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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Critical Mass Attack

Posted by on July 1 at 16:15 PM

Sounds like a couple of K.C. deputies got out of hand at yesterday’s Critical Mass ride. (On the last Friday of every month at 5:30, bikers mass at Westlake Center and bike through downtown in a show of biker power.)

Here’s a report from one biker who witnessed what sounds like a cross between a police temper tantrum and an arrest.

I was riding up the street from Alaskan and turning onto Western Ave to head North when I saw 4 or 5 folks corking the one minivan (basically that means stopping the car from driving through the throng of bike riders. It’s a safety thing we do at every intersection. When you see a few riders surrounding one car, it means the driver decided not to wait even though one rider was already in front of him/her and and tried to drive through the crowd of bikes. Other riders then surround it to raise the stakes of continuing to drive forward).

As I turned the corner, one beefy white guy got out of the van and ran after a guy sitting on a bike (he was not corking at that point). He was in the process of getting ready to ride off at the time. When the guy from the van ran after him, it happened really fast. he caught the bike rider and threw him to the ground. I assumed at the time that he was an angry driver with road rage and jumped off my bike to help the rider. I started pulling the rider up by his backpack in order to get him away from the nut attacking him who kept grabbing him and throwing him to the ground. At the same time, the guy on the bike was trying to get free of his backpack (the attacker had grabbed it too) and was swinging violently too as I was falling over the bikes and trying to get in the middle to seperate the two and try to stop the violence. At that point, the attacker started yelling “Stop! Stop! You’re under fucking arrest! I’m a fucking cop! You’re under fucking arrest. I’m a fucking cop!” I didn’t believe him at first as he just seemeed to be so needlessly violent with no cause whatsoever. I kept trying to break them apart.

By then an Asian (Hawiian?) cop had gotten out of the van and was involved with another biker who had been trying to pull the first cop off the first guy. That cop pinned the second biker to the ground face to the pavement. I *finally* saw a badge and backed off, pulled out my cell phone and started clicking pictures as fast as I could. They pinned the first guy who was attacked down, pretty fiercely, and sat on his back and legs, they roughly pulled him up and dragged him away. I pointed my camera in the face of the asian cop while his knee was on the biker’s back and got a picture of it. then I circled around the brawl, got a picture of the big white guy and tried clicking a few more. I got a picture of their license plate as well and some of the tussel.

At the end, as the cops dragged the riders into their UNMARKED minivan, the crowd started chanting “Fuck You!” When that stopped, the cops yelled something about clearing off and shutting the fuck up or something and I called them assholes. They told us to get the fuck out of there and I told them to fuck off and come and get me if they wanted to. They stormed into their car though.

Anyway, that’s my story (though a block later a marked SPD car cut through the scraggly group of bikes and in front of us and when I yelled “Nice fucking signal!” he replied, “Fuck you asshole!” But that’s not a part of this incident, just emblematic of cops who give cops a bad image….)

Apparently the cops were King County police and if you ask me were ready to blow up at the slightest provocation… My opinion (based on their beefienss and temper): Steroids, but that is total conjecture).

Here’s a thread on the arrests.

My prediction: Next month’s Critical Mass ride is going to be huge.

CommentsRSS icon

Was this some potential controlled substance abuse by the KCPD? I've heard reports that these cops were plainsclothes undercover narcotic's officers? Perhaps using and abusing their privledges? Coke? 'roid rage? Fed up with traffic? They'd better get some serious reprimanding beyond a slap on the wrist. What were they doing? Is defending yourself from an attacker not allowed when that attacker is an undercover cop? What if they were in uniform, are we still allowed to defend ourselves? Because honestly, would they simply be allowed to roll through the throng of bikers if they were in a cop car and in uniform? Would they have been corked still? (I would think so) would they have been in the right, any time to attack anybody simply for holding them up? What was the purpose of getting out of the car?

Bad news. I am a rider, and that sort of stuff from the police cannot be tolerated. Please keep on top of this.

Never in a million years did I expect I would be arrested for riding critical mass. I thought it would always be a officer explaining that I can't do this, me arguing, then me being played in hand cuffs and peacefully being arrested.
These guys were not wearing their uniforms, looked like rednecks who played football. I was sure that it was a angry motorist, road raging.
Defiantly could have been handled differently. Police brutality at it's best.

Please do not post any photos of this on the Internet. The photos need to be used for evidence, and we do not need them to compromise the evidence. If you have any photos or are a witness please contact the people at the link on the original blog posting. (


It's too bad the police used, perhaps, more force than necessary. However, two ways to avoid this kind of thing in the future may be to share the road with others and don't forcibly hold back other vehicles.

That's awesome...

Oblivious liberal idiots on bikes pulling this crap only to be beaten into submission.

Newsflash, when something, say a car weighs 200 times more than you, they have the right of way shithead.

I need to make a donation to the local police atletic league.

Someguy, you need to take a look at the Washington bicycle laws (which I had a hand in writing back in 1983 or so). Bicycles are vehicles and have a right to use the roads as well as cars.

Uh, actually, "someguy," I'm pretty sure that it's not quite that simple. Well, at least not legally that simple. It certainly sounds as if a few regulations might have been broken by the bikers (such as riding more than two abreast--but then again, I can't be certain since I wasn't there), but it seems that there's nothing in the regulations for bicycling and driving with bicyclistssaying that a car weighing 200x more than a bicyclist has the right of way.

But, then again, I really know nothing of the law, and my long-coveted title of "Esquire" has yet to become mine in reality. Let's just say that I like the way Mr. D---- E----, Esq. sounds.

someguy: sweet! a cliche i-troll looking to wield his (non)influence by being painfully (non)inflammatory in a thread where you will try (unsuccessfully) to come off as witty & superior. what's craigslist too slow for you today?

checkitout douche, you have never -- nor will you ever have the balls to -- roll over a cyclist while in your beater SUV. the fact that you post shit like that is such an obvious testament to your sorry life, sitting in on a beautiful saturday looking for shit to stir up cuz you have nothing else going on. sad.

1. go away & let the people who have been impacted by this abuse of authority get the story out.
2. make sure you have a clue about what you're posting on before you post .. oops, too late.

Look, I'm not a bicyclist so aside from the context provided in these posts, I have no point of reference.

I have to be hones, it sounds a little arrogant and aggressive.

Your perception of your rights as a bicyclist may be a bit exaggerated.

We're not quite China yet.

I do identify with the bicyclists in this regardless. Mainly because this scenario calls to mind a time when I was a teenager and I beat up an off duty cop with my skateboard. He almost hit me in his truck, off duty as I was skateboarding in a parking lot. He got out of his truck and grabbed me by the neck, so I beat the shit out of him. He summoned enough composure to reveal his badge at which time I stopped beating him. I ran like hell. He grabbed a security guard from the parking lot and they ran me down. When I was cornered with no witnesses I was sure I was toast. There were no guns and I felt like I could kick his ass again if it came down to it and that Secutiy cop wassn't about to do shit. So they just gave me a tongue lashi8ng. I asked the exact same thing that was asked in this thread. If I'm attacked (which I was) am I allowed to defend myself or am I allowed to defend myself unless it's an off duty cop? He gave me lip. Said something along the lines of, "Fuck all that. You just make sure you don't ever in your life fuck with me". Yeah, right. I was read the riot act and then I bounced. I know if that fucker hadn't been dead tired from being brained with a deck orif he'd been carrying his piece on him, he'd have probably hemmed my ass up with his new buddy, Flash Light Cop #1 and took me in. If he had been PD from the division I lived in I'd have gotten it back in spades, so I guess I was lucky.

Bottom line is, go for it. You really want to turn bicycling into a fucking civil rights issue, fine, waste our time with it. Why the fuck not? But realistically, is your group identity that ufkcing precious?

If it is, fine, you might want to study similar groups who blazed that trail you're riding right now. Look at the history of Motorcylce Clubs and Motorcyclists VS. helmet laws. I'm sure there's some usefell wisdom there.

Anyhow. Good luck. Those cops sound like fucking pricks, bt you guys sound like you're doing your best to piss them off all the same.

Russians have a word for what we're experiencing right now. Bespredel.

When the perception of what freedom means and how it applies

Sachi and David, stop playing this, "ohhh, he did nothing to provoke this" crap.

This kid and a pal blocked traffic so that the rest of this gaggle could monopolize the road.

They got the ass kicked in the process, had to pay a $300 bond (3000 bail)and got stuck in lock up wearing spandex (seriously laughing at that thought).

Now, some lawyer is going to come in and plead some violation of their civil rights, the liberal democrats at city hall are going to aplogize and maybe even cry for the camera's. And spandex bitch boy will get a settlement check.

Needless to say, I'm pissed that the tax payers are going to give this punk and his lawyers a quick paycheck.

You don't have a right to monopolize the roadways and yes, you deserved and ass kicking.

I'm concerned about anything like this that raises tension - both the Critical Mass event and these cops' response. This is from a non-car-owning bike traveler's perspective. Don't we want to lobby for everyone following the rules, not breaking them by brute force? That's what drivers do that puts my life in danger every time I need to get across town, and they have the means to do it all the time, not once a month! Why do cyclists act provocationally? Maybe it makes you feel better vengeance-wise to do so, but hasn't all civilization agreed that that never accomplishes anything? Breaking the rules to get back at drivers isn't going to make them think twice about endangering cyclists, it's going to make them have more fun the next time they do it. The only effective thing you can do, until bike travelling becomes normal in everyone's mind, is to report aggressive drivers.

On the other hand, you bike-haters, what if there were just enough people riding bikes in going about their daily business that sometimes cars had no choice but to go at the speed of a bike for a little while? Is there any difference between that and this? I imagine we'll get there as more people with cars pile into this city that's full to the brim with them already.

Two wrongs don't make a right, as Someguy argues in support of cops beating people up. Sure, maybe the bikers were breaking some little traffic laws trying to protect the 100 riders behind them, maybe they could have been issued a civil infraction ticket for something. Corking an intersection isn’t a license for the law enforcement officers, sworn to act lawfully, to beat the crap out of them without telling them they were cops. The bottom line is cops should obey the law. These particular cops caused the problem by deciding to kick some ass BEFORE disclosing they were cops. They should have said "We are cops, you are under arrest.” Or “beat it”, or whatever. I'm a lot more concerned about cops breaking the law and beating people up then about bicyclists committing civil infractions corking an intersection. When the agents of the government stop obeying the law, we are all in real trouble. Luckily, those liberal attorneys are out there holding the cops feet to the fire. Storm

Just a pet peeve: They're not "cops" or "police"; they're sheriff's deputies. Strangely, there is a difference.

Ryan, what's the difference? There are good cops and bad cops. These particular sheriff's deupties were out there trashing the good 'ole Constitution of the US of A, violating the bicyclists' civil rights under color of law. A lot different than a petty little civil infraction committed to protect 100 of your friends from thugs in molester vans, eh? Right wingers are so ready to throw the constitution out the window when they see something they don't like. No principles.

I think it all boils down to impatience in society. Everyone is in such a hurry that they cannot wait for just a minute. If you get stopped for a minute or 2 by a train, or a bunch of bikes, or a bunch of fire trucks, look at the bright side and use the time to think or look around at your world. Critical Mass passes any one point in just a couple of minutes. That is hardly anything to get pissed about. Do you flip off the fire trucks for stopping traffic as you pass them? It is wierd how angry people get. Btw, I was the guy at the back of the pack handing out beer to the angry drivers. I made several happy! So next time you are stuck in traffic because of a bunch of bikes, look out, you just might get a free beer!

Oh, and it isn't bikes vs. cars. Many drivers ride bikes and almost all bikers at Critical Mass own cars too. It is only one day a month. Be patient, RELAX and have a beer!

Someguy, I like to give cops head also, but that doesn't mean I think they're right in every situation. You have to separate the act from the actors.

Besides, the ones that are on steroids have teeny weenines, and their sperm tastes weird. I think it has something to to with their Russian mail order wives.

Critical mass often blocks an intersection for an extra cycle of the stop light. It’s very much an issue of safety and organization for the group. There are some basic techniques riders use to maintain safety and this “corking” thing is one of them. It’s not about confrontation, far from it. Some motorists just don’t grasp the dangers they’re subjecting cyclists to unless there is a bike stopped 2 feet in front of their grill. Unless the equation “hit the gas, kill a person” is made dead clear for them, they’re more then happy to take the chance with our lives.

In all my time riding with critical mass, I feel the SPD have been very understanding and shown a lot of restraint. Sometimes the group pushes it, and sometimes a ticket is handed out. Not always pleasant, but at least within the law. But by all accounts, this situation with the unmarked KC van is far beyond reasonable, and I think that will come clear in the legal proceedings. I hope these specific cops suffer for their reckless and violent actions, but I don’t feel any need to protest against the police in general. At least not yet.

None of the bike this bike that stuff is relevant. If the stories posted stand up after the various witnesses accounts are reconciled, we have a case of sherrifs assaulting first and then deciding to arrest.

Bicycle violations are civil infractions like parking tickets. It's inexecusable to have sherrifs deputies acting that violently and precipitously to apprehend someone guilty of a simple civli infraction.

What would you think if someone in a car were blocking a crosswalk (a very regular occurrence, and a moving violation as opposed to a simple civil infraction) and a couple of guys jumped out of a van, pulled the driver out of the car, through her to the ground, and started swinging at those trying to protect her. Would you want anyone like that working as an officer of the peace. Would you want a prosecutor would charge the defenders to continue in their job?

The abuse of authority by peace officers and prosecutors does more to undermine a respect for justice that anything else does, because it makes the justice system unworthy of respect.

Finally if you want to know why so many cyclists have no respect for traffic codes, it's becuse time and time again the smurfs show that they have no regard for public safety an use the law merely as a way to make the flow of traffic as smooth as possible. Until the convenience of drivers stops trumping the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, why should any cyclist or pedestrian have the least bit of respect for it.

kinaidos, your argument is great and right on until the last paragraph. Everybody should obey the law. Your last paragraph uses the same method of thinking (rationalization) as the thugs did that beat up the two riders. Bicyclists shouldn't disregard the law because cars hassle them, any more than thugs should disregard the law because the are coked up and somebody corked them. Do we want everybody to be able to make up their own excuse about why they shouldn't have to obey the law? The answer is No, right?

If, as someguy suggests, a minor infraction of the civil traffic laws is sufficient grounds for a brutal and unprovoked beating from the deputies than I want to know this. Why aren't the police beating the shit out of EVERYONE who drives a car, rides a bike, or even walks down the street?
The fact is it's almost impossible to drive a car and not violate some ordinance. When was the last time you used your turn signal to turn into your driveway on a residential street? Is that a good enough reason to be dragged into the street and beaten? It's only because he was on a bicycle that this man was attacked. The proper avenue is a citation.
By the description of these officers they sound like special transit squad. A group of these officers were cited by the Seattle Post Intelligencer for brutality in their series "Conduct Unbecoming".

I'm not trying to flame, but I *am* curious what kind of coordination these events have with SPD? I understand the reason for "corking"... its a safety thing... but if you don't have like a parade permit or something isn't it technically illegal? I'm not saying the way the cops behaved was at all correct, but if these rides through town are going to happen on a regular basis wouldn't it make more sense to build a contstructive relationship with SPD and have THEM do the "corking" to prevent this kind of thing from happening (regardless of whether the road rager(s) are law enforcement)? If there is already coordination between CM and SPD, why weren't SPD there to do traffic control and look out for the safety of the bikers, drivers, and pedestrians, for that matter?

No matter what happens, Critical Mass should never question itself or reconsider their tactics. The history of successful passive-aggressive social movements has shown that there's only one way to go when things aren't going your way: MORE PASSIVE-AGGRESSION!

Perhaps gather 500 bikes at the bottom of the steepest hill in Seattle, then everyone ride up together in 18th gear. Hopefully everyone will stall out halfway up and clog the streets for hours. If that doesn't work, try 21st gear, who knows?

Also, come out of left field by taking up alcoholism and degrading one-night stands, then put out press releases saying it's all the fault of the drivers.

Respect, acceptance, and a lane of one's own are all there for the taking, so long as you've got enough martyrs.

Someguy, you're a moron. Strictly speaking, corking an intersection is probably illegal. So what? The correct response for the police is to identify themselves and write a ticket, not beat on a bicyclist without identifying themselves. I suppose you've never exceeded the speed limit, or made a California stop. If so, do you deserve to your ass kicked by an undercover cop?

Alright, I have read the responses here and I have to say, you are all absolute pussies...

As this is Seattle, you should form a protest. A completely inneffective waste time that you can all rally around, where turtle suits and ride around on scatboards. Unfortunately, these ars so sommon place in this area that as soon as one starts up, 25 different groups get together and the cause of the prottest is forgotten.

Am very happy that your little punk buddy is home tonight, more than likely hiding under his bed, while the rest of you pretend that his problem is now your cause.

At the end of the day are you going to pay his fine? Do his time?

Didn't think so, more than likely, this isdiots Mom had to bail him out today as the rest of jackasses didn't have the $300 to put up for bond.

I have to say the someguy has a point.

You are blocking traffic at rush hour, Friday night of the 4th of July Weekend?

Did you have a parade route? Permit? Hire Police for security?

Or do you just feel that your entitled to disrupt everyones life for your own agenda?

This was supposed to show the power of your group? I see very little power here.

Having known some cops... yes, roid use is regular in just about every police department, and explains a lot of the asshole behavior.

Looks like we got us a little civil war between CM and the cops. The 'this is not indicative of cops in general' line just will not fly here. These guys represent KC and this is an unethical abuse of authority. Somebody in high places needs to make an example of these assholes.

Critical mass often blocks an intersection for an extra cycle of the stop light. It’s very much an issue of safety and organization for the group. There are some basic techniques riders use to maintain safety and this “corking” thing is one of them.

FWIW, my father rides a Harley, and biker groups do this on the highway as well, for the exact same reasons.

Someguy, you are about 10 years old, right?

First off, I know for a fact that a majority of Mass riders do not in fact own a car. That is beside the point of my post though, because, cars are inherently destructive, both physically and mentally(Psychologically). Not only do automobiles pollute carcinogens into our atmosphere, they also make an operator very impatient whilst driving, and perhaps while stationary in everyday activities.

Secondly, if anyone believes 'cops' are "officers of the peace," then I must say that 'anyone' is sadly mistaken. Throughout history police officers have always been instituted to oppress the populace, for the benefit of elite positioned higher up in the hierarchy. Stabilise peace? If laws are put out there to keep peace, then maybe peace has a different definition to me. If the cop isn't corrupt, then she or he is not a cop.

thanks, someguy, for equating black folks with crime and urban decay in a recent post about the central district, and for suggesting in this thread that cops should be able to beat people up without identifying themselves or arresting people for specific offenses. i'm sure all the black folks who live, work, and/ or visit the cd would be really happy to know that you recently bought a house there.

someguy is a troll. spends hours online posting inciteful anonymous mssgs on a chat forum. making sure to keep the focus off of what's important in the issues & ever vigilant for an opportunity to really be a dick. unable to pull it off in "real" life. who's the real "pussy" someguy?? step away from the computer junior.

facts are facts here folks. 2 people (whether on bikes or foot is immaterial) got beaten up by officers of the law for an infraction that: one, is easily justified as a safety mechanism to prevent injury &/or loss of life (something any ethical citizen can relate to, even a judge or a cop) .. and, two, is an infraction akin to "jaywalking". violence always sucks. but imagine for a moment your wife or dad being suddenly tackled & beaten to the ground by 3 plainclothes cops for jaywalking on their lunchbreak. it makes no sense and does not belong in a civilized society.

to think any different or to conflate the issue with other arguments about CM, tactics, pussies, liberals or anything else is to miss the point entirely.

The best part of someguy's comments is exactly how wrongly he gets it. I mean, it's flawless trolling but I love how he clearly has no clue what he's talking about. It's poetic in a sense.

Hey someguy, come out and meet us at Westlake Center next month and see how little spandex we're wearing and hear about how in fact all of us chipped in to pay his bail bond and for his lawyer.

Or, if you'd prefer, stay here trolling on the internet and wish so desperately that you had friends like Zach.

I'd also like to point out that discussions of CM's rightness or wrongness is really irrelevant here, the SPD actually has a generally good relationship with Critical Mass here in Seattle. This is a case of road rage gone awry and some cops thinking that they were above the law.

Every road user - cars, truckers, bikes, motorcycles - sometimes does something that is "illegal" when their safety demands it. I've driven over a double yellow on occasion because of some dangerous situation, or passed on the shoulder. Those were technically illegal actions, but they were safer than the alternatives. I don't apologize for them, and because I was in a car, other car drivers tend to understand why I did those things and cut me some slack.

As others have pointed out, bicyclists do things that are technically illegal at times too, when their safety demands it. I have as well. The problem is that car drivers typically DO NOT understand why bicyclists take these actions. They DO NOT see the safety hazards. All they see is an annoyance. One of the functions of movements like Critical Mass is to raise awareness among the vast mass of uneducated car drivers that bicyclists have unique needs, yet also have rights on the road.

The bicycle law that I helped write - which defines bicycles as vehicles and gave them (almost) the same rights as motor vehicles on the roads - goes a fair way to dealing with those problems. There is still a long way to go, largely with the public perception and acceptance of bicyclists. Even in Seattle, which is far better than in other cities I've tried to ride in. (San Diego sucks.)


The best part about you correcting me is that you've wrongly identified the Undercover King County Deputies as SPD.

Educate yourself before you speak.

At any rate, I grew up in NYC, an area where Bikers rights and this sort of action was very commonplace about 20 years ago.

The lesson your buddy Zach learned on Friday is a very simple and one that regrettably has been missed by generations raised in Seattle.

Simply put, this is called street justice.

On Friday, Zach decided that he was going to force his will on someone else. I have no idea why he thought it was his right to disturb the right of way of the under cover deputies. However, he learned two very valuable lessons.

1. His "friends" sat around, took pictures and talked while he took a beating. You've all made a point of saying how you supported Zach at his hearing, are going to rally behind him, etc... Seems to me that his friendshsips are not worth a damn. Personally, if a friend of mine was getting beaten up, I'd get involved and physically put myself between my friend and the person beating him.

So, lesson one, his friends are loud mouthed punks who would rather take pictures of him getting beaten up than help him.

2.When someone is bigger than you and has an obvious look of a street thug. Blocking their way (and they did have the right of way) because you and your pretty princess, liberal, friends can ride your bycicles en mass protest (what are you protesting again? soemthing about how powerful you are?) is not a smart idea.

I would gauruntee that the one person who will not do this again is Zach. So lesson learnbed for Zach.

Slight correction to the last post, upon reading the thread, I realize that Zach is the amongst all of you who actually has any balls. It looks as if his buddy Jace started this and caused Zach to be betaen, arrested, etc...

So much for your power in your numbers.

Man, with friends like you, who needs enemies.

We all have to listen to Someguy, because he's from New York. Everyone knows that people from New York know everything, and that New York is far superior to any backwater like Seattle.

Ok, I guess we have our marching orders: Stop riding your bike and obey the cops because someone from New York told us to.

Someguy, I don't know how you stand it here with us ignorant westerners. Maybe you'd better go back and be with your people so you don't acquire any of our lazy cowboy ways.

[cars] also make an operator very impatient whilst driving

i'm sorry, while i drive a car but and am not anti bike... thats just crazy. Has anyone EVER seen a person on a bike wait for a red light? lol

There are two words I have not yet seen in this thread. Those two words are "obstructing traffic."

Can we stipulate that obstructing traffic is a ticketable offense? Does anyone dispute that? If we stipulate that bicyclists have the same rights in traffic under law, can we stipulate that they also have the same responsibilities?

To answer a point made upthread, yes, I have been pulled over by cops for failure to signal when changing lanes, for crossing the yellow line, for -- get this -- having a dirty license plate -- but I never, ever, have seen a bicyclist cited for obstructing traffic, even though bicyclists do this all the time.

There are enough bicyclists out there who understand this, so there's no need to cut the scofflaws any slack.

As for those cops, they need to be outed and have the book thrown at them. The law enforcement solution should be the citation. If Greg Nickels had the cops ticket every bicyclist that obstructs traffic in this town, he could build his damn tunnel, and build another one for bicycles.

For my part, I do my level best to share the road. It's the law, after all. But if I am trying to do the speed limit and some biker is blocking me when he could move over, yes, that biker will hear from me, and I don't have to apologize for that.

Here's an idea for positive action. The county Prosecutor, Republican Norm Maleng is up for re-election this year. How about starting a grass roots campaign to turn the bastard out.
Given the numerous witness accounts contradicting the deputies stories, the existence of physical evidence (photos), the prosecutors office should have made a better judgement about prosecuting this. It's just not right that the cops, any cops, can get you charged and force you to make bail, simply on the strength of their own word, regardless of evidence and testimony that undermines their story.
There is nothing automatic about that. The prosecutor's office decides who to charge and when, and in this case they should have deffered charges given the amount of testimony and evidence contradicting the officers' accounts.
So, let's vote the bastadr out of office. He's a Republican anyways. How did we ever let the East siders stick us with a Republican prosecutor?


You mention this vague "obstructing traffic" thing several times, and this part just tickles me in my special place:

"...but I never, ever, have seen a bicyclist cited for obstructing traffic, even though bicyclists do this all the time."

All the time? How? By moving in a lane at a speed that is under the speed limit? One slogan for Critical Mass is "We ARE traffic!" The only traffic I've seen obstructed is when I stop at red lights and stop signs.

I really want to go crazy here and spew a diatribe about how speed limits are limits, not requirements; about bicycles being the same thing as cars in respect to right to the road; but I'm not sure where you're coming from. Maybe you've had rebel bikers on your street building roadblocks out of old bike frames, or some other crazy thing that I can't think of. In light of that, I'll take it easy for now.


Could you not find an ex-girlfriend to drunk-dial? Is that why you're drunk-internetting?


I see where the confusion is now.

I'm one of those people you would call an adult. You know, Job, house, kids, wife, etc....

It appears that Critical mass is a bunch of never do well kids, 30 year old losers hanging out with 18 year olds who ride around with beer in a back pack.

First off, A 30 year old Grad Student? Reminds me of a line from the Movie tommy boy... Chris Farley:"Lotsa people go to school for 6 years"
David Spade" Yes, their called Doctors".

Someguy is such a hypocrite. Lecturing Lee about "educate your self before you speak". Upthread we have Someguy ranting about the "little punk's (Zack's) mommy bailing him out, about how his pals were broke idiots etc. Now we see he is a grad student, that his pals bailed him out and helped with the lawyer fees, and that Someguy admits Zack has balls for helping his friend against the thugs. Someguy, you're just pouring bile out your mouth, you aren't thinking, nothing you say is logical or makes sense, you spout without having the facts, it's just your little reptilian hind-brain going blah blah blah. I see from some other comments on here that you do this on other blogs, too. Like a vandal sneaking into a school at night and trashing it.

Can we just ignore Someguy whoever he, she, they may be until they decide to either get their facts correct, decide to speak reasonably and respectfully. His posts are evidently uninformed and merely presented as a means to distract, provoke negative discussion, and generaly waste time.

Would that anyone have this much time potentially make use of it more positively? Get a job, get a hobby, get a significant other, get something, hey, maybe get a bike and try it out sometime.

When the police use unprovoked violence they have commented a crime. They are not above the law and deserve to go to jail.


Your opinion, stated above, is:

"All the time? How? By moving in a lane at a speed that is under the speed limit? One slogan for Critical Mass is "We ARE traffic!" The only traffic I've seen obstructed is when I stop at red lights and stop signs."

The following, however, is the LAW in this state:

RCW 46.61.427
Slow-moving vehicle to pull off roadway.

On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow moving vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in a line, shall turn off the roadway wherever sufficient area for a safe turn-out exists, in order to permit the vehicles following to proceed. As used in this section a slow moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.
My question to you, then, is, do bicyclists have some right that I might not be aware of to flout this state law?

Responses to a couple points:

The rightness or wrongness of Critical Mass is indeed irrelevant for the legal case, in which really the officers should be the ones being charged. However, this incident is going to drastically raise awareness of Critical Mass, and the public debate will inevitably take place, and anyone with an interest in it should be prepared with lunchroom talking points.

Someone questioned whether road rage exists, and noted that bikers often don't let cars pass when it seems they could. The latter first: if a smart biker doesn't think there's enough room for a car to pass safely, she will ride in in the center of the traffic lane. The biker is the one whose life is at stake, and the decision of whether a car can pass must be up to her. I think this is the one point that would be most effective to teach to all drivers for the safety of bicyclists. Road rage: it does happen. Very frequently in my experience. I was recently riding down Elliot Ave West (becomes 15th Ave W) in the right hand lane, for a trip for which there wasn't really an alternate route, in the center of the narrow lane. Traffic was light to moderate and there were two or three other lanes, but cars repeatedly passed me at ~40 mph within a foot or two rather than getting completely into the other lane. This could only mean that they somehow stopped considering me a human being out there, or thought I had no right to be there and wanted to teach me a lesson by threatening my life. This happens. People get into their cars, late for something because there of course isn't enough time for them to do everything they're expected to, and absolutely have to get where they're going as fast as they possibly can. They resent a person on a bike taking up the roadway, engaging in what they may consider a leisure activity, getting in the way of the important things they need to get done. They get angry at slow-moving construction equipment, too - why couldn't we spend more tax dollars and do all construction at night, or why couldn't this backhoe end up in front of someone with less urgent things to do - but they see bicyclists as making a truly selfish choice - why couldn't she get a car like everyone else?! There are many reasons for not getting a car, such as the fact that one less car with a bike in its place, in congested conditions such as happen frequently in Seattle, helps your precious traffic flow. There's also a cost difference that, in my quick calculations, could be as high as a factor of 100. And exercise, and the resulting sexy legs that make you even madder with envy and/or repressed desire. Along with the psychological effect of being in a steel and glass box with the power to go really fast with a push of a pedal, having a certain level of isolation from the outside, and zooming off to never again see those you pass, it's easy for you to forget that a bicyclist is a human who deserves safety, and easy for you to decide that they bicyclist needs to learn a lesson.

Finally, along the same lines as my earlier post, I second the suggestion to resist the urge to try to tear down posters who do nothing but spew insults. You're just playing their game and giving them a good time.

Ivan -- that law applies when cars can't pass other cars because of a double yellow or the like. It does not have much application to bicycles, which do not (usually) take up so much of a lane that a car cannot pass at all.

What bicyclists want is for other road users to recognize that -- first, it is legal for us to be on the road, period. And second, smart bicyclists control their safety on the road in ways that sometimes require them to control how other road users can use the road too. That "control" is only temporary and we'll get the heck out of your way (if we're in it) as soon as we're back in a safe zone. The key is for everyone to understand what a bicyclist does and why she is doing it.

It's no different from a car driver understanding what another car driver is doing. Because you understand, you're less likely to get irritated. Same with bicyclists - if you understand that there are logical reasons for something, and the cyclist is not just doing something to piss you off or because she's stupid, it's obviously easier to work with.


I know what bicyclists "want." But do not pretend that the law does not apply to bicyclists, and do not pretend that all bicyclists give a shit, or that their reasons for soing something are necessarily "logical."

A lot of bicyclists *don't* give a shit, and they need to.

I commuted by bicycle in Seattle traffic for 10 years, on some of the meanest streets in town. I escaped injury because I STAYED THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF CARS, and I would do the same today.

A lot of motor vehicle drivers have a really bad attitude toward bicyclists. I think we can agree that this is neither necessary nor desirable.

But it cuts both ways, and it does no good to deny it.

How much do you want to bet these assholes have domestic arrest calls that got swept under the rug by the department?

If blocking an intersection is enough to provoke a beating, then a lot of domestic things probably do too.

As I said above, Ivan, I was one of the people who wrote one of the major sections of the current bike law. I'm a lawyer admitted to practice in two states. I also commuted on a bike for many years. My choices for keeping safe were probably different from yours, Ivan.

I understand that some drivers are not responsible and are dangerous. I'd rather work to teach them how bikes and cars can use the road together, than to let them run us off.

You had better teach some bikers how to share the road while you're at it. You'll never get anywhere, nor will you deserve to, until you admit there are problems on both sides.

FYI, It is soon going to be illegal for a car to pass a bicyclist if they cannot completely move over and pass safely.

House Bill 1108

It will be written into the RCW soon. Bikes can take the lane and cars must pass us as if we were another car.

As for Jace blocking traffic. A beating was way out of line. Those sheriff's deputies are going down!

Where are the dailies on this? If nothing else, this should be ceized upon to raise awareness of CM and the rights of bikers, the power of civil disobedience/peaceful protest, and, yes someguy, the "illgality" of the monthly rides.

Critical Mass was news fourteen years ago, and I'm sure the dailies reported on it when San Francisco first saw masses of bikers downtown in 1992.

This is so lame and pathetic - Seattle bikers with all their money and education could do more than copy a fourteen year old San Francisco event. Where are the elevated bike paths through downtown? Where is the bicycle only ferry across Lake Washington? Ooopps...that would be coming up with something original. Instead we have some rich Microsoft employees riding through downtown feeling rightous and radical because cops ask them not to block the intersections.

well done Aaron. please friends, lets not get pissed. you get stuck at an intersection, thats five extra minutes to think about how much you love your kittens and or puppies...or your whatever.

This does not strike me as a very complicated matter, at least based on the witness account posted here.

If the sheriff's deputies beat people up without cause, they should be prosecuted and charged in accordance with their crime. If CMers were caught violating traffic laws, they should be prosecuted and charged in accordance with their crime.

If CMers are practicing civil disobedience, they should welcome arrest (or fines or other legitimate enforcement actions) as a means of raising public awareness of whatever unjust laws they're protesting. It would also help if they informed the public about which laws these are, why they're unjust, and how they ought to be changed or amended. I, for one, haven't a clue.

I participated in Critical Mass in Rochester, New York, last Friday. We had only about a dozen riders. Still, we did our best to obey the traffic laws. When there was a red light, we stopped, and if this caused the group to split up, the people who had made it through the light would pull over somewhere and wait for the others to catch up.

I can't imagine a just law which gives cyclists (or any road users) the right to "cork". If you want to block traffic, seek a permit. Otherwise, share the road, don't hog it. Cyclists and motorists both are going to be around for a long time. Unless you have some ingenius plan for separate-but-equal bike paths and automobile roads (both of which take a cyclist or motorist, respectively, everywhere they might want to go), and until such a plan is realized (my bet: never), I think we'd best learn to coexist and share the roads safely, respectfully, and lawfully.

I support Critical Mass to the extent it supports, or at least does not hinder, this goal. This depends mostly on the actions of the participants in any given event, since Critical Mass has no central organization or any set rules, beyond the quasi-principle (unofficial and not always observed) "we are traffic" -- which does not imply corking, which roughly represents the laws of all 50 states (and, as far as I know, every country), and which is anything but radical.

Sorry to sound unsupportive of an otherwise good thing (more bicycling, less cars), but your whole event is at best an act of civil disobedience and at worst a self-indulgent power trip. The whole corking thing is itself road rage. You provoked the cops and then everybody had a bad day. Better hope I'm not on your jury.

This is the only time I am going to dignify your idiotic ranting with a response.
1. If you want to make a point of how ignorant others who are posting here are, you may want to run spell check on your own postings as your rampant misspellings and typos make you appear extremely foolish.
2. "Street Justice" is illegal. There is a reason that police officers and sheriff's deputies are required to behave according to codes of conduct, it is because they are not, and should not behave like, vigilantes.
3. With your comment about the "30 year old grad student" and doctors you are once again displaying that you haven't the slightest idea of what you are talking about. Zach Treisman will be receiving his doctorate this year. I somehow doubt that you are able to make the same claim.
I hope you have a wonderful life unimpaired by the anger and bitterness it seems consumes you. Try to remember, you are mad at your father, not us.

If the sheriff's deputies were concerned about bicyclists committing a traffic infraction, why didn't they just write them tickets? When a motorist commits an infraction, that is (at most) what is done. Indeed, lots of motorists who even injure or kill pedestrians or bicyclists are only issued a citation, not charged with any crime (nor arrested). There are many recent King County examples: the motorist who killed 11-year-old Tia Townsend in Shoreline in 2002 - $250 ticket but no jail time; the motorist who killed 22-year-old Yianni Philipedes in downtown Seattle in 2000 - wrongful death civil penalty but not jail time; and the motorist who put Crown Hill 12-year-old Nick Messenger in a wheelchair in 2005. All the motorists involved actually hurt or killed somebody when they committed their traffic infraction, but no arrest and no jail -- the injustice of which helped cause Seattle to amend its traffic code late last year to allow for certain assault provisions in traffic cases like these. In any case...bicyclists may be doing wrong by motorists and the traffic code, but they are very unlikely to hurt anyone, so arrest (or physical or verbal confrontation) seems doubly extreme.

Corking isn't specifically prohibited in any traffic code, though it is probably generally citable insofar as it blocks motor vehicle traffic. But it is also a preventive, safety measure that keeps groups of cyclists safe and motorists from getting entangled in a throng of cyclists. It is also an act of kindness from one cyclist to many others, to help them on their way as a group -- while putting the corkers themselves in the direct line of motorists' impatience. They are kind of like a cross between informal crossing guards and bouncers, keeping cars at bay, posturing themselves to briefly impede motorists with the aim of maintaining overall peace, safety, & order.

In a good sign, King County started a bike patrol last year (sheriff's deputies on mountain bikes). Seattle PD has long had one of the biggest bike patrols in the country. It can't hurt in making cops & deputies more aware of the nonmotorists' perspective of the road and traffic.

Critical Mass is lucky, these guys were real cops and a couple of riders were just arrested. Keep blocking intersections and you may run into some real bad guys. Thugs who care nothing about your agenda and who care even less about your life. Keep blocking intersections and telling people to "fuck off" and the odds will catch up to you, or do you just tell people to "fuck off" when you are sure they are cops?

I was there, saw those kids get beat up by the cops on 'roids... I really hope those cops go to hell, in a flaming fucking hand-basket.

And you can bet your friggin SUV we'll be back at it on July 28th, ready to ride again, with even greater numbers. 'The Man' can arrest/beat up as many people as they want, but their van will never fit all of us in it!


An out of towner on errands in Seattle, I was in traffic stopped by "corking" in Fremont ( probably earlier in the ride.) Things seemed well organized , people were looking out for each other and everyone was having fun.
I wondered what was with all the bikes and then realized, it was the last Friday of the month. I'll wait gladly for any Critical Mass ride if I'm in a car ( and feel jealous all the while the I'm not on two wheels!)

Those riders deserve justice for this and I hope that SPD will think twice about messing with Critical Mass again.

I'm a biker, ride to and from work most days, and for fun, and while the police were totally out of line here, critical mass is really doing more harm for their cause than good by blocking intersections, riding all over the road. You want cars to beware, and share the road with you? OBEY THE TRAFFIC LAWS!!

"can't we all just get along together?"

I couldn't help but laugh. Finally one of these biker assholes gets what every "corked" motorist fantasizes about.

I understand the need to raise awareness for bicycles on the road. But how does forcefully inconveniencing thousands of motorists do anything but confirm that bicyclists are assholes?

There are more effective ways to raise positive awareness for your cause. For example, the white bicycles at intersections around the city. Or another example, just obeying the laws of the road, something that too few bicyclists seem willing to do.

Of course I don't condone violence against anyone. As a former skateboarder, I was witness to several similar incidents. But yeah. I admit, I had a good chuckle at this story.

I do not ride a bicycle and they probably annoy me more than most. In my experience they do not share the road well, even though they complain that motor vehicles do not share with them. Bicyclists routinely use the crosswalk to avoid waiting at red lights, fail to signal turns, block an entire lane when there is room to pass, and I have NEVER seen one pull to the side and allow a line of often five or more vehicles that they are bottlenecking pass them. So, I find Critical Mass to be a childish and arrogant demonstration that is bound to further enrage people like me.

That being said, the matter of the police response is completely unrelated. I doubt there can be a clearer case of excessive force with ample witnesses, photographic evidence (did you see badges in those pictures?), and a response so obviously out of proportion to the offense as to be ridiculous. There is no reason for undercover sheriff's deputies to even be involving themselves in a case of someone impeding traffic, and they are trying to use their status as law enforcement officers as a shield from punishment for a violent act unrelated to their duties- traffic enforcement in the city of Seattle is a Seattle PD responsibility.

The good news is that in all likelihood the charges will be dropped, the county will lose a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and these individuals will be disciplined. Unfortunately they will probably not be fired or charged with a criminal offense. Only swift and harsh punishment for law enforcement officers that break the law will communicate that their postion does not allow them to do whatever they please.

CORKING - Is prohibited by law...only law enforcement officials can direct traffic to disregard operating traffic control devices and for safety of the group, go hire those unemployed SPD officers to "cork" for you...

SUSPECT'S ARRESTED - So there defense is that they thru down on people who they thought were regular defenseless citizens...and were tricked and didn't know they were the "poelecce"...oop's...

EVIDENCE - Interestingly the Seattle PI has removed the photo's they printed of the actual arrest, EXCEPT the one of the suspect walking out of court...BECAUSE the photos show the "poelecce" with their badges hanging out rt in the face of the suspects...

REALITY - Seattle has a pathetic Chief of Police and local government...The suspect's were dumb enough to get caught...and the Sheriff personnel did what they are paid to do, ENFORCE THE LAW, EFFECT THE ARREST AND OVERCOME RESISTANCE... NOW GO WATCH THE TOUR DE FRANCE ON O.L.N AND GRAB A GRANOLA BAR!

Zach Treisman will be receiving his doctorate this year. I somehow doubt that you are able to make the same claim.

Posted by: Pharisee | July 4, 2006 03:22 PM

Does the richest man in the world have a “ doctorate”, …opp’s there you go thinking again…

I don’t have a doctorate…but I can assure you I treat everyone with respect and courtesy…Unlike Brien and Triesman…

Here’s a good quote from a news article about the incident, “ He also said the police were dressed in what appeared to be "gangsta"-like clothing: baggy pants and flashy jewelry.”… The “flashy jewelry” was their badges hanging around their neck. Forty-year-old white GANGSTA’S…Yeah he’s really bright…B&T should own up they made a mistake…

Pharisee- RREEEAAALLLYYYYYY, how far do you see?

Now go eat some granola.

Action out!

Wasn't that fat cop in white Grossburger from that movie with richard prior.

Wasn't that fat cop in white Grossburger from that movie with richard prior.

Posted by: road rage pussy |


Ya know, I think you might be right!

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