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Man gets tackled & tasered riding bicycle away from airp

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Man gets tackled & tasered riding bicycle away from airp

Postby Wesociety on Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:32 pm

Man gets tackled & tasered riding bicycle away from airport
I was leaving MSP airport by bicycle after a flight from California. I was legally operating my bicycle completely in accord with MN statutes and MAC airport ordinances. I was following all posted signs. There were NO signs at that time prohibiting bicycles. I was rudely accosted by an officer in a passing squad car, came to a stop, and was immediately threatened with mace and taser if I didn't get off the bike and up on the curb. I did not understand the reason for this outrage.
I calmly yet firmly protested the threats, and said that I was happy to abide by all laws that applied, but asked what I had done wrong and why the process was so immediately belligerent. Officer Wingate said 'You can't ride here'.
I asked where that was posted. Officer Wingate made a vague gesture in the direction of the Lindbergh terminal and angrily said 'back there'. I asked for specifics of where it was and what the sign said, and tried to explain that I had been to the airport many times and had never seen such a sign. Officer Wingate became more angry at this questioning of his authority, and burst out 'I'm *telling* you you can't ride here'. I never raised my voice, used profanity or made threatening gestures yet I was threatened again: 'I'm going to mace you, I'm going to tase you!'.


Read the full story here:
http://greencycles.blogspot.com/2007/06/overview.html

This is ridiculous. I hate cops who mistreat citizens and show no respect for our Constitutional rights.
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Postby aviationwiz on Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:46 pm

I'm taking the whole story with a grain of salt, as I can't think of a single way to legally enter or exit the Lindbergh terminal with a bike. I've also asked several other people who are as familiar with the airport as I am, and neither can they. Well, other than via the free shuttle to the Humphrey terminal, or the use of Light Rail or buses.
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Postby Ian on Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:22 pm

I'm not a big fan of people suing others, but in this case, Officer Wingate needs to be held accountable for his actions.

I've always been one to question authority. While most police officers are good people, I've run into a few that don't like it when you question their actions.
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Postby Dartman on Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:01 am

Yes it's ridiculous but sometimes you just got to say yes sir and keep yer mouth shut and do what your told.
He had the guy letting him ride out finally then he started asking questions that didn't need to be asked and got him all pissed off again.
Some bike riders think they can do whatever they want and just push it too far then get all upset when somebody else gets mad.
He should have taken the I'll let you ride out of here free card when he had the chance, THEN raised hell later after he was safe at home. You have to pick your battles and cops tend to always hold the high card whether they're right or not.
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Postby Wesociety on Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:41 pm

I've got a friend in law school that I usually chat with about legal news and other related topics.

Here is his opinion on the matter:

This guy actually doesn't have any good Constitutional challenges.
It's kinda complicated, but the Supreme Court does not give special
consideration to bicyclists as opposed to African Americans. The
police just have to show a rational basis for their actions, which in
this case was the safety of motorists and the airport.

Cruel and Unusual punishment only gets tested when the action is purely
punitive in manner. Even if the police had no safety justification, it
would still fail the Cruel and Unusual test. The test is that the
action must comport with "a consenus of societal standards and be
proportional to offense committed." The social trend is to use mace
and tasers more frequently than billy clubs and night sticks.
Additionally, it is not considered punishment when the punished can act
in such a way that the punishment would not be carried out. The
Supreme Court has held it Constitutional to withold food and water from
prison inmates who refuse to work, but who will receive food and water
when they agree to work.

The Supreme Court has also moved away from a strict Maranda situtation
and has created what is known as a "Terry stop". A police officer may
stop anyone for simple questioning. This bicyclist was leaving a
secure airport post 9-11. He was riding a bicycle which the police had
probably never seen leaving the airport. He was combatitive and
refused to obey the officer's directions for his safety as well as the
safety of other motorists. This amounted to enough for a probable
cause to detain him and frisk him for weapons. When he refused to
cooperate after they had probable cause to detain him, the police had
probable cause to arrest him.

The police charged him under the wrong statutes and did not write the
complaint nor their personal statements correctly. He will most likely
walk. The only claim he could use against the police officers was that
the use of force was excessive. He would have to prove beyond a
proponderance of the evidence that the police had means to detain him
with a lesser degree of force. This would be difficult for him because
both sides admit that there was fair warning about the use of the
taser. He would also have to show a gross diviation from the standards
for take downs and tasers in the police regulations manuals.

He would have had a good claim if he had fully complied with the police
and they still infringed on his rights. Such cases are won when the
victim was faultless. We are expected to minimize damages done to
ourselves; it is a doctrine of law.

Police are typically idiots, which is why it is usually better to
listen to them. They have guns. If they are wrongfully detaining you
and you listen to them, you can still sue them later.

I read this guy's lawyer's motions to dismiss. His lawyers made
several errors in their motion which I discovered in only a couple
minutes of Westlaw.com research. Their motion failed obviously because
they are going to jury selection. Juries are weird because they have
the capacity to ignore the law and find people guilty/not guilty.
Hopefully they won't do that in his case.

He would have saved himself time, money, and pain if he had simply
smiled and adjusted his belongings until the police left rather than
called them assholes.
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Postby Dartman on Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:41 am

Yep, Always say yes sir, be polite, and follow orders, don't give any info not asked.
Pretty much what I said, he shoulda shut up and rode away.
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Postby LoneWolf on Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:42 pm

Dartman wrote:Yes it's ridiculous but sometimes you just got to say yes sir and keep yer mouth shut and do what your told.
He had the guy letting him ride out finally then he started asking questions that didn't need to be asked and got him all pissed off again.
Some bike riders think they can do whatever they want and just push it too far then get all upset when somebody else gets mad.
He should have taken the I'll let you ride out of here free card when he had the chance, THEN raised hell later after he was safe at home. You have to pick your battles and cops tend to always hold the high card whether they're right or not.


I ride 1,000-1,500 miles a year.

As a cyclist, I know that most cyclists have more rights than many police officers know. There are actually quite a few police that don't understand that a cyclist (as defined by almost all 50 states' laws) is a vehicle, and should be treated as one for all practical purposes. And when a cyclist knows their rights, and a cop doesn't, and a cyclist tries to politely point them out, the cyclist may very well lose to a cop who doesn't like his authority being questioned. Fortunately for me, most officers in this area truly do know the law, but I've had a few friends who were given a rough time --friends who have never had a ticket, use their helmets, know their hand signals (serious cyclists do, and they use them) and are very conscious of the law. Sure, there are a few arrogant cyclists out there, but this doesn't sound like that's the case here.

Cops shouldn't hold the high card when they're wrong --it's that simple. Because police uphold the law, they need to be held to the highest standard of knowing what the laws they uphold actually are, or they should be willing to call back to their dispatch center and have said law looked over.

The sad thing is that I've known cyclists that had this happen --and then, because the officer couldn't cite them as no laws were broken, then cited them instead for "failure to obey a police officer". Abuse of authority at its finest.
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Postby Ian on Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:58 pm

I think this sums it up pretty well.
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