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Another aspect of the official response that I am disappointed with is that within the District, a Delaware cop does not have the privileges or responsibilities of a law enforcement officer. Or at least he/she shouldn't in my opinion

9/11 changed everything!

Or the governor can walk across a bike lane to a car that has been stopped in the vehicle lane. He walks across the sidewalk, so what's another couple feet more?

The officer clearly overreacted and could have easily and unnecessarily escalated the situation.

I'd like to think I'm fairly knowledgeable about current events and politics, but no offense to the governor, but even I couldn't pick him out of a lineup.

Rob,
Protective details have reciprocity. George Wallace was a sitting governor when he had an assassination attempt on his life. I am all about people being held accountable for parking in bike lanes, and holding overzealous law enforcement accountable. However I think some of you are taking this a bit far. Protective details inconvenience everyone in DC, it's a fact of life. That's not going to change. But they should be expected to treat the public with respect and do their best to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Governor is more likely to be run over than assassinated.

Respect for the police and the job they do comes not from platitudes about the police but from experience. Bad experiences with the police undermine their authority.

@Hmmm: I'd actually be curious to know if a Delaware police officer has legal authority to give official orders in DC. Specifically, if I had continued my call with emergency services, would this visitor have the legal privilege to detain or forcibly remove me.

On an unrelated note, I've come to take the civility of the comments on this blog (and select others, i.e. GGW) for granted. Very happy I disable commenting by default on the DCMD channel.

Someone mentioned that the DC Police Chief sends a letter every year to every department sending people to National Police Week reminding them that they are not authorized to act as law enforcement in the District and to comply with all DC laws. Off course, they're off-duty.

I suppose as a cyclist, the governor might want his staff to understand Rule 43 - Don't be a jackass.

Him, this reminds of our own police driving on the bike trails in violation of the law against driving on the sidewalk.

Regardless of what you think about the bike lane portion of this, I'm glad this has blown up in that officer's face. He likely won't suffer any real consequences, but maybe next time he'll think twice before he bullies someone--at least someone with a camera.

Miniature video and the Internet have really exposed the political dimension of State force to the comfortably protected and could change how authority is exercised. To paraphrase the concealed carry nuts, a documented society is a polite society.

Let me help the Delaware State Police with their investigation by picking apart the Governor's spokesperson's comment.

"Law enforcement officers must sometimes block lanes of traffic in order to do their job effectively"

Law enforcement officers WITHIN their jurisdiction MAY block lanes of traffic WHEN NECESSARY to perform their DUTIES.

The Governor of Delaware attending a meeting in an office building in downtown Washington DC does need his vehicle parked illegally in moving traffic.

The Governor can walk to his car, or call his "chauffeur" to come and pick him up when he is ready.

Intimidating a local by brazenly flashing a badge (which implies gun) and a gun and telling him to not "Play with him" is not alright, even if it is not explicitly against policy.

I think we as citizens of the city have a right to be upset, and as a cyclist, I am continually frustrated by the lack of respect shown to me while on the road.

ja_friend, I think you nailed it.

The assertion that they need to block travel lanes when necessary to perform their job assumes that the reason for blocking is the performance of their job, like accident investigation or safety. Here, it's at most ancillary to the purpose. The primary purpose is transporting the Governor safely. If that can be accomplished without continuing to block traffic, then the blocking of traffic is not "necessary", but only related to the purpose. The only necessary blocking is brief in duration and ought to be of the travel lane that the vehicle in question is using.

There are a lot of drivers here in DC whose had run in with cyclist, I've witness a lot while driving through downtown and other parts of the city. Most of the ones I've seen, the cyclist are usually at fault. They show very little respect for drivers, act if they own the street and have the right to not respect the law. When they are at fault and know it, they still curse or flip you off and cause anger to the driver. No one ever go around taking videos of cyclist when they are in the wrong.

I do own the street, while I'm on it. Which is the same way every vehicle I see on the streets acts. That alternative is that cyclists are there at someone else's sufferance--which drivers believe is them, hence the reference to "respect." I understand your perspective about fault, but it's extremely unreliable. I have my own perspective based on riding in mixed traffic thousands of miles a year, in safety and without citations. And from my perspective, every run in I've had has been the driver's fault.

"No one ever go around taking videos of cyclist when they are in the wrong."

Oh?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6LgHrOKHR4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD9UpcRzp9Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBV7ErhzCHI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vLXB_7roOQ

I know Team Player isn't one and is likely not coming back, but he or she just needs to get on the other side of the fence once in a while. Get on a bike and you're perception changes and you become a better driver. Not a week (almost said "day") goes by where, if I didn't take evasive action, some illegal act of a motorist would have resulted in injury or worse to me. Illegal u-turns on top of you, sudden right hooks without a signal, failure to yield the right-of-way on a left-hand turn.

Meanwhile, all speeding motorists can see is the minority of cyclists who run lights. Try stepping off a curb in DC when the light has changed and see how long you survive all the drivers running the light. Hypocrisy is borne from inexperience.

Someone needs a hug. I'm happy to do that right after I finish my uphill 10 mile commute home in this afternoon's heat.

There are a lot of drivers here in DC whose had run in with cyclist...

This whole comment is totally irrelevant. Sometimes cyclists are jerks. This is not one of those cases. This is a case where a driver - a law enforcement official - was a jerk. It's like defending the cop from the Texas pool party by saying that some teen agers are dangerous criminals.

There are jerk cyclists, jerk motorists, and jerk cops.
When someone is a jerk, they should get called on it (which we do here). They don't get a pass because another person, in another situation, was once a jerk.

As for the police, they are guardians of the people and representatives of the state: they should be setting a good example. The police do not get to be jerks even IF someone is a jerk to them.

The cop could have responded more politely but the cyclist could have just asked him to move the vehicle first, instead of immediately calling police. It's DC, there are a lot of reasons for people to be "illegally" parked. All the cyclist had to do was say "excuse me, is this your car? It's in a bike Lane." cop says "I'm a cop on official business" and the cyclist moves on no problem.

As for a DE cop having jurisdiction, pretty sure the answer is yes he does. He is a police officer, out of his normal jurisdiction, but most likely with the permission of the local jurisdiction to perform his duties.

Did he need to block the bike Lane? Probably not. Was he legally allowed to? Probably. Was the cop a dick? Yea, a little bit. Did the cyclist handle it the best he could? Not really.

Popiyo:
The car was illegally parked. The cop tried to intimidate him for reporting it. Do you really think that asking nicely would have made a difference? Once again, cyclists are expected to be exemplary.

I've tried asking nicely several times. It has never gone well. That could just be me. Now I usually just shout a "that's not a parking space" as I fly by in my cowardly way. I'm thinking of obtaining some ninja stars for car tires though. jk

Anecdote, as long as we're still at it: My late father used to storm into the 13th precinct house in Manhattan whenever his frustration with cops parked illegally around the neighborhood (he commuted to Westchester and had to look for a space every evening) reached the boiling point. Why he never got his head rammed into a door I will never know, but he did, at one point, get a desk sergeant's direct number and a few tickets given out. I wish I had inherited his ability to act fearlessly on his principles (or rage).

Yup, cyclists are the only people who ever break traffic laws and disrespect others. Except when they aren't.

There's this for example:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Failing-to-Yield-to-Pedestrians-in-Montgomery-Co-Could-Cost-You-206557651.html

Note how almost no drivers during the entire police enforcement action bothered to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, even though the officers were wearing bright T-shirts on a sunny day in the early afternoon.

"Did the cyclist handle it the best he could? Not really."

Until they invent the bike-mounted cowcatcher, it's the best we can do.

"Did the cyclist handle it the best he could? Not really."

No, he's right. The cyclist could have just parked his bike right in front of the suv and enjoyed the ensuing heckling. I've stopped a vehicle driving down the cycletrack before. The driver got pissed and said well what can I do now and I said back up, I'll help you by calling out any obstructions.

SJE:
Do we actually know that the car was illegally parked? For all we know they had permission from the DC police to park there to pick up the governor. If that's the case and you don't agree with that decision then it's the DC police you should be mad at. If he did not have permission and was not allowed to park there than the DC police should take that up with gov Markell and the DE state police.

OK, we don't actually know.

Lets look at the facts.

Based on the available evidence, a reasonable person would assume that the car was illegally parked, and act accordingly. It was not improper for the cyclist to call 911, especially given DC policy and his previous experience with abuse from drivers.

In reply, the cop
1. did not assert that he had a right to park there
2. show that he had a right to park there
3. stated that he didnt car about local laws
4. threatened the person who attempted to call 911.


Based on the above, the cyclist behaved reasonably. The cop did not. There may be additional facts, but none have been offered. They would have to be pretty amazing facts to excuse d-bag behavior from the cop.

I did an interview with these guys earlier today, and they were really great:
http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/06/delaware-cop-may-have-broken-dc-law-falsely-impersonating-a-public-officer/

I think there may be a full video thing coming out soon too

The cop could have responded more politely but the cyclist could have just asked him to move the vehicle first, instead of immediately calling police.

The police have actually asked cyclists to call and report violators. And they have told cyclists not to confront violators. That's how you get physical confrontations. Rob handled it exactly as DC police would have advised him to.

It's DC, there are a lot of reasons for people to be "illegally" parked.

And that for the police/courts to sort out.

All the cyclist had to do was say "excuse me, is this your car? It's in a bike Lane." cop says "I'm a cop on official business" and the cyclist moves on no problem.

Sure. But the cop's official business didn't require him to park there. But this incident will probably keep this cop, and many others, from parking in bike lanes in this manner ever again. That's a good outcome.

He is a police officer, out of his normal jurisdiction, but most likely with the permission of the local jurisdiction to perform his duties.

There is no reason to believe this.

Did he need to block the bike Lane?

Absolutely not.

Was he legally allowed to?

Nope.

Did the cyclist handle it the best he could? Not really.

I'm unclear on what he did wrong. He didn't even get angry and curse at the cop. I'd say he handled it as well as could have been done. Where was the negative outcome here?

For all we know they had permission from the DC police to park there to pick up the governor.

I don't think the police can give that kind of permission. They can choose not to enforce, but they can't change the law. Still, right now the burden is on the DE cop. If he can show that DC police gave him "permission" then the burden shifts there. But we don't have to consider every possibility that you can pull out of your ass.

Love Rob's Youtube channel! If my wife ever finds it, she'll make me up my life insurance to about 8 million bucks.

I saw more info in this Reuters article on June 11th
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/11/us-usa-districtofcolumbia-trooper-idUSKBN0OR2HR20150611?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

A Delaware state trooper working as a driver for Governor Jack Markell is under investigation after a video showed him blocking a bike lane in Washington and pointing to his gun while arguing with a bicyclist, authorities said on Thursda

They must've watched a different video than me "In the video posted to YouTube, a bicyclist blocked by a sport utility vehicle in the bike lane is seen asking the driver if he was aware the car was in a traffic lane."

I don't see him ask the driver anything.

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