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Old 11-24-13, 06:59 PM   #1
Buzzatronic
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Punish passed by local police car today

I got passed today really close by a local police cruiser, felt like a typical punish pass. My question is what's the upside (if any) of reporting this? I have it on video but based on my previous dealings with the PD regarding footage like this, they don't seem to care much unless I'm actually hit by a car. I have to wonder if they'll care even less when it's one of their own on film putting me in danger.

I guess my biggest concern is being harassed if I report this. I ride these streets 3-5 days a week and I certainly don't want to get put on any "list".

Anyone have any advice or stories to share for when the police are the drivers putting you in danger on the road?
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Old 11-24-13, 07:13 PM   #2
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I have filed a report before. They don't like it. It goes on their precinct stats.

I had an unmarked detective's charger left hook me. I had words with him at the next light (as it dawned on me that he was unmarked) and proceeded directly to the station.

I was eventually asked to come back into the office where an officer tried to cajole me into dropping the complaint. There was a weird moment where he also made sure I saw his sidearm....

I kept with it, as the original driver was being a jerk and told me that I should not be turning left from the left lane. Bridgeport is a High poverty post industrial city-- most cyclists have no other transit, and I think it was a race/disrespect thing. So I stuck to *my* guns and insisted nicely that we follow through with the report.

Nothing bad came of it. Everybody carried out their duty more or less and went on with their lives. People make mistakes, and other people pipe up about them. I didn't need the guy's head on a platter or anything. But it was satisfying to know that they very seriously did not want citizen complaints piling up, just as I don't want to get scared and cut off in the streets when I'm trying to make a left turn.
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Old 11-24-13, 07:41 PM   #3
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There was a weird moment where he also made sure I saw his sidearm....


I doubt that.
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Old 11-24-13, 07:46 PM   #4
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I got passed today really close by a local police cruiser, felt like a typical punish pass. I have it on video but based on my previous dealings with the PD regarding footage like this, they don't seem to care much unless I'm actually hit by a car. I have to wonder if they'll care even less when it's one of their own on film putting me in danger.
While law enforcement should be held to a higher standard than the general public in regards to their driving habits and civil behavior while on duty, don't read too much into the pass. Even LEOs can get distracted or inadvertently pass a little too close. I make it a personal rule in general about behavior of others, "don't assume malicious intent in events which can be otherwise explained". Many events which might appear malicious are actually simply lapses in judgement, distraction, decreased awareness or simply indifference. Unless you see an intentional swerve, gunning the engine, laying on the horn, flipping you the bird, yelling, etc. to confirm malicious intent don't assume harassment. Of course if the driving behavior showed blatant disregard for public (your) safety, it needs to be addressed. IMHO a single "kinda close for comfort" pass by itself isn't enough to make a fuss about. While you get a few arse oles in any profession, I find that the vast majority of LEOs are decent guys.
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Old 11-24-13, 07:47 PM   #5
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I doubt that.
Nope. It wasn't like a threat kind of thing, it was more like being made to feel uncomfortable or somehow respect his authority more while he was pressuring me to drop the complaint. As a veteran inner city high school teacher (murders and shootings and such behind our school, right next to the jail...) -- I'm a pretty good judge of body language and communication. There wasn't anything threatening about it, it was something less than that.

and myosmith is right, a close-ish pass is probably not blatant enough to really warrant follow up.
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Old 11-24-13, 07:56 PM   #6
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I doubt that.
intimidation is definitely part of many officers' arsenals. so much so that at times it will bleed into their personal lives. i've been a witness to that personally.
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Old 11-24-13, 08:25 PM   #7
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intimidation is definitely part of many officers' arsenals. so much so that at times it will bleed into their personal lives. i've been a witness to that personally.
I don't doubt that. I just doubt that the officer in question purposely exhibited his firearm for that purpose. Especially to an educated person inside the precinct. It's possible he leaned his arm on it, or adjusted it, or something that people who don't carry every day would perceive as being intended to call attention to it.
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Old 11-24-13, 09:43 PM   #8
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......I have it on video.....
How close was it, and at what speed differential?
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Old 11-24-13, 09:52 PM   #9
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With the police, it sort of a 23/75. OTOH when a cop doesn't have their lights, or sirens' going, and even not gunning their engine, they could still be on a call. OTOH, when I have encountered police responding to a bike accident I have been in, they have been quick to blame me. So I don't trust them.
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Old 11-24-13, 10:40 PM   #10
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How close was it, and at what speed differential?
Felt like 18 inches max elbow to mirror. My speed was about 15, theirs closer to 25. Speed limit on the road is 35 I think.

What annoyed me most is that they pulled this move less than 300 feet from a stop light where traffic was already stopped and the light was red. There was no upside for them to pass me like that.
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Old 11-24-13, 10:51 PM   #11
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Felt like 18 inches max elbow to mirror. My speed was about 15, theirs closer to 25. Speed limit on the road is 35 I think.
I have two cameras mounted on my bike, front and rear facing, the rear facing camera is mounted on the outside of my rear basket, and it has garnered it's share of some hair raising videos of motorists making some very close passes.
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Old 11-25-13, 03:16 AM   #12
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Presuming Hanlon's Razor:
I'd just go to the station, as to speak to the senior guy on duty, explain it all (giving the licence plate number) and ask if he could have a chat to this officer and just ask him to be more careful in the future. Request/make a follow up call later.
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Old 11-25-13, 03:37 AM   #13
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JonnyHK, I think what you are suggesting is pretty reasonable, but if there were a way to do it without the close passing officer losing face, then that might be even better. I'm not sure how you would go about it, unless you know who the close passing officer is.
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Old 11-25-13, 06:24 AM   #14
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JonnyHK, I think what you are suggesting is pretty reasonable, but if there were a way to do it without the close passing officer losing face, then that might be even better. I'm not sure how you would go about it, unless you know who the close passing officer is.

Having a senior officer pass along a comment is a lot better than having a senior officer forced to fill in complaint paperwork about you (the next step if this stuff happens again).
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Old 11-25-13, 08:27 AM   #15
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I'd file it, and if the police don't do anything about it, contact the local news. If they're anything like my local news channel, they'll jump on the story and show your video on air.
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Old 11-25-13, 08:31 AM   #16
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Having a senior officer pass along a comment is a lot better than having a senior officer forced to fill in complaint paperwork about you (the next step if this stuff happens again).
In our locale, there is a tight knit "old guard" mentality, and having a senior officer passing along a comment generally doesn't carry the same weight as an official complaint, since it wasn't documented and not available in case there is similar incident in the future by the same officer. No documentation, no way to establish a pattern.
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Old 11-25-13, 09:38 AM   #17
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A few weeks ago I got passed rather closely by an officer in a marked car on a rural road. I chalked it up to the officer knowing where I was, where the right side of his car was, and passing with what he judged to be enough clearance.
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Old 11-25-13, 09:43 AM   #18
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A few weeks ago I got passed rather closely by an officer in a marked car on a rural road. I chalked it up to the officer knowing where I was, where the right side of his car was, and passing with what he judged to be enough clearance.
Just 10 more months and our state's 3 foot passing law goes into affect, and no more leaving it solely up to the motorist's decision on what is considered a "safe" distance.
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Old 11-25-13, 09:49 AM   #19
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It would be better to ask to speak to the officer's supervisor/sgt., keeping it off the record. His/her supervisor will be thankful it didn't go higher than them, and will still mention it, hoping to curb future problems.
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Old 11-25-13, 09:54 AM   #20
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I doubt that the local news is going to make a big deal over an 18" pass at a 25mph. We shouldn't either. At most, find out if you can talk to someone at the station without filing a complaint.

18" passes at that speed are what I consider normal safe driving here on the crowded east coast. My police experience involved a left hook while I was turning left and then an angry insistence that I get out of the road. Big difference. Cops generally know what they're doing in their cars and don't need a 36" buffer, especially not at 25 mph.
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Old 11-25-13, 10:19 AM   #21
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To me a punish pass(never heard the term before)is when someone clips you with their mirror, brake checks you, then gets out and lets you know that they don't like you.

18 inches is not that close. I doubt I would have even noticed it as very far inside the normal range. Seattle must be a wonderfull place if getting passed close to a stop light is worth considering, even by a cruiser.

I get that it was a cop, they should be well versed in the 36" rules, but that's pretty weak sauce for a complaint, unless the camera show you visibly having to swerve out of its way, slam on the brakes, or be put in actual danger, I doubt that any one at the station will truly care.
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Old 11-25-13, 10:40 AM   #22
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I don't think an 18" pass at 25 MPH would have raised my notice either. I get passed that close at 60 MPH occasionally, and that merits a "whoa cowboy!" but I wouldn't bother even saving the video from it.
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Old 11-25-13, 10:59 AM   #23
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Seriously?? 18 inches and I would be sweating bullets. That is close enough to reach out and touch the car. Way too close to be considered safe. What happens if my chain slips and I veer left? What happens if a gust of wind comes and blows me left? What happens if I get a blowout and fall left? 18 inches gives no room for error.

PA's law says to give 4 feet, and while I think that's overkill, I don't feel that it was a safe pass unless the give at least 2 feet, more if the speed differential is higher.

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Old 11-25-13, 11:06 AM   #24
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Felt like 18 inches max elbow to mirror. My speed was about 15, theirs closer to 25. Speed limit on the road is 35 I think.

What annoyed me most is that they pulled this move less than 300 feet from a stop light where traffic was already stopped and the light was red. There was no upside for them to pass me like that.
Blow it off and ride much more. Silly idea to contact the police.
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Old 11-25-13, 11:09 AM   #25
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To me a punish pass(never heard the term before)is when someone clips you with their mirror, brake checks you, then gets out and lets you know that they don't like you.
That's not a punish pass, that's assault.
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