situation" could well mean "getting in a shouting match with the cop."

Sure, just like the "disruptive journalists at the the Taxicab meeting this week

Well, the Nazi reference is from a joke from Saturday Night Live - and should be considered as such.

But, it's a joke that's funny because it has a bit of truth in it. The bad guys in movies ask people to "Show their papers" without reason. And it doesn't sound like this officer had a reason, he just wanted her to show her ID. I don't want to constantly have to show my papers to the police, and as Contrarian pointed out - despite the fact that pedicabs are carrying around the general public - they aren't required to display a license or ID under current law, and taxi drivers are.

SJE, I don't see how the Taxicab meeting is relevant. What similarities are there between the two situations? Were the journalists asked to show ID?

Of course none of us wants to be asked to "show our papers" at the whim of jackbooted thugs, but I don't see this as an example of that. I agree displaying ID isn't required by law; I'm saying it seems inconsistent that it isn't required by law.

I've made it clear I don't see any justification for violence, but I don't understand the objection in principle to the police asking to see the ID of a pedicab operator, especially without any comment from the policeman in question as to why he did so. For all we know, the policeman had ample grounds to request it--I don't understand why everyone assumes otherwise.

I'm frankly pretty skeptical about the completeness of Miss Roberts's story. And her refutation of the assault charge is absurd--"He was almost twice my size." If we accepted that, we would accept she could go around attacking anyone she pleases as long as the victim is "almost twice her size".

Anyway, the horse is tired, and I'm going to cycle home now. Stay safe, everyone! :^)

Re: carrying ID in case of accident - If you are in a serious accident, it is very easy for you to be separated from your bike (as a friend learned from witnessing a fatal accident). Your clothing might be cut off by the EMTs treating you, and your ID never gets connected with you. Relying on your wallet or cell phone in a saddlebag or pocket may be insufficient. A Road ID band, dog tags, or a medical alert bracelet are the safest bet to make sure your loved ones are notified.

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