Southern California copblocker Ricky Munday, was in La Puente, CA when he noticed two cyclists detained for riding without lights. Both individuals were inside the patrol car and their property was displayed on the hood when Ricky arrived.
The officers weren’t too happy that Ricky was filming their stop and used their lights to obstruct his camera while ordering him to keep him moving. Police aren’t fans of transparency and they really aren’t fans of recording equipment. Officers quite often use their lights to obstruct people who film them in an attempt to disable cameras that are pointed at them.
Instead of providing a service to the cyclists, these officers forced them to endure an uncomfortable situation where strangers violated their privacy in an attempt to turn them into criminals. Would it not have been better treatment to respect these individuals as humans and alert them that riding without a light is not a safe practice?
Filming the police is a protected activity and it’s ironic that the people who swear protect those activities are quick to find reasons to arrest you for participating in them.
Shortly after Ricky arrived the kids were released from police, custody without incident, and allowed to ride home.
If the officers originally stopped them for cycling without a light, why wouldn’t they cite them for it? Could it be that they didn’t care about the absence of lights and were hoping their fishing expedition would help them make an arrest?
Cycling has been increasingly criminalized in California. The cycling laws range from from where you can ride, to the size of the bike and the height of the handlebars. The state claims these laws are for your safety and the police collect the tax from those who break the rules.
While copblocking in LA with Tom Zebra, he told me “Traffic stops are the most important incident. It’s where the police turn innocent people into criminals.” This stop, filmed by Ricky, provides a perfect example of what Tom means. A couple of teenagers riding their bikes are stopped by police for an arbitrary reason. The police then proceed to dig through their bags with hopes of finding something to arrest them for.
Kudos to Ricky Munday and everyone else who is taking the time to film police interactions and expose their treatment of people who are not suspected of a crime but have in fact been stopped over a meaningless violation. If you would like to get involved with copblockers near you, check out the groups section. Furthermore you can join the CopBlock Network and start working with others to spread the message “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.
In Fresno cyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk as long as they are not in the downtown business district. The local police are known to take that code and apply it to all sidewalks, knowing full well most people don’t know the law and will pay the fine. This is predatory behavior on both sides of the coin and the police shouldn’t be celebrated for participating in it.
I have had my own encounters with police over cycling in my hometown of Fresno, CA. I was ticketed for riding on the sidewalk in my neighborhood after filming a cop conduct a warrantless search of the bed of a pickup truck. The ticket was retribution for calling him out on the lack of a warrant before removing the tarp that covered the pickups bed. Michael Manfredi, the cop who stopped me, is famous in Fresno as one of four officers who got away with beating a Mexican immigrant.
In Clovis police routinely pull people over for riding on the sidewalk with the hopes that a search will provide them with something to charge them with a crime for. I have caught them on camera a couple different times.
Check out the videos below for those interactions