[*BCM*] Boston PD… no friend of a cyclist

Jon Ramos jontramos at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 27 10:28:39 EDT 2006

Please gather around in a circle and listen to my tale.  
  But before I start I will preface this true story with these few statements:  
  - I am a bicycle commuter, not a messenger, but I carry a messenger bag with my work clothes every day.  My sympathy to all you bicycle messengers for having to put up with the Boston police department.
  - I sometimes say more than I should, I realize this but I believe my point is still valid.  I will recount my story truthfully, I will not hold back all of the stupid things that I did say just to make me look like a victim.  So in other words don’t read this if you don’t want to read curse words.
  Today, like any other day, I am following my normal bike route which dumps me into Purchase Street in downtown Boston near south station.  As many of you surely know that area is under construction, and loaded with both pedestrian & vehicular traffic.  The roads are full of gravel and potholes on the right side, but nonetheless I endure and ride as close to the construction cones as feasible plowing through the gravel (street sweeping in Boston is another discussion).  I don’t mind the gravel because today I am riding my new mountain bike as opposed to my normal commuter bike – besides the point.  As I approach the intersection that will let me cross Congress Street I pass (on the right) several cars that are waiting in traffic.  The light turns green and I prepare to pedal through, when a disgruntled guy in blue Chevy pickup decides that I have no right to be on the street, let alone passing him
 So naturally he yells something at me that I couldn’t quite make out, and
 when I look over he glares at me with his window down.  So I glare back, and continue to pedal through.  So the guy peels out in his truck spewing up gravel into my face (which didn’t really hurt physically) but it was clearly intentional.  He also jerked his truck to the right faking like he was going to side swipe me into the curb.  Fortunately I was on my mtb and I could get onto the other side of the cones onto the unfinished brick sidewalk.  But I wasn’t about to let that shit slide.  I yelled profanities at him essentially calling him a redneck asshole, but I still didn’t want to make a big scene because I know that there is a cop that directs traffic up ahead, and I could just have the police officer talk to this guy so that I would not have to be as involved.  After all the police are public servants, and are here to protect people like me.  So this is a good time to mention that today I was wearing my helmet, reflector, and actually obeying all the rules of the
 road.  I will be honest and admit that I don’t obey ALL the rules ALL the time; but today I was.  That said
 The pickup truck was behind me again still in traffic (yes he peeled out, just to stop again in less than 15 yards).  I pull up to the police officer to let him know about this aggressive driver in the Chevy pickup
 pause take a deep breath
 I quickly described to him about what happened
 deep breath
 and his reply was:  “You probably deserved it” followed by “You bike messengers get what you deserve”  “You’re lucky he didn’t run you over”
  I was baffled by this response.  It caught me off guard and I was already frazzled by what happened with the truck guy.  Stunned I replied “what?!?!”  “How can you assume that I ‘deserved’ that!  This guy nearly runs me down and that’s all you have to say!” Then I said (this is where I get his attention) “Hell of a public servant, you fuckin’ pig!”  THAT WORKED
 sort of
 He grabs my bag and shit and pushed me up against a street pole and says that he is going to arrest me.  I ask “what the fuck for, calling you a ‘bad’ name?”  “you gonna arrest me for speaking my mind!”  He replies “for disorderly conduct”  so I say “give me you name and badge number, so that I can get it right in MY report of your behavior” He refused to give it to me.
  At this point the guy in the pickup truck sees that I am “talking” to a cop.  He gets out of his car & walks up to us.  (I assume he thinks he might be in trouble for his driving) He immediately tells the cop that I was mouthing off to him back at Congress St. (he failed to mention the part where he tries to run me down) 
  The cop says “You are on MY STREETS, you have to follow MY RULES” so I reply “How did I break ‘your rules’ officer?!”  “I came to you with a complaint and you made assumptions about who I am.  I’m not a messenger, I am a COMMUTER, I ride past you every god damn day!”  then I shout in his face, “Even if I was a messenger, you still need to serve the public and listen to my complaint about this guy.  HE TRIED TO HIT ME!, so you’re saying that in ‘your rules’ its OK to hit messengers!?”  I sense that this stubborn prick isn’t going to hear me, so I try to walk away.  He then grabs my arm and pushes me up against the pole again and says that if I try to walk away again he’ll knock my teeth in.  Then he said “maybe I should let this guy (pickup truck guy) do it for him”  So I say, “Go ahead
 I’m not resisting arrest!  Go ahead hit me; it’ll be like a white Rodney King!  I’ll be on the news, and you’ll be fired!” then I say, “Which will be a good thing ‘cause you obviously hate
 your job, and you don’t care about the public
 hell I’ll be doing a public service!”  He says, “You think you could do my job? I’m out here every day doing this
”  he goes on to moan about how difficult his job is and that if I think I could do it better that I should go fill out the papers to become a cop.  But before he could finish his saga, I interrupt him telling him that it was HIS choice to be a cop, and that if he doesn’t like it he should fuckin quit.  (He didn’t like that).
  A little more arguing occurred, but then it settled down a bit and eventually I told him that I am leaving unless he still wants to arrest me.  I am sure that he had no real intention of arresting me, because if he did he would have done it by now.  I walk away, collect my bike and head further into town.  Still heated, I decide that I really want his name and badge number so that I can file a complaint.  I just couldn’t let go how boldly he assumed that it was the cyclist’s fault and not the motorists fault whatsoever.  I felt that I needed to make clear to him that we all use the roads, and it is his fuckin job to help keep them safe.
  This time I calmly approach him and ask again for his name & badge number.  He tells me to get lost.  So I reply that he has to, (I was pretty sure that he has to) and that if he didn’t that I am sure I could call and find out.  He tells me that it is pointless to file a report because they won’t believe me over him.  (yes we have a good public service system
 sarcasm)  I say, that I don’t care and that I want it anyway.  He eventually gives it to me, and then he tells me to relax and that he did ME a favor by not arresting me.  He obviously didn’t want me to file a report.  So I take this as an opportunity to tell him (more calmly this time) the error of his ways.  Basically I told him that we cyclists need to be able to come to an officer just like anyone else if there is trouble.  I told him that I came to him because the guy in the truck was dangerous and that I needed authority to intervene.  All I got was a slap in the face from the public figure that I was told I
 should trust.  Now who am I supposed to go to next time
 I tell you this, not a fucking cop!  I was more physically threatened by the cop than the guy in the truck.  
  My question is who is looking out for us?  If not the police then who?  This cop even said that I’m not “really” supposed to be riding on Purchase St., which is total horseshit because it plainly says which roads (Pike, 93, 95, Rt2, Storrow) cyclists aren’t allowed on.  I find it ironic that a policeman who doesn’t know the rules of the road is directing traffic.  
  Sorry for chewing everyone’s ear off with this story
  I realize that not all cops are like this one... but beware of Officer Gonzalez who directs traffic near south station on Purchase St where Summer St intersects (in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts)
  - Jon

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