Saturday, June 11, 2011

Victory (sort of)

(Final update to the story here).

Remember when that guy purposely hit me with his car, and then tried to run away but got caught? If not you can re-read my post from that day here. I can finally tell you the whole story, because this whole saga is basically at an end.

But before I get to that, I wanna talk about Bike Fest. You are going, aren't you? If you haven't got tickets yet, you should still be able to get them at the gate. I plan on going (I already bought my ticket). I was hoping to catch the Mount Pleasant Cruiser Convoy to Crystal City, but I don't get out of work until 8pm, and I'm betting they will have left by then. I'm going to beg to get out of work a little early, but I'm not sure if I will be successful. I'm a little apprehensive about riding the Mount Vernon trail after dark. I have lights on Betty, but they are more for visibility than for me being able to see in the dark. If you have any tips for me, let me know! Also, if you happen to be riding from the Columbia Heights/Petworth/Adams Morgan area, drop me a line.

Anyway, back to my story. One night, back in February, I was riding a Capital Bikeshare bike home (I was doing the Winter Weather Warrior contest, remember?)

I was stopped at the intersection of 13th and Kenyon St. NW at a red light, waiting to turn left onto 13th St. Kenyon is a one-way street going west, and I was on the left side of the street, since I would be turning left. While waiting for the light I heard a car speed up Kenyon St. behind me. I could sense the car stop immediately behind me, extremely close. It was aggressive, but fairly typical aggressive driver behavior. I didn't think much of it because we were at a red light, and there was no where for him to go anyway.

And that's when I felt a *BUMP* from behind. Nothing too hard, but enough to intimidate. Now, remember: I knew he had STOPPED behind me. So this was a conscious decision by the driver to hit me with his vehicle. I could hear laughing coming from the car behind me. They thought this was HILARIOUS. Also, there was a taxi to my right, waiting for the light as well that even remarked on this behavior ("asshole" is what I think the taxi driver said).

I ignored this. Why? 98% of the time, it is not worth it to engage with an aggressive driver. At best, you end up getting angrier, at worst, you get hurt. Plus, I spend the majority of my day dealing with people like this and by the time I'm done with work I Just. Don't. Want. To. Anymore.

The light turned green and I started to proceed. And then I felt *BUMP!!!!!* again, this time a bit harder.

Oh no. No. No. No. I can't ignore this. I just can't.

So I stopped. Pulled out my police badge (yes, I'm a cop if you didn't know before. No I really don't want to talk about it, thanks) showed it to the driver and motioned him to stay right where he was.

And that's when he panicked.

Before I get any further, let me explain something to you about a police badge. It doesn't grant you super powers. It's simply a piece of tin embedded with a number. It's not magical. It will not stop bullets. It will not make people do what you want. It will not make you win a fight. I have plenty of friends that always seem to think that because I'm a police officer, I am impervious to assault, robbery & bullets and that I never, ever have to worry about these things. This is not true. If anything, I am more vulnerable. Because instead of just being your average girl, I'm a threat. I live in the fear that should I ever be the victim of a robbery, the criminals will discover my badge and decide they can't risk me living and kill me. This actually happened to a friend of mine who was shot during a robbery when they saw his badge. He lived to talk about it, thankfully--but its a very real and very possible fear.

And that's pretty much what happened here. Instead of seeing a harmless Girl on a Bicycle that he could bully with his car, he suddenly saw someone that was a threat to him. And why was I a threat? Because this upstanding citizen of the District of Columbia makes his living selling illegal drugs, which is more than likely what he was doing that particular night (you will see how I know this a bit later in the story).

All I heard was "Oh shit" come out of his mouth, and the sound of squealing tires as he and his friends desperately tried to run away.

I'm not sure why I decided to go after him. I was on a CaBi, in civilian attire, off-duty. Instinct I guess? I did though. I followed him up Kenyon where he had gotten stuck in traffic & the light at 14th St. NW. I guess he saw me coming after him, because all of a sudden his reverse lights came on (he couldn't go anywhere else), and he started driving backwards towards me. I thought he was going to try to escape down the alley, but I guess he figured it was a dead-end. Anyway, he ended up being blocked in by traffic coming up Kenyon from 13th, so he was boxed in on both sides. I decided to get off my bike and talk to him again. I held up my badge and ordered him to stop. I don't know why I thought this would actually work.

Of course me walking toward him meant for him to step on the gas and accelerate towards me. I managed to get out of the way without him hitting me, but it was very close. So close I was able to hit his side mirror as he went by. The light had changed at 14th & the traffic had begun clearing, so he gunned it and managed to flee out of the block, down 14th St. It was at this time I grabbed my radio (it was in my bag) and broadcasted a look-out and that I needed help.

(Now, I know a lot of folks out there are going to say that this guy only got caught because I was a cop. I'm not going to argue, because its a bit more complicated than that. It's sort of right, and sort of not right. The only advantage I had over a "regular citizen" was my radio--I was able to get the information out to the officers in the field directly, rather than go through 911 call-takers & dispatchers. If anything, my "advantage" is my training. I was able to give the vehicle's tag number, description, as well as the description of the occupants of the vehicle and which direction they were headed in. I've taken plenty of hit & run reports and unfortunately many victims simply don't know what to look for or what's important. It's great that you memorized the license plate number--but we don't arrest cars, we arrest drivers.  Also, license plates get stolen, typically by the sorts of people that do hit & runs. Most of the time, victims cannot positively identify the driver, let alone the car. But that's just my experience)

Anyway, some officers came to my aid on Kenyon to make sure I was alright (I was. Thankfully I was not injured but it was very close). Soon after, they informed me that another officer had spotted the car and pulled it over. I would need to go there to see if I could positively identify the vehicle & driver.

When I arrived to the traffic stop, the driver & passengers had already been pulled from the car. I walked to the front of the car (because that's how I had viewed it back on Kenyon) to make sure it was the same car that hit me. It was. Also, because the doors were all open from when the passengers were taken out, I was able to quite clearly smell a SHIT TON* OF MARIJUANA. There was no mistaking that smell, and it was definitely coming from the car.

I looked over the passengers, and I was able to identify the driver very easily. He was placed under arrest at that point. One of the passengers also had a pending warrant and he was placed under arrest as well. The car was searched very thoroughly, but no marijuana could be found. It's my personal opinion that it was ditched while they fled from me. Either that, or it had just been sold because the driver also had a SHIT TON* OF CASH on him, all in a big wad.

The driver was charged at the scene with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (vehicle), Assault on a Police Officer, Fleeing & Eluding, & Reckless Driving. Needless to say, his vehicle was impounded.

I was very surprised to learn the next day that the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) had agreed to not only prosecute those charges, but also made it two counts of ADW instead of just one. I was also floored when they decided to hold him instead of releasing him (usually you have to kill more than one person to get held in jail in this city, sheesh). So, he was gonna be hanging out in DC Jail for quite awhile...

Anyway, because Mr. Harrison (that's his name) had been charged with (multiple) felonies, a Grand Jury hearing was needed to be sure there was probable cause to charge him. If you are not familiar with how a Grand Jury works in DC, its basically this:

The Grand Jury is made of a panel of 16-23 citizens, all randomly selected. In DC, they sit for about a month at a time, hearing hundreds of cases in that time-frame. There is no judge, nor is the defendant or his attorney present. Besides the Jury, there is a court recorder & the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case.  The AUSA presents their evidence to the Grand Jury in the form of victim & witness testimony, and any other evidence they may have. Unlike a trial, the standard of proof is simply probable cause. They do not find anyone "guilty", just merely that there is enough evidence to charge them with a particular crime. In the Grand Jury, the citizens are able to question any witnesses brought before them to testify. This is the part that always gets a little sticky....

In this case, I was to testify since I was the victim. And of course it became difficult to explain that No, this was not simply as result of a traffic accident, but rather Mr. Harrison purposely hitting me with his vehicle (making it an assault, not a traffic citation), and that No, there was no "bike lane" not that it mattered at all, and No, I did not abuse my power as a police officer for a personal vendetta. It seemed (to me) that there was a slight anti-cyclist bias and a slightly more pronounced bias against DC police officers (which I always expect. It is what it is). But overall, I think I did a fairly good job explaining what happened and why this was a crime.

Apparently the Grand Jury agreed with me and the AUSA, because my next meeting was with the AUSA to discuss the trial. Although the USAO had offered Mr. Harrison a plea deal, he refused it. He even hired some fancy-pants defense attorney (my guess is that when the attorney learned it was a DC police officer that was the victim, they smelled blood & money in the water and offered their services).

I actually would have preferred him to have pled out. I really did not look forward to going to trial. If you have never been a victim of a crime, (or have experience in dealing with them), you have no idea how tiresome & aggravating our system of justice is. You are basically forced re-live the crime over and over and over and over....

First, you tell your story to the police officers on the scene. Then you usually have to tell it again to the detective that follows up on the case. Then you have to tell it again to the prosecutor. Then there are all manner of motions hearings (in my case, Grand Jury). Then when you get to trial, you get to tell it yet again, and have the distinct pleasure of a defense attorney do everything in their power to discredit & destroy you while they cross-examine you. THEN, if you are lucky, they are found guilty and you get to tell your story AGAIN at sentencing. And AGAIN at a parole hearing.....it just never ends. And depending on how traumatic the crime is, this can have a very detrimental effect on a victim.

So, yeah. Not looking forward to a trial. But, it is what it is.

And now we come to the (almost) end of my story.

Keep in mind, that Mr. Harrison was still being held at DC jail.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the AUSA to go over my testimony one last time before the trial date next week. When I got there, he apologized and told me that he needed to run over to the court house because Mr. Harrison's arraignment was about to begin.

Arraignment? Wha? His arraignment was months ago.....

Not that arraignment---another one. Mr. Harrison was being charged AGAIN. Know why?

Because the criminal genius that he is, made a phone call to his girlfriend from the DC Jail. Phone calls which are RECORDED and MONITORED. And he asked her if she wouldn't mind hiding his drugs and gun for him.

Yeah. Super Smart.

An emergency search warrant was obtained and his room searched. Sure enough, a gun was recovered.

Remember when I told you that police badges aren't magical and they don't stop bullets? I'm very lucky that Mr. Harrison didn't have that gun with him that night. This is why its not a good idea to engage with aggressive drivers 98% of the time--you never know who/what they are. (The same could be said for hitting Girls on Bicycles too, though. I'm quite sure the idea that I was an off-duty police officer didn't cross his mind).

Anyway, he was charged with Felony Possession of a Firearm. So...yeah. Another pending felony charge. On top of all the others.

I guess Mr. Harrison & his attorney decided a plea deal sounded good after all, because at his arraignment they agreed to one.

He pled guilty to felony possession of a firearm, felony fleeing & misdemeanor assault on a police officer.

This is good. Sort of. It's good because it hopefully teaches him that you can't run from or try to run over a police officer. Even off-duty ones.

This isn't quite as good because you'll notice none of the vehicular assault charges were pressed. They were dropped. I think its just as important to show that you can't use your motor vehicle to bully cyclists on the road.


But there is still a chance to get the justice system in DC to hear that message loud and clear. And I'll need your help to deliver it.

Mr. Harrison's sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 19th September 14th at DC Superior Court. I want to pack the courtroom with cyclists. As the victim of a crime, I am able to present a "Victim Impact Statement" to the judge. You better believe that I intend to bring up the fact that I am a cyclist first and foremost, and that this whole saga began when a driver decided to literally push around a cyclist with his motor vehicle. It was just a matter of luck that this cyclist also happens to be a police officer as well. It is Not Okay for drivers to bully cyclists on our streets. His actions were not only irresponsible, but CRIMINAL. He didn't "accidentally" hit me--he made a conscious decision to hit a human being with a 2-ton vehicle. That is assault. These sorts of things have to STOP. I know I am not the only victim of these sorts of attacks. Read what happened to Saul Leikin when he simply tried to assist another cyclist after a traffic accident by calling 911.  He was only trying to do the right thing, and he got a concussion for it. This is unacceptable. Drivers need to start being held accountable for their decisions & actions, and punished appropriately.

If you also think this is unacceptable please try to attend this sentencing hearing. Pass the word around to other cyclists. I want it impossible for a judge to ignore the seriousness of these crimes. I've contacted WABA, and they've agreed to give a community impact statement as well. Awesome. Maybe we can get the ball rollingit on change.

Well, I feel like I've blogged more in this post than in the past year, so I'm gonna end it here. Hope to see many of you at Bike Fest tomorrow night!


*Shit-ton: Technical term for a large amount




UPDATE AS OF 7/8/11: THE HEARING DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED TO SEPTEMBER 14TH. I WILL KEEP POSTING UPDATES SHOULD THE DATE/TIME CHANGE AGAIN (this is why I didn't want to post the exact times since I figured it might change. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal and doesn't indicate anything is wrong.)


UPDATE AS OF 1/9/12: you can read the final decision HERE.

79 comments:

  1. If you haven't already, I can contact FABB (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling) and also let my Alexandria cohorts know.

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  2. Shared this via my social network accounts and in my blog. Thanks for writing this post.

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  3. That's an amazing story. It sounds like the guy is probably too dumb to realize that if he hadn't thought it was funny to harass cyclists, he'd still be walking around free.

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  4. Wow, the whole time I was reading this, my mouth was open with shock. I know you are a police officer, but I think you know you took a risk. This lunatic could have gunned you down. I'm glad that he didn't, and that you were able to arrest him.

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  5. Pretty ballsy, but it goes to show that you can't outrun the radio (and a trained mountain bike officer if you ride). Were you at least carrying?

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  6. Glad there's one less drug dealer / aggressive motorist on the street.

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  7. Glad you're safe as a former cop. I hope you were carrying. But overall, nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing their face when you tin them.

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  8. WOW. What a story. I had a friend on a bike who got rear-ended (HARD--he flew off his bike into the street) by an aggressive driver in a Mercedes-Benz convertible, then hit a pedestrian while fleeing the scene, and the cops treated it as a regular hit-and-run. Any advice on how to get those charges upped to something more serious?

    I'm glad you made it out OK.

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  9. wow. i just got hit by the passenger in a car this morning. wish i would have done a better job getting a description of that person and the driver.

    i would love to show up in court for this. count me in.

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  10. "If you have never been a victim of a crime, (or have experience in dealing with them), you have no idea how tiresome & aggravating our system of justice is." Not picking at you, but this is tremendous coming from a cop. I live in Columbia Heights and have SEVERAL things stolen from me (2 bikes) and harassed. But I totally feel you. Thanks for posting!!

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  11. Im so glad that your story is having a mostly happy ending. I was intentionally hit at 30mph while riding my bike through dupont over a month ago (the guy sped off in his Mercedes) and the 2D police still havent done anything despite numerous witnesses. My bike was mostly totaled and I was thrown 15 feet; luckily I had no major injuries and just was in a neck brace for a week. Do you have any recommendations how I can get the police to care? Thanks

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  12. There is still a prevailing attitude in this country that if you are on a bike you have voluntarily placed yourself in harm's way, so you deserve what you get. The people who support this point of view don't think about how their "might makes right" mentality might blow back on them in some other activity THEY think is a perfectly reasonable and innocent pursuit. It seems obvious to the moto-centric majority that you have to be an idiot or habitually annoying to put yourself on "their" street, getting in they way of "normal" people going about their business. Just as many abolitionists in the 19th Century were actually quite racist, so are many who tolerate cyclists just as happy to see us all go away. That certainly slows the wheels of justice even further than they already grind.

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  13. Going to try to make it. Do you know what time his case will be heard?

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  14. That's just an amazing story, thank you for sharing it.

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  15. I'm glad to know there are off-duty cops who ride like the rest of us, and that you were able to get this guy off the street. Thank you.

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  16. Wow. Wish someone had chased down the hit & run driver who took me out in March. There's a chance it could have been on purpose, based on descriptions and the fact that I'd been threatened by students at the high school I work at. There was a description of the vehicle & driver, but no plate #, & I was down, bike destroyed. I'm back riding, but still potentially facing spinal surgery for the neck injury. Way to go, madam. A true hero in my book.

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  17. Wow! I'm so glad you're pursing this for all cyclists! As a cyclist who has been bullied numerous times by motorists in the bike-mecca of Portland, OR, I really appreciate what you are doing! Also a huge thanks to the officers, many of whom are also cyclists, in Portland who have helped me, and countless others. I hope you will post more come August 19th.

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  18. If he files 1983 on you, let me know, I defend those suits.

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  19. Thank you for making a change! I think that this is becoming a way to common occurrence in daily life, and it needs to stop now.

    I think we need to make change and bring awareness as of recent, when a Brazilian motorist plowed though a group of cyclists.

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  20. I got intentionally bumped like this a couple of years ago. Santa Cruz police responded to my 911 call with amazing swiftness, but I didn't correctly remember the license plate number so my assailant got away scot free.

    I wonder if Mr Harrison is a fan of Tony Kornheiser. You might remember that Kornheiser encouraged his listeners to "run them [DC cyclists] down."

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  21. Thank you for sharing your story and for being an advocate for cyclists everywhere. I've been intentionally bumped before, and I know just how unpleasant it is. Stay strong!

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  22. Very glad to hear you not only got away from this maniac okay - but brought him to justice!

    However, I must also express my deep disappointment at the way you've used your story to reinforce falsehoods about the "evils" of marijuana and people who use, or sell it. What Mr. Harrison was clearly wrong, and unjust. But it does not compare to the daily wrongs and injustices our drug war causes.

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  23. ...as others have suggested, WOW...i'd say "unbelievable" but unfortunately i know this type of situation is all too real...

    ...first off, glad you're safe & unscathed & i'm glad at least "something" will happen to this dirtball driver...

    ...btw, i latched on to this story & your site through my friend "yokota fritz" who has an awesome cycling site called cyclelicio.us ...

    ...i have you 'bookmarked' so i can follow this story to whatever conclusion evolves...

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  24. i'm definitely promoting the August 19th date among the cyclists i know. thanks so much for this, it's about time we started uniting and fighting back against this sort of abuse. i'm also going to be a stronger advocate for wearing helmets now.

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  25. You should sue him. Battery is a tort, and the best way to make him pay is to literally make him pay.

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  26. Thanks for the story. I would not have thought to memorize the faces, but it makes sense.

    I am not sure why this is any kind of victory for cyclists though, as you point out they dropped the assault charges. They are not allowed to make the sentence worse because he also hit you, or even talk about it.

    That happened here in Chicago last year, where two guys rammed a kid, also last year in nearby Naperville a woman got a whopping couple weeks in prison for ramming a child on a bike so hard the bike was embedded in the grill (kid leaped off and wasn't hurt). To me, this is just yet another story where a biker's life, yours in this case, is treated as completely worthless by prosecutors.

    To me, he is not being punished for what he did to you, he is getting away with it. He was never charged with his crimes. To most Americans, assault with a car is far more serious and violent than selling pot and owning a gun.

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  27. Great story. What time is the hearing?

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  28. What time is the hearing? Any chance of getting one of the bike shops to set up a bike valet near the court or on the mall? Might send a stronger message.

    Also, when I took my written driving test in NC, the only question I got wrong was: When is it safe to ride a bike?

    Answer: Never

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  29. Would you please provide the offender's full name and perhaps establish an ad hoc e-mail list for people who would like to attend the sentencing? Any chance the time will be specific? To the half-day even? I'd like to attend, but would prefer not to spend a whole day waiting around court for a sentencing that might be postponed.

    BTW: I remember an Alexandria officer who opened fire on a fleeing subject who tried to run him down. Fatal shooting. Didn't work out too well for the cop, either, as I recall. But deadly force merits deadly force in my book (though a year or two in DC jail might be a perfectly satisfactory substitute.)

    Thanks for all the backbone and follow-through!

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  30. Thanks for the tips on what to remember, and I'm glad to see that you are ok.

    I had someone run up my tire to the point where I had to get off the bike and pull it out from under the (Blazer in that case). He gunned it, took off. Next light I rolled up and asked him what he was doing. I literally recoiled from the stench of booze. I was a poor citizen, it wad night, and I forgot all the details (except it was a Blazer).

    In SoCal 2? Yrs ago a guy in a blk pickup carefully moved over so his side view mirror passed over my head. He did the same to the next rider on the road. When I caught him at a light he went through a red to drive away. No details on that one except it was a ram pickup.

    Now I wear a helmet cam pretty much everytime I ride. At worst it may give a postumous record of what happened. At best it's hard to argue with video.

    I hope the court date goes well. Thanks for being an officer.

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  31. First and foremost, thank you for your service as a police officer. Your actions can only be commended as a citizen and public servant. As you pointed out, doing the right thing is perilous as a victim, but letting it go could have resulted in far worse circumstances for another cyclist in another profession. Your actions will make you a better cyclist, person and police officer. I cannot say as much for your assailant.

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  32. Good luck with this!

    It strikes me that it's worth pointing out that not all people who bully cyclists with their vehicles are carrying drugs and guns, but these "good citizens" need to realize their behaviour is just as dangerous. Cyclists are regularly hit (and run), both accidentally and intentionally, by regular joes, real estate agents, financial officers, plumbers, and old ladies. Regardless of the background of the driver, intentionally hitting a cyclist is still criminal, and still hurts.

    I was recently hit "accidentally" by someone who was trying to drive close enough "just to scare me". This "upstanding local real estate agent family man" will never be held accountable for his asshole-ishness in a culture that is so self-entitled that the vehicle rules all. Why is this behaviour acceptable when I am a cyclist in a bike lane, but clearly criminal if I were a pedestrian on a sidewalk?

    Looking forward to a cultural change.

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  33. Nice story. Got rammed myself in an intersection, but in my case the driver was just not paying attention to the traffic. Got 1 meter of air in my fight over the car, but was still able to get up and tell him that he just hitted an off-duty cop :-)

    And it was interesting reading about the different process of the american juristical system, which is, in someways alot different than what we have in Denmark.

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  34. Great story, and I'm glad that you were able to catch the perp. Good luck with everything as it continues to play out.

    Your story reminds me of a situation I was involved in a couple summers ago in Chicago. I was cycling in a bike lane when an individual pulled up alongside me, revved his engine, screamed at me and then purposely swerved his truck into me (full disclosure: I yelled at this gentlemen earlier as he was blocking the bike lane...).

    Amazingly, I didn't go down though the force of the hit (he hit my handlebars with the side of his truck) caused my chain to pop off. After gathering myself, I tried to pursue the vehicle but couldn't catch up.

    A couple blocks up was a Chicago Police Station and I went inside to report this individual. I tried to make a case for 'assault with a deadly weapon' but the officer basically laughed in my face and said he couldn't really do anything... even though I had a vehicle description, partial license plate #, driver description, and direction of travel.

    I totally agree with the previous post from BB, "Why is this behaviour acceptable when I am a cyclist in a bike lane, but clearly criminal if I were a pedestrian on a sidewalk?"

    Keep up the good work.

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  35. Why do you have to be a Police in order to get justice? Why would anyone think this story makes the Police look good?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzE-IMaegzQ

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  36. Even though you mentioned the jerk's last name and the court date, the court's search tool requires his first name, too. Despite the site's claim that only a partial name is needed.

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  37. I'm happy to show up at the sentencing hearing Aug. 19 at D.C. Superior Ct (the Moultrie Building, I assume). Do you know which judge is hearing the case or what the case number is? There are a lot of courtrooms in that building and it would be good to know where to go. (Alternatively, I don't know if you're allowed to post a sign directing people to the right courtroom.) Great job. And stay safe!

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  38. Good Lord! Some people need a good ass-kickin'. Thank you Officer Girl and Her Bike for runnin' this guy to the ground. Hope you get a big turn out! Found you through Dave Moulton. Let Us Know how it all works out.

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  39. Came here via social network and I will happily boost the signal.

    Any chance you would do a post with some ways of training oneself how to notice the person and not the license plate? When the adrenaline hits, most thought beyond "Get Help" goes right out of my head.

    Thank you for your service, both to the cyclist community and the city!

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  40. Thanks. Just curious -- if you were carrying your weapon and it were an actual hit and run, would it have been legal to take a clean shot at his tire if you had one?

    Not into guns or vigilantism or anything, but I do sometimes find myself agreeing with the Texan adage "an armed society is a polite society", and after reading your piece find myself thinking about getting a piece for the first time.

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  41. got linked here from someone's tweet! it's a fascinating story, and you're funny. following you on twitter! :)

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  42. Thank you for all of the tips on cycling in DC. I am an experienced cyclist but I am often very nervous around here. I'm sorry I can't make the 19th hearing. I would be happy to write a letter if something like that would be useful.

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  43. My experience with cyclists in New York City is that they go the wrong way on one-way streets and barrel through red lights, coming dangerously close to hitting me as I'm crossing. Bikers who are riding as part of their jobs - messengers, delivery people - are the worst offenders.

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  44. Glad you are OK.... I was threatened by a Sylacauga City Employee (small town in Alabama) that was on duty (nonpolice). He buzzed me with his truck then swerved in front of me and slammed on his brakes. I had to hit the ditch. I called the Mayor and he was reprimanded or so I was told. I did not pursue this for the good of all the other cyclists in the area. Even though I wanted to. Good for you for throwing the book at this creep!

    Chris Honeycutt

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  45. "Mr. Harrison's sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 19th at DC Superior Court. I want to pack the courtroom with cyclists."

    Do you know what time?

    I think folks would come out for this.

    Would a Facebook Group/Event help spread the word?

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  46. This courthouse demonstration could be a large-scale catalyzing event that brings a lot of the metro-area bike groups together for a common cause.

    Lots of advance publicity work with the media. Get a permit to have a speaker & music outside the courthouse. Photo op of thousands of protesting biker "marching" down some approach street to the courthouse. Have an assembly point a few blocks away so we can all arrive together. I think the media would be all over that.

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  47. You probably would have been a big greasy spot in Texas. Glad everything worked out and good luck in court

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  48. several thought--You are brave (a good thing in a cop)
    you are so right about traffic stops(my cousin is a PO/he started in narcotics--and at one point was on highway--he said Narc was easier--YOU always know they were bad guys--but stop a car--and there are so many places to hide a weapon--and you don't have a clue who you are stopping.

    My son (in CA) is a cyclist. I live in NYC--but everytime i see a cyclist--i think that could be B (my son) and treat that cyclist how i would want my son to be treated.

    there are nice drivers --its just the assholes are the one that get remembered.
    glad to hear you are OK--and hope your victims statement make an impression.

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  49. While this little piece of advice is too late for the Bike Fest, you may still find it useful. I am a long-time fan of REASONABLY price bicycle headlights. I used to have a Cateye brand that was pretty good, and enough light when there was some ambient light (moonlight, whatever). But they quit making it. So, I took a chance, and I bought the Cateye Single Shot (HL_EL600RC). Costwise, it is normally at the low end of the pricey range - ~90 bucks. I got mine on sale for 48, and I shoulda bought two. It is actually enough light to be considered as a true headlight to see the road. Which means for me at 15-20 mph. Pretty good stuff, and reasonable pricing.

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  50. I can't be there in August - it's a long way from Sydney, Australia, but my thoughts are with you. Thanks for your bravery and the contribution that makes for cycling.

    I have a similar case going to court next week here in Sydney: driver got out and assaulted me because I stopped at an orange light when he was behind me and wanted to run the red. I'm not a cop, but this time I was lucky that officers treated it seriously.

    All power to you!

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  51. I used to cycle a lot. Now I am old and have dizziness issues. However, I still either pass a cyclist really wide or else fall behind him/her when I roll up on him. What irks me most is when a cyclist uses his right as a vehicle to occupy a lane when there is heavy traffic. He would probably prevail in a lawsuit, but his cycling days would be over.

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  52. Geeze, this is nuts! Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so glad you were ok!

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  53. Awesome story. I only wish I could get down to DC on 19 August.

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  54. Miss, you got more balls than majority of the roadside ambushin' ticket writin' donut consumers, an' I can but bow my head to you.
    You are friggin' crazy tho' - I'm real glad it turned out with you unhurt. News are full of heroes, and few of them end up on the front page.
    Wish I could be there in August, but I'm not exactly in the vicinity, not by a long shot -
    I've been on the road both on a bike and behind the wheel an' bein' a burly man m'self I do not typically have to deal with road rage, but I've seen my share and I've seen enough bikers get the butt end of the law - most of the folks makin' the decisions are drivers.
    Not to speak of the dope heads - now those oughtta be a reason 'nuff to bring the corporal punishment back ¬_¬

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  55. Thank you all for the comments/emails of support! I am simply overwhelmed. I have not posted the details of the hearing yet because I want to wait until the date is closer. It's currently scheduled for 11am, but for those of you not familiar with the DC Court system, its always subject to change! I also will not be posting the Mr. Harrison's full name or docket number yet for a number of reasons. I really appreciate all of you sharing your thoughts and stories with me. For those that have emailed me, I will get back to you, I promise. Thank you again, and keep riding!

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  56. http://www.theindychannel.com/news/28295399/detail.html

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  57. Thank you for your cyclist's passion! As a fellow female cyclist, although not in DC, or I would be at that Hearing, I commend you for your insistence on doing the right thing! How long have you been a police officer?

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  58. Glad to hear you're safe. And everything you have done was correct.

    However, too many cyclists ride like they own the streets of DC. They do not stop at stop signs or red lights. And barely try to avoid pedestrians. I have come close to being hit by a cyclist while crossing the street, and I nearly hit a cyclist last night with my car. The fault would be the cyclist, as he did not have any reflective gear and it was dark.

    Cyclist should be held to the same laws as motorists. And those laws should be ENFORCED!

    A cyclist being hit by a car can cause serious injury and/or death. The same can be said about a cyclist hitting a pedestrian.

    I'm all about sharing the road with cyclists, and hope to be able to bike to work myself in the future. But until laws are enforced, I'll continue taking public transit and driving.

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  59. Great story.

    That said, that you were a cop made it much easier to do what you did. I'm saying this because the exact same thing happened to me. I was bumped abruptly twice by some trade workers in a pickup truck and they laughed at me, pretty much as they did to you. I immediately went to a pay phone and called the police giving all of the necessary vehicle information.

    Their response? "Unless you're injured, there isn't anything we can do."

    So, yes, motorists can easily bully cyclists as much as they want, as long as they don't injure them in the process and as long as there are no witnesses to the act (at least in the city that I live within).

    Best of luck in changing the law in your area but again, unless there is a witness to view the event, I think people can pretty much get away with whatever they want. As the cop on the line told me, "It's your word against his" which is why you pretty much need to be injured to "prove" you were hit.

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  60. TOTALLY believable, that laugh motorists have when they even come close to hitting you. A**holes.

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  61. More people seem to get hit by cars and the drivers seem to be getting away with it:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/i6rta/is_there_anyone_out_there_who_has_connections/

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  62. and I thought cycling in Sydney, Australia was dangerous! I haven't yet heard of cyclists being assaulted by drivers at lights by 'bumping' them yet, but if word get out to the redneck bogan minority then it could well start I guess. We also see a complete lack of police action against those who harass and intimidate cyclists. Our new 'weapon' in the fight for cyclists rights is the use of HD helmet mounted Camcorders (like the ContourHD) on all rides. Some of us even have two, with one facing backwards on the drops or under the saddle. I just bought one from B&H (yes, the NY B&H) for only US$179 - we have successfully used footage twice so far to get drivers charged.

    Hope the sentence matches the crime. Ride on.

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  63. Congratulations. You faced evil and made a difference for humanity.

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  64. I just posted your story on my own blog....thank you for standing up for cyclists!!

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  65. Before moving to Singapore, I lived in DC and was a cyclist from 2005-2009. This story is awful and unfortunately I've had a similar story with a driver AND DC COPS. A driver tried to run me off the road and I ran down the car and started beating on the door. And DC cop saw everything happen - me getting run off the road and me hitting the car door. He came over and threatened to arrest me and let the driver go away and apologized to the driver my behavior. I've also had other run in with DC Cops as well (btw, I'm a very non aggressive person unless my life is being threatened). I mention this because I feel like DC Cops have just as much of bias towards cyclists as regular drivers do - and you could be a great person to lead that charge. I'll be flying home from Singapore to DC from aug 4-aug 21 and if my work schedule permits, ill show up to support.

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  66. you may get this benefit.. if you try this...Check cables regularly for kinks, bends and frayed ends. Especially check ends. If one or more strands appear broken, replace immediately.Bikes Sydney

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  67. Is the sentencing hearing still this week? Your last update said 14-Sep. When/where should we show up if we want to show support?

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  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  70. Aggressive driving is hardly the only cause of deadly accidents.

    Joseph @ Traffic Lawyers Sydney

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  71. We should always take precautions when driving.
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