A Fine Line Between Honest and Stupid

by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

In yet another episode of “Cops Behaving Badly”, we have Officer Gracie of the LAPD giving citizen 34 year old Chris Jackson of Venice, California, a ticket, allegedly for “riding on the wrong side of the bike path” after Jackson complained about the officer’s motorcycle blocking the bike path. The “officer” at first claims the ticket is for riding on the wrong side of the bike path. When challenged by Jackson that 1) he was passing on a dashed line and 2) that he knew of no law covering unsafe passing on the bike lane, the real reason Jackson was being ticketed came out.

He was being ticketed for disagreeing with the officer.

When faced with a challenge from both Jackson and several citizens, he then escalates the reason for the ticket to speeding under California Vehicle Code 22350. There is a problem with that as well.  Ca. VC 22350 reads “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” [emphasis added] Undeterred by logic, citizen complaint, being told he was being recorded for the purposes of posting to YouTube or his inability to cite an applicable California statute, Officer Gracie bulldogs ahead to write his ticket insisting that he’d be perfectly happy to write more tickets all the while ignoring people both doing what Jackson allegedly did and worse (such as walking and roller-blading on the bike path).

Jackson was supposed to be in court yesterday, Friday, January 18, 2013. However, LAPD Spokesman Detective Gus Villanueva of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section said that the “ticket had been canceled in the interest of justice.” He also said the department is conducing a personnel investigation into the conduct of the officer involved (sure they are) and would not comment further.

There is certainly a line being crossed here, but it isn’t a solid yellow line.

What do you think?

Source(s): NBC, Ca. VC § 22350

~submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

67 thoughts on “A Fine Line Between Honest and Stupid”

  1. Darren,

    I am heading to bed, a 3AM night was not good thing to start the day with at 9AM today. Now it is 23:20 here.

    Thank for a mighty interesting sociological and political review. The split is interesting, as is the unity for different reasons behind the WA initiative which removed marijuana from legal restraint.

    We are still struggling years after 1776 etc.

    We and your two fractions do have different views on government’s place. Now I am sitting on the fence although it is uncomfortable. The Obama regime seems but a PR apparatus designed to hide unconstitutional measures and advance the police state while keeping the corps fed and the MCI carousel also. My love of words, especially my own, overwhelms me,
    Resolutions are broken from one breath to the next one.

    Yours truly, the pompous a55!

  2. Idealist:

    There is a definite difference in many ways between Eastern and Western Washington. Eastern Washington is culturally another state in some respects. Eastern WA is more culturally like Montana or Wyoming. Western Washington (mostly within two counties of Seattle) is more like San Francisco. Eastern Washingtonians generally resent being politically dominated in the state legislature by King County (Seattle) because King county has more legislative districts, and hence more senators and representatives than all of Eastern Washington combined. It tends to be that Seattle Culture which is different from EW culture results in laws that EW residents consider to be outside of their wishes.

    It somewhat harks back to a term that was coined decades ago. EW citizens had a tendency to refer to Western Washingtonians, especially King County residents as being “Coasties” (from Pacific Coast) which implies arrogant yuppie types that have somewhate loose morals. Urban Western Washingtonians sometimes view EW residents as “hicks” who are backward, ultra conservative and ignorant.

    Demographic shifts mainly from people from other states coming into WA WW metro areas have changed by the numbers WA from a red state to a blue state as a whole but it is due to the concentration of blue type of politicians in the WW metro (seattle) areas. This is much to the chagrin of EW which is very republican and it tends to reinforce the blief that the coasties are taking over as some have said to me. I think over time the difference will begin to wane but it might take another generation.

    There is somewhat of a unity in WA despite this inner tension. The marijuana legalization clearly demonstrates this. The initiative passed overwhelmingly in Western WA counties but was a bit below a majority in Eastern. That said it has been more or less accepted by most Washingtonians in the end.

    There has been much talk about what will happen with the federal government which has been rather ambiguous as to whether or not it will clamp down on the citizens of Washington since the feds consider it illegal. (and no legislative effort has been really seen on the national news to change the law) I predict that if the federal government clamps down on Washington’s citizens over this it will produce a major backlash by all Washingtonians who will be united.

    Western Washingtonians will look at it from a perspective that marijuana should be legal and its war and drugs status has been a failure and people have a right to smoke the stuff. Eastern Washingtonians will look at this as a state’s rights issue and another example of oppression by the federal government; that is the idea “US Government has no business to tell us what to do.”

    I predict that if the US Government comes along and starts arresting citizens of our state for engaging in lawful activities allowed by a citizens initiative here it will be politically a hot topic that will resonate greatly, hopefully the federal politicians will recognize this stay out of our lives.

  3. I loved Seattle in 1959, dreary, but with the roses in September, and the view of the white-topped mountain in the east at sunset, it was better than NYC.
    It was hell in reality, but then it always has been.

    You folks sound more sassy than the proles in the east. There is hope.
    Guess it is the desert air in eastern WA or the rain forest keeping nature near in the west.

  4. Darren,

    Your second post mitigates the first one. You are really a good guy, with just another filter than mine. Good we have you around just to keep us informed on how some think on that side of the thin red line.

    Great that some states have it. How does it play out over time? Are traffic infractions growing, police ulcers increasing, infractors less sassy???

    Raging Police States do scare the skit out of us, just like it did her.
    She watches the wrong programs on TV.

  5. Darren, just to be snarky, (I sore now see other threads why)

    You are a sterling example of the police oriented mind/guards can do what they want says the Sct/as long as it in the rule book (cops only) then anything goes down

    take was far over my head but then she’s been studying this shit for over xx years, (don’t reveal a lady’s age—verboten), so I will go with her.

    From the cop recorded in the car during the chase asking it the dashboard camera could be taken off, then it was, they thought, by the books.

    One thing I caught which no ones mentioned, but then I am more hyperparanoid than others and examine every move——-

    Remember at the end the cop who goes from the group and peers at the cop car? He was checking to see if the camera was really rolling, sealed and untouchable. It was! So he abandoned the idea of breaking her neck in the remaining “move to transport to jail” activity.
    She was lucky.

    At least they did not do a Rodney King on her.

    Did she lose the baby? If so, 2.5 million instead. There went that school from the school budget. Of course LA has no schools—-to speak of.

  6. The video of the person invlved in the Venice Beach incident AP posted:

    This brings up a point of dismay I have with some other states that continue to make minor traffic violations crimes. Succinctly, it is such a waste of time and resources and an undue burden on the citizen accused of these.

    It seems according to this man’s statements, the ticket he received was a criminal citation, of which he most post bail and have a mandatory court appearance. All for a bike trail violation. He does make a point about how disruptive it is for him and others, just to be in compliance with the system.

    Many states have decriminalized minor traffic violations, instead making them civil infractions (a monetary fine only). A person accused of an infraction in our state has three options. Pay the fine and be done with it, request a mitigation hearing to explain the reasons for the violations or request a reduction of the fine, request a hearing before a judge and contest the charge.

    Many counties over here are moving to a system where the accused can either mail in an affidavit to mitigate/contest the infraction and a judge will review it and make his / her decision. E-mail or a website is also available. So they don’t even have to show up, just send an e-mail, let the judge review it, and a reply will be made as to what the decision is and if applicable how much the fine will be. People here are not put in jail for infractions.

    Leaving minor traffic violations as crimes is archaic. WA decriminalized these around 1977. It has worked very well for us here even after all this time.

  7. There was no need to throw the woman in the CHP video to the ground. Both the officers could have just handcuffed her and that would be it.

    The search was an Incident to Arrest search and is legal. There is probable cause to arrest the driver for not pulling over due to her continuing to drive through traffic, instead of pulling off the freeway as she was directed to, she weaved through several lanes of traffic until finally coming to a stop some time later. (whether she would have been convicted is another matter, it could go either way it’s not a super solid case.)

    The lack of compliance to the orders to turn around did present a red flag for an officer safety risk which is indicative of a person who might be confrontational. While not 100% indicative, it is just one of many indicators.
    But this is minor.

    So everything the police did up to just before she was thrown to the ground was not at issue .

    From the positions of the officers being right next to her each one could grab a hand and put her into handcuffs probably without any difficulty. If the officers had simply done this, nothing would have become of it.

    This is an example of what I have been writing here for some time and what I used to tell rookies. The stupid stuff / actions have a tendancy to blow completely out of control and get officers into trouble.

    I’ll agree the woman was entitled to the damages for being forcefully tossed to the ground, it certainly was not justified to slam her down.

  8. I counted 6 men in blue, or tan. She must have been a real security threat. I take her at her word: she’d never been face to race with a gun before, was scared shitless she’d be shot, and basically was in shock. As to her using cell phone while driving charge, I hate that folks do that but, sadly, it’s more the rule than the exception these days that I see.

  9. To me that looks like two felony assaults, four criminal deprivations of constitutional rights under color of state law, four criminal derilection of duties, an illegal search, and at least two counts of terroristic threatening. So the LA taxpayers paid $250,000 for this and none of these four bullies was prosecuted?

    So you see somebody would have to organize protests, have all the media up in arms, yada yada yada. It can’t be done for every injustice. It cannot even be done for one percent of one PERCENT of the injustices. That’s how (and why) we are who we are. It makes us understand Aaron Swartz.

  10. The settlement was $250,000 for this pregnant woman thrown to the ground and hog tied:

  11. Like Darren says “Unless told otherwise when pulled over it is best to stay inside the car with your hands on the steering wheel.” Translation: the whole population of drivers (and others) has to be treated like criminals and follow a militaristic model of
    “law enforcement”. The cops are just the leading edge but, without question, they are that.

  12. It is a big deal Chris. Cops are harassing people for no reason these days. This has to stop. they need to serve and protect instead of hassling people for no good reason.

  13. If you look cross-eyed at a cop, he will straighten you out—-this was a mild one. The cop had been classed as a slow learner. They were right.

    Is it worse in “corrupt countries”: “Sir, you can go to jail until we have time fo try you, no bail allowed for petty crimes. Or you can make a small donation to my family. How much you got on you?”

  14. EastBroadwayLongBeach went prompt critical and wrote:
    Attach electrodes to officers testicles and give him the full 50,000 watt injection….. for being a stupid ‘DICK’
    All in the name of fairness and justice. Apply torture to those you consider stupid. That is what you are declaring it would seem. I never had considered electrodes and 50 kW to the genitals as being a successful treatment for those lacking in intelligence. Please share with us your other medical and judicial observations.

  15. Unless told otherwise when pulled over it is best to stay inside the car with your hands on the steering wheel.

  16. Chris,

    Thanks for the update, but I’m curious if you were given a rationale as to why you had to bond out for court date on a ticket that has allegedly been cancelled? Has anyone officially contacted you or tried to explain why your ticket is still in process if it was cancelled? Hang in there! We’re rooting for you as you fight the good fight.

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