LAPD Officer: "I have a lightsaber" (Hummer follow up)

By Alex Thompson

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.

(artist Erock's rendition of a new era of community policing foreshadowed by the officer above)

(artist Erock's rendition of a new era of community policing foreshadowed by the officer above)

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?

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24 Responses to “LAPD Officer: "I have a lightsaber" (Hummer follow up)”

  1. Whatf the tables were turned around: Someone in a car claims to have a gun. How would the officer react? ON the defensive, of course, and logically.

    That lightsaber remark was disrespectful and bone headed.

  2. This is not exclusively a cycling issue, this is everyone’s issue. The police let a potentially armed individual out on the streets, and that is everyone’s concern.

    Trying to make Friday happen, will hopefully see ya then.

  3. i personally prefer living in a world where law enforcement uses lightsabers…. the only condition is that they actually use them, instead of letting criminals drive away in their two ton vehicles….

  4. I saw we start a concealed carry cyclist movement. We should all purchase handguns and apply for concealed carry permits.

    So when someone communicates a deadly threat and demonstrates the means to carry it out, we can just shoot them.

  5. Perhaps the officer mistook ‘I believe he has a gun’ for ‘That man and his friends told me he had a gun and to “get the F*** away.”

    Regardless, threatening gang retaliation after a hit and run is not a joke. Particularly when making what might be considered threat with firearms. Generally, an officer is not supposed to make judgement calls as to which perceived threats are real but respond and report to a judge.

    Legal stuff put aside/a general note–leave a car lane open and practice non-aggression.

  6. EddieBoyinLA taught me that if a gangsta has a gun, they NEVER hesitate to show it. So it was likely that home-boy wasn’t packing, which over-all is a good thing.

    As for Cops, their gun is right there on their hip. That’s why you have to do what they say. They are always right. There is no exception to that rule.

  7. Wow. I don’t understand how this isn’t a (at least one) felony attempted murder charge. Did you take this any further with the police department? It seems like even if one officer did nothing (and thus should be on paid leave pending an internal investigation) there’s still a crime involved. I’d go further and charge the officer with malfeasance. If you have witnesses, I bet a competent lawyer could extract a lot of money from the city over this. This is the only way they’ll learn.

  8. FUCK THE POLICE COMEN STRAIGHT FROM THE UNDERGROUND!

    just kidding piggys… I wubz youz! accept when you fail completely at serving and protecting. *cough* Cho *cough*

  9. Swine disease!

  10. US police deaths in 2007: 186 (1)
    US cyclist deaths in 2007: 698 (2)

    Relative to cyclists, police are pussies. Relative to police, cyclists are brave. And there’s also never a question about a cyclist’s motivation for being there.

    1 – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22400744/
    2 – http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/2644.html

  11. Cyclist need to get the fu*K out of the way.

  12. @ Taxicat – good luck on that CCW permit. In case you haven’t noticed the LAPD (or LACS) doesn’t just hand them out to non-celebrities.

    And in case you aren’t just being deliberately obtuse, if someone tells you to get away from him because he has a gun, that is not a reasonable belief of immediate harm – and thus not “self-defense” if you “go loud” and “drop” him.

  13. Do any of You know what CRIP stands for?

    (C)owards
    (R)un
    (I)n
    (P)acks

    Cowards Run In Packs…

  14. Ahhh yes, I remember back when a Hummer was somthing else and loved by all.
    Cough “BLOWJOB” cough.

  15. Do any of You know what LAPD stands for?

    (L)osers
    (A)re
    (P)rotecting
    (D)icks

    Losers Are Protecting Dicks.

  16. I’m sorry,
    I just made the Cowards and Losers of America Association sound bad.

    Q: What’s the lowest most disgusting life form in the universe?

    A: CRIPS

  17. @ CRIP

    SILENCE, I KILL YOU!

    You know, You shouldn’t be letting our secret out.

  18. ^^^Ha ha ha – someone’s playing games with themselves. Enough enough – comments are 4 serius business!

  19. I posted the incident to Bikewise here. Feel free to add details.

  20. I believe we have seen LAPD perform…..Rodney King and all the Rampart scandal not to mention all the little events we have all experienced. Let’s ask to keep that Federal Injunction on them….. to monitor any allegations (real) of corruption. Call LA City Council……The first person to take the stand against Alex Sanchez was an LAPD officer….do you believe him????

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. “I have a lightsaber, do you believe me?” « Mikey Wally - April 27th, 2009

    [...] have a lightsaber, do you believe me?” By Mikey Wally From Westside BikeSIDE!: Friday I wrote about an incident downtown where a Hummer driver hit a cyclist, and the police let [...]

  2. thy neighbor’s bike » More Crap in the News… - May 6th, 2009

    [...] still need more reason to shake your head, here is a quote from one of the witnesses (taken from WestsideBikeside: XXXXX was hit while traveling in the farthest right lane of traffic from behind by a black hummer [...]

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