Friday I wrote about an incident downtown where a Hummer driver hit a cyclist, and the police let him drive away after pulling him over with a bicycle lodged beneath his car. Since then additional details have come forward in a witness statement by one of the cyclists:
I urged the police officer that this man was guilty of a crime and claimed to have had a gun, but the police officer told me ”Did you see a gun?” I told him that I believed the man and that I didnt need visual verification to be terrified. The officer then told me quote ”I have a lightsaber, do you believe me?” and walked away.
I’ve heard officers make pithy remarks like that before, and I usually take it in stride as the jawboning that occurs between officers and dissatisfied citizens. However, when it is a pithy remark dismissing the serious allegation that someone claimed to be armed, someone who is now leaving the scene unrestrained, I think it’s inappropriate. Keep in mind this is one of the passengers who later returned to the scene and threatened to beat the cyclists up, coming back “60 crips deep”, if they talked to police.
Of the witnesses I’ve spoken with, many of them have said that most of the officers handling the incident were decent and helpful. They isolated the commanding officer at the scene, Officer Cho, as the exception, saying that he mixed personal bias with his work. However, this witnesses report suggests that the other officers were not uniformly professional. Here’s a longer excerpt:
XXXXX was hit while traveling in the farthest right lane of traffic from behind by a black hummer h3. The hummer then came to a stop at the red light of 7th and Los angeles( twenty or so feet from where XXXXX was hit). They then rolled all of the windows down and told us to get away because ”they had a gun\guns” . . .
. . . Following this a large(6’2”+) Black man dressed in jeans and a long white t-shirt stepped out of the passenger side and put his arms out saying ”back the fuck away I have a gun”. His party urged him back into the vehicle, and when YYYYY (of our group) said ”GET THE VIN NUMBER!” the driver of the black hummer h3 put it in drive, and drove over three more bicycles, almost taking riders with him . . .
. . . Sometime between when the police stopped him and they ran over the bikes, the black man in the white long t shirt got out of the car and started to walk back towards 7th and los angeles. I urged the police officer that this man was guilty of a crime and claimed to have had a gun, but the police officer told me ”Did you see a gun?” I told him that I believed the man and that I didnt need visual verification to be terrified. The officer then told me quote ”I have a lightsaber, do you believe me?” and walked away.
What irks me about this is how cavalier people are being about weapons. Officer Cho intimated that he might have used his personal firearm were he the Hummer driver. This officer seems to dismiss the possibility of the passenger carrying a gun as trivial. Finally, LAPD let this motorist drive away from the scene after stopping him when there was a bicycle lodged underneath the car. The 2009 H3 has a curb weight of 4695 lbs, making it a pretty serious weapon (and it was reportedly used as such.) How can someone suspected of hit and run be allowed to drive away from the scene?