News Critical Evidence
Given that K.C. Sheriff’s detectives arrested Zack Treisman for a serious felony (assaulting an officer), it’s a little curious that the K.C. Prosecutor’s office didn’t move forward yesterday with any charges. Treisman’s arraignment was cancelled yesterday, and the K.C. prosecutor’s office told me they need more time to review the case.
Review the case? K.C. Sheriff spokesman Rodney Chinnick sounded pretty convinced when I spoke to him earlier this week (and pretty exercised) that Treisman had “choked and punched an officer.”
Treisman is the Critical Mass cyclist who—thinking a fellow biker was being attacked by a citizen—wrestled with what turned out to be an undercover K.C. detective.
Perhaps the reason the prosecutor’s office has hit pause is this: Treisman’s attorney, David Speikers, has over 20 sworn statements from eye witnesses who contradict the K.C. sheriff’s account that the the plain clothes detectives identified themselves before tackling biker Jace Brien.
Here’s some typical testimony from a Critical Mass rider and witness named Mike Hahn:
“As the riders corked, I could see the driver of the van (white male, large build, blondish hair and facial hair) shout at them and throw his hand up in the air. He then almost immediately flung his door open violently and charged toward the corking cyclists…The van driver was yelling at the cyclists very loudly, and seemed to be enraged. The driver had not identified himself as an officer. I could see that there were other occupants in the van who had not yet stepped outside. All (including the driver) were dressed casually with no visible indication of their status as officers.”
What’s notable about the testimony is that none of it mentions the siren blasts or air horn blasts that the Sheriff’s office assured me were sounded at three different times before Brien was tackled.
In fact, one new surprise witness—not a member of the Critical Mass ride, but a motorist named Kathleen Ridihalgh who claims to have been stopped behind the unmarked Sheriff’s van at the Belltown intersection (Vine St. & Western) where the arrests took place—provided this testimony after hearing the Sheriff’s office account in the news:
“The van went into the path of bicycles and the van occupants jumped out fast and aggressive. I did not hear a siren. At that point I thought, ‘should we get out and help the bicyclists?’”
At a Critical Mass rally yesterday outside the K.C. jail, I spoke to Katherine Bauman, a 19-year-old biker who had “corked” the intersection with Brien. She said the van honked and honked, but there was no siren blast. “They honked and charged out of the car,” she says. “They said nothing official [before tackling Brien]. He said, ‘get the fuck out of the intersection.’ Other bikers were yelling for the police.”
I asked the K.C. prosecutor’s office if the overwhelming testimony had a role in their decision to postpone the arraignment hearing. Spokesman Dan Donohoe said he couldn’t comment on evidence, but said they felt comfortable taking more time because Treisman was not a flight risk.
I think part of the confusion of the detective’s identity comes down to the fact that their badges looked more like hiphop accoutrements than police I.D. One witness writes: “Attacker #1 was a male caucasion, extremely large stocky build, with…flashy jewelry including chains and rings, baggy ‘gangsta’ clothing…”
In the photos I’ve seen, the officers don’t have flashy jewelry, but rather, huge badges on long necklaces.