(update: more details on the incident)
Friday morning at approximately 2am in downtown LA: A black Hummer, bearing no license plates, hits a cyclist, knocking him to the ground. The Hummer then flees the scene dragging a bike it ran over underneath it, only to be pulled over one block over by LAPD. After taking reports from witnesses, Officer Cho addresses the group of about twelve cyclists, saying:
If it had been me with my family in that car, I’d have done the same thing, and I carry a gun in my car.
(Photo lightened in order to be visible. Courtesy Matt Stilline’s cellphone – you’d think a pro photojournalist could take a better photo)
The incident occured as a small group of about twelve riders turned right from Los Angeles St to 7th St. As the group turned, a Hummer which had been honking at the group hit and injured a rider, who spent the night in the ER for ankle injuries. His friends helped him to the curb, and the Hummer stopped. However, the motorist then tried to flee the scene, as cyclists tried to record the license plate number. Two cyclists quickly blocked its path as the passengers and cyclists yelled at each other.
Eventually the driver drove into the cyclists, who narrowly escaped severe injury by scattering. The Hummer ran over at least three bikes, destroying them, and smashing a cyclist in her thigh with a bike in the process. He then drove down one block, turned onto Main St., where he was pulled over by LAPD.
The occupants of the car fled on foot, and though LAPD caught the driver, several of the passengers escaped. Those passengers returned later to threaten the group of cyclists, saying that if they spoke with police, they would return “60 crips deep.”
After a large group of police officers interviewed the witnesses and the suspects they released the driver, who drove off without a ticket. Officer Cho, the officer in charge at the scene then approached the cyclists. He first told the group:
Get everyone together because I don’t want to say this twice. If anyone says anything I’m gonna walk away and I’m not going to talk to you guys. Based on the evidence right now it looks like the cyclist hit the car, not that the car hit the cyclist.
Cyclist then argued with him, pointing out that the driver of the Hummer was dislodging a bicycle from underneath his vehicle when the police pulled him over. Officer Cho then responded, saying “if it had been me with my family in that car, I’d have done the same thing, and I carry a gun in my car.”
Stay tuned for follow up.