Ticketed for Bicycling or Recording?

by Garret Ean
June 19, 2011

Late last night, I was enjoying a bike ride through town with two friends. On a residential road, one of my friend’s bicycle chain snaps, causing him to fall onto the bike which skidded a few feet before stopping. It was a surprisingly lucky fall, and as my friend was dusting himself off, a stranger in an SUV pulls up behind us and shines a spotlight in our general direction. Noticing that this stranger was with Concord police, I began audio recording.

The man tried to get IDs out of my friends. He didn’t pursue it much before I became his focus and my friends were ignored. He kept asking if I had a light for my bike (a bike which was not being used) and claimed I was committing a “motor vehicle infraction” for standing in the road with a bike on which he could not see a light. He didn’t do too much looking for the light before determining he was going to cite me.

Video enters the picture around this point, and shortly thereafter another officer. The initial officer had repeatedly refused to identify himself, and when the second officer arrived I asked his name and badge number. You can hear the first officer order him not to reveal that information and says, “We’re not playing games.”

Eventually I’m given a threatening note demanding either $29.76 or more than that value in my time and energy proving their piece of paper wrong. Upon leaving, I find that the officer who singled me out for recording (or whatever reason he might claim for singling me out) was none other than Sgt. Michael Pearl. Mr. Pearl and I had met each other almost a year earlier but I did not recognize him. I was detained for ‘looking too young to be out at night’ and Mr. Pearl was one of the last officers on the scene. Unlike two others I had dealt with up to that point, he took such an issue with my audio recording him that he used physical force to stop me. I filed a complaint over this assault and Concord PD’s response was essentially “no comment”. Past posts on the subject:

Concord Police Continue to Abuse Wiretapping Statute, 10/30/2010
My Conversation with Chief Robert Barry, 11/04/2010

I must commend Mr. Pearl for this time not using physical force against me, though I do not appreciate threatening notes from his organization or being openly singled out among three people. Being in possession of a bike in Concord is not a crime, and had Mr. Pearl been slightly less gung-ho to issue a citation, he might have found that light that he was looking for. Details such as these will be hashed out in court.

It is also unfortunate that Mr. Pearl, who is the commander of the entire midnight shift at CPD, believes that Concord’s officers should operate in secret, and that they have a right to demand your name but you may not get a response when you ask for theirs. As long as agents of the state continue to operate as the monopoly on the use of violence, there will be no challenge to their view of themselves as the more equal animal.

Video from the scene, begins with the Porc411 audio and becomes visual at 1:20.



About freeconcord

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4 Responses to Ticketed for Bicycling or Recording?

  1. Pingback: The Fear of Questions and Cameras | FreeConcord.org

  2. Ambassador says:

    You need to study your state’s statutes and code and learn how to properly file a tort claim against the officer. You should also check to see if there are even any codes requiring a bicycle to have a light in the first place. Officers will often make up an offense and most people just pay because they have no clue what the law is or how to apply it. Such a problems is eliminated through self study of the law and its application thereof.

  3. Pingback: Bicycle Recording Ticket to See Courtroom | FreeConcord.org

  4. Pingback: No-finding Verdict in Bicycle Headlamp Trial | FreeConcord.org

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