City More on the Critical Mass Attack: Another Eyewitness Account
I just interviewed another eyewitness to the weird arrest that took place at Friday’s Critical Mass ride. (This witness has also filed a sworn statement. He forwarded it to Zack’s attorney through Wright Brother’s bike shop in Fremont—as several other eyewitnesses have done. Zack is one of the two bikers that was arrested. ) The witnesses’s name is Graylan Vincent. He’s 25, and he’s been a regular rider with Critical Mass for the last year.
His report confirms what I’ve already heard from several bikers: It was around 6:30. The 200 cyclists—a big turn out for Critical Mass—were a half hour into their monthly ride. They had just finished biking north along the waterfront and had cut back into Belltown and biked up a big hill east bound. Then they turned north and were at an intersection near the Spaghetti Factory [sounds like Elliot Ave. and Broad St.] At the intersection, a biker [Jace] coasted into the intersection and stopped a brown van. This is called “corking.” That’s when a biker warns traffic to stop because a herd of cyclists is about to come through the intersection.
Vincent, who’d already gone through the intersection and was at the north corner, described the van as shiny and modern “like a Chevy Astro type van.” He looked back to see Jace telling the van to stop. Then he sees a big guy—Vincent describes him as “looking like a SeaHawks fan with a long baggy shirt, baggy shorts, sunglasses, and a shaved or bald head…a big beefy guy”—get out of the van. “Uh, oh,” Vincent thought, “this looks like trouble.”
Vincent was struck by the fact that the big guy didn’t say anything. No arm gestures. No warnings. “That was scary,” he says. “Then the driver just made a beeline toward [Jace] and grabbed him and threw him to the ground. He had this look in his eye like his blood was just boiling.” (Jace, who’s 18, would later be charged for possession of alcohol by a minor because the officers would find some beers in his back pack. I don’t think he was charged with anything else.)
That’s when another Critical Masser named Zack got off his bike and tried to pry the guy off Jace. Then another big guy, dressed the same way, got out of the van and grabbed Zack. Vincent says it just turned into a brawl, with the two pairs “just rolling around on the ground.” The crowd of bicylcists was gathered around and yelling for them to break it up. A lot of the cyclists were also taking pictures.
It’s at that point, when things were starting to get out of control, Vincent says, that the guy who was wrestling with Jace yelled: “I’m a cop. I’m a fucking cop. You’re under arrest.” It was such a crazy scene that Vincent says he thought the guy was kidding.
But then he saw hand cuffs. And then he saw the officers pull out badges. Once they announced they were cops, Vincent says, everyone started backing off. Then two other plain clothes officers arrived (Vincent doesn’t know where they came from…perhaps the van, he says) and helped with the arrests.
Vincent describes the incident as, “Road rage hiding behind a badge.”
He emphasized that the officers didn’t say anything or demonstrate in anyway that they were law enforcement until midway through the brawl when things started getting out of control.
The officers were not SPD, but reportedly, deputies with the King County Sheriff’s Dept. There was no one available for a comment at the K.C. Sheriff’s office. I left a message at sheriff spokesman John Urquhart’s number. I will call again first thing tomorrow to get their take on this incident.