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    Saskatoon man says police overreacted in cycling arrest


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    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    “I started to explain to the officer that I didn’t know about the bicycle bylaws,” said Bailey. According to Bailey, the police officer asked him to show him some identification. Bailey refused, asking instead for some explanation from the officer.
    I'm not familiar with the laws in Canada, but if they are similar to US laws, he got that exactly backwards. He should not have said anything and he should have handed over his ID. Ignorance of the law is never accepted as an excuse and can even be viewed as an admission of guilt, and in many US states, a citizen is legally obligated to identify themselves to police if asked. These are known as "stop and identify statues" and they were recently upheld by a Supreme Court decision. Also, it should go without saying that arguing with a cop rarely, if ever, goes well. Hold your tongue, take some time to prepare your case, and make your argument in court.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    ....He should not have said anything and he should have handed over his ID. ....
    While I agree that he needed to identify himself so the officer could issue a citation, I believe that (if the story is reported accurately) the officer was out of line with the arrest.

    Police have the right to demand (notice, I didn't say ask for) identification in certain circumstances. Laws vary by state, and I'm sure the US is different from Canada, about when and thy they can demand identification, and what constitutes ID. (In NY, no paper docs. are needed, only verifiable info, such as name and DOB and/or address is enough).

    So, since the officer was going to issue a citation for the sidewalk violation it was incumbant on the subject to identify himself when asked.

    However, when people don't know the law, or don't wish to identify themselves, the officer owes them a measure of courtesy and must explain the rules he's applying and essentially give them warning and a choice.. "I need your ID to issue a summons, and we can do that here and now, or I will need to arrest you se we can do it downtown...."

    Life and police work isn't purely black and white, and officers need to be trained to defuse issue rather than to escalate them.
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    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I believe that (if the story is reported accurately) the officer was out of line with the arrest.
    As do I.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Laws vary by state, and I'm sure the US is different from Canada, about when and thy they can demand identification, and what constitutes ID.
    Yes, which is why I specified "many" states have such statutes as opposed to "all." I also stated up front that I am unfamiliar with Canadian laws but thought my advice might be useful if Canadian laws are similar, or if a similar situation were to occur in the US. Of course, I would encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with their own state and local laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    However, when people don't know the law, or don't wish to identify themselves, the officer owes them a measure of courtesy and must explain the rules he's applying and essentially give them warning and a choice..
    Agreed, but I would not count on such courtesy, and I still maintain that it's best to say nothing and just hand over your ID. You're not likely to get anything positive out of an argument with a cop. As I said, save it for the courtroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Life and police work isn't purely black and white, and officers need to be trained to defuse issue rather than to escalate them.
    Agreed again, but the point of my advice was to reach the best outcome given the way things actually are rather than the way they should be.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    I'm not familiar with the laws in Canada, but if they are similar to US laws, he got that exactly backwards. He should not have said anything and he should have handed over his ID. Ignorance of the law is never accepted as an excuse and can even be viewed as an admission of guilt, and in many US states, a citizen is legally obligated to identify themselves to police if asked. These are known as "stop and identify statues" and they were recently upheld by a Supreme Court decision. Also, it should go without saying that arguing with a cop rarely, if ever, goes well. Hold your tongue, take some time to prepare your case, and make your argument in court.
    There is no requirement (in most US states) to carry or even own an ID card.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief View Post
    There is no requirement (in most US states) to carry or even own an ID card.
    Yes, in the USA (most or all states) establishing identification doesn't mean having a piece of paper or official document, it means providing enough information for the officer to have reasonable belief that you are who you say you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, in the USA (most or all states) establishing identification doesn't mean having a piece of paper or official document, it means providing enough information for the officer to have reasonable belief that you are who you say you are.
    Right, you have to be able to communicate to the good officer who you might be... (scribble it on the sidewalk with lipstick) but so far, we have not become a nation that requires one to carry "papers"!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief View Post
    Right, you have to be able to communicate to the good officer who you might be... (scribble it on the sidewalk with lipstick) but so far, we have not become a nation that requires one to carry "papers"!
    Years ago, a friend and I were stopped over a minor offense and when asked to prove ID we did out Laurel and Hardy act, with him confirming who I was, and me identifying him. The officer wasn't buying that at all, but it all ended OK with a radio call to the precinct and the use of a telephone book to check address.

    Once that was done, he decided to forget the whole thing.

    IMO the incident this thread is about was either reported wrong, or it was a rookie or simply lousy cop. Here it would take a certain amount of back and forth, with an explanation of the reason, and a final "easy or hard way" warning before anyone would be arrested over ID. Supervisors hate these arrests as a costly waste of time, which also takes an officer off the street needlessly.
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    Well, I guess I would be arrested for sure... I NEVER carry any ID when I bike, walk or am away from my car...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    Well, I guess I would be arrested for sure... I NEVER carry any ID when I bike, walk or am away from my car...
    I rarely carry ID when driving my car.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I rarely carry ID when driving my car.
    Really? You drive your car without a drivers licence on you?
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    Really? You drive your car without a drivers licence on you?
    New York may be the only state in the USA that has it right. A driver's license isn't a piece of paper you can carry or not. It's the right to drive a car, the right itself.

    So you either have a valid driver's license or you don't.

    It's kind of like ID in the general sense. You are who you are-- that's your ID -- not some piece of paper in support of the fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Life and police work isn't purely black and white, and officers need to be trained to defuse issue rather than to escalate them.
    It doesn't sound like there was much escalation. The officer probably wasn't busy and didn't feel like arguing with the dip**** so he let him spend some time in a cell. Escalating would have been punching the cyclist like they did here in Vancouver a while back.

    You don't get arrested for not carrying ID but refusing to provide ID and remaining silent seems pointless and unnecessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    It doesn't sound like there was much escalation. The officer probably wasn't busy and didn't feel like arguing with the dip**** so he let him spend some time in a cell. Escalating would have been punching the cyclist like they did here in Vancouver a while back.

    You don't get arrested for not carrying ID but refusing to provide ID and remaining silent seems pointless and unnecessary.
    You are entitled to know the problem or charge or the reason for the request. We don't know from the report how much back and forth there was, and whether the cyclist continued to refuse when told that arrest was the alternative or even if he was so warned.

    I've conditioned my earlier posts on whether the story was reported accurately, but if it was, this was an out of line bust (if Canadian law is similar to most US states).

    Good police departments treat citizens with courtesy and respect (even when citing or arresting them). Bad ones wonder why they don't get community cooperation, and have jurors toss cases. As an old friend (and cop) says "I treat everyone like a potential juror".
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    You are entitled to know the problem or charge or the reason for the request. We don't know from the report how much back and forth there was, and whether the cyclist continued to refuse when told that arrest was the alternative or even if he was so warned.

    I've conditioned my earlier posts on whether the story was reported accurately, but if it was, this was an out of line bust (if Canadian law is similar to most US states).

    Good police departments treat citizens with courtesy and respect (even when citing or arresting them). Bad ones wonder why they don't get community cooperation, and have jurors toss cases. As an old friend (and cop) says "I treat everyone like a potential juror".
    You need to decide what battles you want to fight. 99% of normal people would just hand over their license or let the officer know if they don't have an ID. Most people probably don't ride with a drivers license so I doubt that would be a cause for arrest.

    I understand some old guys with too much time on their hands like to make a point but it just seems like a colossal waste of time.

    Much bigger problems in the world than a cop throwing an old guy in a cell for a few hours.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    Well, I guess I would be arrested for sure... I NEVER carry any ID when I bike, walk or am away from my car...
    Officer: I am going to issue you a citation. I need to see your ID.

    You: I am not carrying ID.

    Officer: I need your name, address, and phone number for identification.

    [You gives officer name, address, and number]

    [Officer looks up ID information and confirms on his in-car computer]

    You now do not go to jail because you didn't refuse to ID yourself, you only notified that you were not carrying ID. Just like Alex Baldwin, this person was arrested because he did not identify himself, not because he wasn't carrying ID.

    It's really quite simple.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief View Post
    There is no requirement (in most US states) to carry or even own an ID card.
    Ugh, if I have to anticipate every nitpicky objection you guys come up with, my posts will start looking like software user agreements. I said "he should have handed over his ID" because it follows the narrative in the article:

    "According to Bailey, the police officer asked him to show him some identification. Bailey refused, asking instead for some explanation from the officer."

    It doesn't say he didn't have ID. It says he refused to show it. I'm just going by the info I have available. I never meant to suggest that carrying ID was a requirement.

    But let me change it up to reflect your point: "He should not have said anything and he should have identified himself." (Of course, now I have to deal with the wiseacre who asks me how the guy could remain silent and identify himself. Well, handing over an ID card would be one way...)
    Last edited by Brennan; 06-05-14 at 08:25 AM.

  18. #18
    Home School Valedictorian 02Giant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    You need to decide what battles you want to fight. 99% of normal people would just hand over their license or let the officer know if they don't have an ID. Most people probably don't ride with a drivers license so I doubt that would be a cause for arrest.

    I understand some old guys with too much time on their hands like to make a point but it just seems like a colossal waste of time.

    Much bigger problems in the world than a cop throwing an old guy in a cell for a few hours.
    Much bigger problems in the world than a cop throwing an old guy in a cell for a few hours for riding on a sidewalk and not having a bell.
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    Home School Valedictorian 02Giant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    Ugh, if I have to anticipate every nitpicky objection you guys come up with, my posts will start looking like software user agreements. I said "he should have handed over his ID" because it follows the narrative in the article:

    "According to Bailey, the police officer asked him to show him some identification. Bailey refused, asking instead for some explanation from the officer."

    It doesn't say he didn't have ID. It says he refused to show it. I'm just going by the info I have available. I never meant to suggest that carrying ID was a requirement. But think of it as "he should have identified himself" if it makes you happy.
    There wasn't any reason to request identification for riding up on a walk and not having a bell, unless the cop wanted to be a d*ck.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Someone mentioned ignorance of the law is no excuse. Then how do you explain all the police that dont know that bicycles have the right to ride on most regular streets and hiways? Should a cop that writes a ticket for a cyclist taking the lane where necessary be jailed?

    BTW the only ID I have on my bike or trike is a dogtag with my name phone number and blood type.

  21. #21
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Sounds to me, like he caused his own problem. Now, as is commonplace these days, he is trying to affix blame anywhere, but on himself................

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
    There wasn't any reason to request identification for riding up on a walk and not having a bell, unless the cop wanted to be a d*ck.
    You mean besides the fact that the cyclist violated two laws and the cop needed ID in order to issue a citation? (Also note that the article states this was a bicycle mounted cop. As such, pedestrian/bicycle safety is probably one of his primary objectives.)

  23. #23
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    Someone mentioned ignorance of the law is no excuse. Then how do you explain all the police that dont know that bicycles have the right to ride on most regular streets and hiways? Should a cop that writes a ticket for a cyclist taking the lane where necessary be jailed?
    That was me, and it's true. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse in the eyes of the court. How likely is this scenario?

    Defendant: "I'm sorry, your honor. I had no idea it was against the law."
    Judge: "Ok then, case dismissed. You're free to go."

    By the same token, if a cop didn't know the law, he would lose the case just the same. A member here recently posted about just such an outcome: Cyclist Is Not Guilty.

    Just to be clear though, the cyclist in the OP was not arrested for ignorance of the law, nor for riding on the sidewalk or not having a bell. He was arrested for refusing to identify himself, ie "obstruction of justice" as stated in the article.
    Last edited by Brennan; 06-05-14 at 08:28 AM.

  24. #24
    Home School Valedictorian 02Giant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    You mean besides the fact that the cyclist violated two laws and the cop needed ID in order to issue a citation? (Also note that the article states this was a bicycle mounted cop. As such, pedestrian/bicycle safety is probably one of his primary objectives.)
    Exactly. A citation wasn't needed, what would have been wrong with a reminder of the ordinances or even a warning? Does every piddly azzed infraction require identification and citations? Is there no discretion now days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    That was me, and it's true. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse in the eyes of the court. How likely is this scenario?

    Defendant: "I'm sorry, your honor. I had no idea it was against the law."
    Judge: "Ok then, case dismissed. You're free to go."

    By the same token, if a cop didn't know the law, he would lose the case just the same. A member here recently posted about just such an outcome: Cyclist Is Not Guilty.

    Just to be clear though, the cyclist in the OP was not arrested for ignorance of the law, nor for riding on the sidewalk or not having a bell. He was arrested for refusing to identify himself, ie "obstruction of justice" as stated in the article.
    Technically yes, as I said discretion could have been exercised, a warning given and both went on their way. Instead someone with some authority had to show who was in charge and make a mountain out of a mole hill.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
    Exactly. A citation wasn't needed, what would have been wrong with a reminder of the ordinances or even a warning? Does every piddly azzed infraction require identification and citations? Is there no discretion now days?
    For all we know, the cop was going to issue a warning. But we'll never know because the cyclist decided to be argumentative and refused to identify himself. So what could have been a warning, or at worst a citation with the right to dispute it in court, instead ended up as several hours in lockup. Now please understand I'm not trying to be an apologist for overzealous enforcement. I'm just trying to illustrate the best way to navigate the legal system as it exists. Learn the law and assert your rights, such as the right to remain silent or the right to refuse a request for a search, but also comply with lawful orders from a police officer, such as an order to identify yourself (depending on your locality). This is the best way to protect yourself and to avoid unpleasant outcomes such as this one. Even if a cop is out of line (perhaps especially if a cop is out of line) being argumentative and uncooperative will make things worse for you in a hurry, as the cyclist in the article found out. Again, not saying it's right. I'm saying it's the reality we face. The best place to make your case is in a court of law where a judge is in charge. The worst place to make it is on the street where the cop is in charge.

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