Remember that “cops no longer being total assholes to cyclists” thing yesterday? Never mind. Or perhaps that only applies in Brooklyn, because shit’s still real in Manhattan: yesterday unfortunate Upper West Side cyclist Christina Thede’s story—in which she told a double-parked driver who nearly doored her to be more careful only to be chased by said motorist and arrested when he turned out to be a plainclothes cop—appeared on Gothamist.
On Sunday evening around 6pm Thede, a 28-year-old theater technician was riding home along Amsterdam when, between 76th and 77th, as she swerved to go around a double-parked car, she was nearly doored when the driver opened his door. After braking so hard that the bicycle deliveryman behind her ran into her, she told the driver to be more careful, and rode on. Then the driver gave chase:
He was driving after me and I was scared. He kept slowing down alongside me, so I cut all the way over to the left lane. But he angrily skidded to a stop in front of me, pulling his car perpendicular to traffic in the left lane. Then I got off my bike and tried to walk my bike onto the sidewalk because I wasn’t going to run out into traffic. That’s when he grabbed the back of my bike and started pulling it.
He didn’t say he was a cop and I thought, ‘This guy’s crazy, he’s attacking me!’ I screamed for help and he started restraining my arms and holding me so I couldn’t move. People on the street stopped and started asking him what he was doing. I did not hear him say he was a police officer or see any indication he was a police officer, so I was terrified. Then an NYPD squad car arrived and my initial thought was that they were going to save me from this guy; I figured the bystanders had called 911.
Instead she was arrested, taken to the local station and charged with reckless operation of a bicycle and disorderly conduct. The double-parked plainclothes officer, one “Sgt. Santiago,” told her that “when I went around the door of his car to continue, that that was reckless because I was going into traffic. He maintained that I wasn’t allowed to swerve around. But I came to a complete stop, exchanged words with him, then rode around his still-opened door. He said he arrested me because he was concerned for his safety.”
All of which, sadly, is fairly consistent with other instances of cops enforcing non-existent laws for cyclists, or reacting with disproportionate violence and aggression after being called out by cyclists while not on duty. (Photo)