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Old 05-13-14, 06:47 PM   #1
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Even w/ Video Evidence - No Charges for Driver in Death of Cyclist

"Amelie Le Moullac was pedaling eastbound on Folsom Street just before Sixth Street on the morning of Aug. 14, 2013 when the right-turning truck driven by Gilberto Alcantar struck her. Police faulted Le Moullac for her death until a San Francisco Bike Coalition staffer discovered surveillance video of the crash at a nearby auto shop. After watching the video, investigators concluded Alcantar was to blame for making an unsafe turn into the bike lane, killing the young public relations professional. Despite that key piece of evidence, prosecutors ultimately felt it wasn’t enough to convince a jury."

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No Charges for Driver in Death of Bicyclist Amelie Le Moullac | KQED News Fix
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Old 05-13-14, 09:38 PM   #2
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Yeah no charges. Cases like this drive me nuts. Guttless prosecutors should be driven from office. Why the driver wasnt charged, when there is video of the scene proving the dirver is at fault is beyond belief.
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Old 05-13-14, 09:59 PM   #3
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Yet they charge a cyclist for a death with far less evidence and go at him full force.

For cyclists, San Francisco cops and prosecutors are biased and totally suck.
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Old 05-13-14, 11:09 PM   #4
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Yet they charge a cyclist for a death with far less evidence and go at him full force.

For cyclists, San Francisco cops and prosecutors are biased and totally suck.
Deaths caused by use of an automobile has reached to the level of normality in the public psyche, and the dislike of cyclists, tends to jade the thinking by many in the judicial system to what is actual fact or perceived.
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Old 05-13-14, 11:37 PM   #5
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"Amelie Le Moullac was pedaling eastbound on Folsom Street just before Sixth Street on the morning of Aug. 14, 2013 when the right-turning truck driven by Gilberto Alcantar struck her. Police faulted Le Moullac for her death until a San Francisco Bike Coalition staffer discovered surveillance video of the crash at a nearby auto shop. After watching the video, investigators concluded Alcantar was to blame for making an unsafe turn into the bike lane, killing the young public relations professional. Despite that key piece of evidence, prosecutors ultimately felt it wasn’t enough to convince a jury."

Read the full article:
No Charges for Driver in Death of Bicyclist Amelie Le Moullac | KQED News Fix
Typical!!! The SF County DA's Office is afraid of losing an unpopular case, even though the evidence is there.
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Old 05-14-14, 07:20 AM   #6
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chris

How could he lose. Apparently the video shows it all. How could any jury not convict???
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Old 05-14-14, 07:27 AM   #7
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How could any jury not convict???
Chances are that the jury would end up being made up of people who drive a motor vehicle on a regular basis, haven't rode a bicycle since childhood, or if more recently, at a park/MUP/campground, and with subliminal biases to match.
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Old 05-14-14, 08:00 AM   #8
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This makes my blood boil... I'm even irritated enough that I stupidly have been engaging with commenters, I'm grateful not to live in SF itself.. the SFPD and the DA both do a lot of things that bother me.. not to mention the administration over there. But we have video proof.. of the driver doing the moving violation and killing the cyclist.. there's no question about that, so HOW THE **** IS THERE NO WAY TO PROVE IT? It's proven dammit.. in my mind anyhow, and I suspect even an autocentric jury would see that and have to come to the same damn conclusion.. unlike some of these commenters who I suspect would be thrown out at jury selection. So much hate.
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Old 05-14-14, 09:03 AM   #9
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I'm surprised that the prosecutors felt they didn't have enough to convince a jury. All you need to do in CA is prove negligence resulting in a death. Making a right turn without checking the bike lane first sure sounds like negligence to me.

They should at least cite the driver for the improper turn.
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Old 05-14-14, 09:56 AM   #10
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I'm surprised that the prosecutors felt they didn't have enough to convince a jury. All you need to do in CA is prove negligence resulting in a death. Making a right turn without checking the bike lane first sure sounds like negligence to me.

They should at least cite the driver for the improper turn.
I think the issue is the video only shows the driver is at fault, it doesn't show anything to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the driver was negligent by the definition needed to criminally prosecute. The law isn't about right and wrong, its about the law, it can be very frustrating.

The victims family will get their due justice in civil court, that's for sure.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:07 AM   #11
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land of the free!
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Old 05-14-14, 11:55 AM   #12
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wtf?!?!?!
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Old 05-14-14, 12:18 PM   #13
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wtf?!?!?!
"The car is always wrong, by law."

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Old 05-14-14, 01:05 PM   #14
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Lobby your state legislators to change the law.
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Old 05-14-14, 01:10 PM   #15
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chris

How could he lose. Apparently the video shows it all. How could any jury not convict???
Because of the hostility towards' cyclists'. Finding a jury pool in SF County(that includes Silicon Valley), that is not hostile to cyclists' being on the road, is next to impossible. Even when all the evidence is in the cyclist's favor.
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Old 05-14-14, 01:35 PM   #16
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The "strict liability" thing they do in Europe doesn't quite reach the level of "the car is always wrong, by law" -- but if you want to summarize it in one short sentence, I guess that's not too far off.

It goes too far, in my opinion, and would never become the law here without a massive change in attitudes.

However, in this case, with US law ... I can see why they wouldn't want to go for negligent homicide or manslaughter or something like that, as convincing a jury that it was legally negligent might indeed be difficult.

But I don't understand why they can't at least charge the guy with reckless driving (usually more severe than a standard moving violation, but not a felony) or at least "failure to yield" or another standard moving violation along those lines. You certainly don't need to prove negligence or intent in a standard moving violation -- you just need to show that the guy did something he shouldn't have -- and the video evidence should show that nicely if it does get contested in court.

That the guy gets a ticket isn't much consolation ... but 1) there's no doubt whatsoever that the evidence supports it, and 2) it's still better than nothing. And yet, he gets nothing.
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Old 05-14-14, 02:30 PM   #17
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Lobby your state legislators to change the law.
How so?

Are you actually suggesting the law be changed to allow guilty until proven innocent prosecution?
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Old 05-14-14, 02:48 PM   #18
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How so?

Are you actually suggesting the law be changed to allow guilty until proven innocent prosecution?
To be fair, that's only one way of achieving that goal -- there are others.

For example, in the US minor traffic violations are generally handled from a "strict liability" standpoint -- the state doesn't have to prove that you intentionally or negiglently exceeded the speed limit -- all it has to do is show that you exceeded it and if they do, you're guilty. No need to muck with "innocent until proven guilty", just change what's required to be guilty of the crime.

It doesn't work so well for more serious violations, but even so, we sometimes still do it. For example ... child pornography. If you're accused of possessing it, the prosecutor generally doesn't have to show that you intentionally owned it, or even that you negligently obtained it -- all he has to do is show that it was in your posession. You don't even have to know that it was there.

So if somebody emails you some, and it goes into your spam folder and you never even see it ... you're guilty. Even if you do see it, and you delete it -- it can probably still be recovered from your computer, and so you're still guilty.

In any event, most people don't sympathise with child pornographers, so most don't have a problem with this law, and don't think that it could ever be used against them (though the reality is ... it could.) But most people do drive a car, and could see how a "simple mistake" could lead to them being hit with serious criminal charges ... so they won't be supporting such laws without a massive change in attitude.
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Old 05-14-14, 04:14 PM   #19
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This makes my blood boil... I'm even irritated enough that I stupidly have been engaging with commenters, I'm grateful not to live in SF itself.. the SFPD and the DA both do a lot of things that bother me.. not to mention the administration over there. But we have video proof.. of the driver doing the moving violation and killing the cyclist.. there's no question about that, so HOW THE **** IS THERE NO WAY TO PROVE IT? It's proven dammit.. in my mind anyhow, and I suspect even an autocentric jury would see that and have to come to the same damn conclusion.. unlike some of these commenters who I suspect would be thrown out at jury selection. So much hate.
There is much discussion on these pages that the video proves that the right-turning truck driver ought to be held guilty of killing the cyclist. Yet none of these discussants (and no other outside observer) claims to have seen the video. The district attorney has concluded, in part from the evidence of the video, that the video does not prove the guilt of the truck driver. He has seen it; none of these discussants have.

Furthermore, there's considerable discussion that this case is an example of the inferior status accorded to cyclists. I think that, on the basis of the evidence, this is a most reasonable conclusion. It is most likely that the cyclist bought into this cyclist-inferiority superstition, which is widespread throughout the population, and, because of this belief, rode into the side of the right-turning truck. That fits the evidence better than any other conclusion suggested in this discussion.
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Old 05-14-14, 05:00 PM   #20
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The district attorney has concluded, in part from the evidence of the video, that the video does not prove the guilt of the truck driver. He has seen it; none of these discussants have.
That's not quite what the article says.

It says --

Quote:
After watching the video, investigators concluded Alcantar was to blame for making an unsafe turn into the bike lane, killing the young public relations professional. Despite that key piece of evidence, prosecutors ultimately felt it wasn’t enough to convince a jury.
Now, perhaps your statement is based on something else (another article? talking to the prosecutor? I do not know. So, is it based on something else?), and perhaps the "investigators" and "the prosecutor" are of different minds in this, but what seems quite likely to me based on this is that 1) the investigators, prosecutor and DA (and I do realize that the last two are often same person) all feel that Alcantar made an unsafe (and presumably illegal, based on the quoted law) turn and that this lead to the death of the cyclist, so on that level the Alcantar is guilty of "killing the cyclist". However, there is not a "killing of a cyclist" crime on the books that I'm aware of, and he may not think that he can convince a jury that this was manslaughter or something along those lines that is on the books, as juries don't like to convict people of manslaughter for traffic collisions unless there's an aggrivating factor of some sort -- being drunk, drag racing, etc.

And I imagine that simply charging the driver with a violation of "V C Section 22107 Turning Movements and Required Signals" is not worth his time or is otherwise not something that they want to do, even if it sounds like the evidence strongly supports such a charge.

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Old 05-14-14, 05:53 PM   #21
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As if the original article isn't bad enough,the officer decided to throw salt in the wound:
At Safe Streets Rally, SFPD Blocks Bike Lane to Make Point of Victim-Blaming | Streetsblog San Francisco

Somebody needs to sit behind a desk for awhile.
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Old 05-14-14, 09:13 PM   #22
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As if the original article isn't bad enough,the officer decided to throw salt in the wound:
At Safe Streets Rally, SFPD Blocks Bike Lane to Make Point of Victim-Blaming | Streetsblog San Francisco

Somebody needs to sit behind a desk for awhile.
Not trying to excuse or justify it.

I've been out of the Coast Guard 26 years, yet I still have a dislike for personal watercraft. After picking up the pieces a few times...... your perspective changes.
I dont really know how to articulate the feeling, it isn't hate or contempt, its almost a helpless feeling that makes you just want to shake people by the shoulder and tell them to think about what their doing.

If you don't appreciate or understand what I'm saying, be thankful.
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Old 05-14-14, 10:28 PM   #23
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While I can partially understand SFPD Sgt. Ernst's motive about saying that a cyclist can use the full travel lane. At the same time, it goes against the existence of the bike lane, in that he was blocking it with his police cruiser. So, He didn't have a very good argument for his position.
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Old 05-15-14, 07:10 AM   #24
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Even with a jury of drivers, it seems to me it would be very hard to overlook the fact that someone is dead because of this driver.

I hope in civil court the family ends up owning the trucking company and the driver is sued for almost everything he has.

Again I say the City Atty should be recalled and thrown out of office since he wont give the family justice.
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Old 05-15-14, 05:09 PM   #25
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If you don't appreciate or understand what I'm saying, be thankful.
I get what you're saying,but would you have used the wake of your ship to scare someone on a PWC to show them how easy it is to get hurt on one? The cop was illegally parking in a bike lane,and creating a traffic hazard(not to mention screwing up traffic for the cars being slowed by all the cyclists pulling into the lane) just to make a point. Watch the video and note how busy that spot was.
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