Of the last two cyclists we heard about who complained after their life was endangered by an NYPD officer, one was chased and arrested, and the other had a gun pulled on him, so really, 37-year-old animator Stephen Mann was pretty lucky when, after getting doored by a cop near Grand Central earlier this month, he was merely accused of being on drugs and treated without a hint of Courtesy, Professionalism or Respect.
After Mann fell against a cab and a pedestrian, he addressed the van-exiting officer and “informed him of the law that states you must check traffic for cars, pedestrians and bicycles before opening a drivers side door into traffic.” His accurate citation of traffic law didn’t go over so well with the law enforcement officer and his colleagues. Mann says:
I was instantly surrounded by about 7 cops who all started asking me questions, like was I drunk, or on drugs, or how long have I been riding bikes, and all sorts of foolishness. At the same time the driver of the van was reprimanded by another police officer and told to get back in the van and “shut up.” Prior to that he asked me why I was riding my bike in the street.
Meanwhile I was bleeding all over my leg and bike, and a random stranger came over and gave me Neosporin and some bandages, which is ten times more than any of the cops did. They filled out an accident report and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I hesitated and wasn’t sure, when another police officer came over and told me “get checked” and so I said I wanted to get checked out. But the other cops quickly ushered the helpful police officer away from their group. It was like some sort of bad crime story cover-up; they huddled around me and seemingly tried to intimidate me. I really do think they asked if I was on drugs close to 10 times.
The story ends with Mann getting an ambulance, but declining offers of a hospital visit. He was given neither the names of the officers at the accident site, nor a copy of the accident report they filed, which they told him he could get from the local precinct, except, as Mann notes, “since they were all from Brooklyn, they didn’t know what the local precinct actually was, and told me to look it up.”
If there’s anything position to be taken from this story, it’s the proof that getting a camera for your bike is a worthwhile investment. “I started taping my rides after witnessing so many things on the bike,” Mann said, “and I had heard about a dude in Canada who taped everyday and made a compilation of pedestrians stepping off curbs in front of him, and cars nearly hitting him. So I thought of doing the same.” Well done—take care of that leg.