SUCH A SHAME

On July 27th 2012, my friend and I walked from my apartment in to the San Diego Gaslamp District. After dinner at a restaurant, and as we were leaving, we saw that Critical Mass was going by. For those of you unfamiliar, Wikipedia describes Critical Mass as a “monthly protest by cyclists reclaiming the streets.” Critical Mass hasn’t exactly been a ‘positive image’ to bicycling either…

Now, let me paint you a picture :

I stepped out in to the street, in between two parked cars, and stuck my hand out to high five riders passing by. There was heavy traffic that night in Downtown San Diego so every rider was going very slow. Many riders were actually high fiving me back and ‘WOOO!’ing me as they rolled past. If I could lightly give them a pat on the back as they passed with my right hand I would.

There was a Police Officer on a bicycle approaching. He was a Police Officer assigned to ride along with Critical Mass. As he was passing me, I lowered my high five hand and kind of attempted to semi- give him a pat on the back. I didn’t even come clooose to making contact with my hand cause I’m obviously not going to physically hit a Police Officer on the back.

Then, I believe, this officer decided to make an example out of me…

My back was turned to him. I didn’t even turn around when he passed. I was expecting to continue high fiving Critical Mass riders. But this Police Officer ditched his bike, jumped me from behind, threw me in a choke hold, slammed my head on the ground, dug his knee so incredibly hard into my back and placed me under arrest.

I was charged with “Assaulting an Officer”.

One witness, Jeremy, said that, “When it happened, I had been in San Diego for maybe a few hours (this was my family’s first trip here). Honestly, my wife and I didn’t stop talking about it that night. It really bothered us because it was so excessive. Regardless of whether or not Charlie did do something, the cop tackled him when his back was turned. All the cop had to do was tap him on the shoulder. Instead, his feet left the ground and he wrapped his arms around Charlie’s neck to take him down. That’s not a cop’s duty or right, no matter the circumstances”.

I never fought back. I never resisted. I shut up and did exactly what this ‘Officer of The Law’ instructed. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I’m more mellow than most, live my life as peacefully as possible, and would never EVER try to cause harm on ANYONE – let alone a Police Officer!

I spent that night in jail, lawyered up, and the charges were eventually dropped about a month later.

*

This is my opinion of the entire situation : there is a ton of controversy surrounding Critical Mass. You may have even seen it on the evening news. The Critical Mass rides are portrayed as dangerous, offensive, and malicious. I believe hat this officer was on edge and was looking for anything / anyONE to snap at.

Physically I received a bloody nose, broken glasses, and a night in jail. Emotionally I now receive major anxiety around Police Officers.

This night was a huge inspiration for how I forever handled The Awarewolfs. I couldn’t stand that Critical Mass was “THE” image of ‘urban community bicycling’. So from that day forward, “We are a pack. Not a mass.”

32 thoughts on “SUCH A SHAME

  1. I want to express some thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of this particular scenario. Right after browsing throughout the world-wide-web and coming across opinions which are not pleasant, I assumed my entire life was gone. Living without the approaches to the problems you’ve sorted out by way of your entire report is a serious case, as well as the kind that would have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered the blog. Your capability and kindness in touching a lot of things was valuable. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a solution like this. I can also at this time relish my future. Thanks very much for the skilled and sensible guide. I will not hesitate to recommend your web blog to anybody who should receive support about this issue.

    • Thank you soooo much!

      Getting arrested like that was one of the worst times in my life. The only way I knew how to see if I was in the wrong or not was to make it public and be prepared to take a verbal beating. I got a ton of backlash from people thinking I’m an idiot (which I kind of was) but more, I got SO MUCH support. I weighed out all the responses I got over about a week and realized, I wasn’t a total idiot. Maybe just a little one. I definitely didn’t ASSAULT anyone and I absolutely was an EXAMPLE that night.

      I don’t know you’re situation, but police brutality, no, police OVER REACTION is something that will never go away unless we speak up about it. If you really feel like you were unjustly arrested or whatever, GET A LAWYER. It really sucks they are so expensive but legal stuff is an area that they obviously specialize in and can pull some strings that you never could even before your case. They should be more than someone who shows up with you to your court case ya know? I would recommend in a situation like this, don’t try to be the hero. I used TURNER LAW GROUP, and they are the most down to earth lawyers I have ever met! Tooootally recommend them and feel so blessed to have crossed paths with them through this ordeal.

      That all happened in July / August and I’m sooo happy to report that all my charges were dropped BEFORE the court case!

      Made my day to see such a thankful comment on the site. Thanks so much for the kind words about the entire situation and the site!

  2. Look there are always two sides to every story. First we have all read the one version, however has anyone of you talked with the police officer? I am not siding with anyone here. I don’t know anyone involved and am not a cop! I can tell you this, that any cop would have taken physical action to restrain any person(s) that touch them. While Charlie may have thought what he did was unobjectionable and harmless and his intent very well may have been such, however in the minds of those in the military and police something so innocent could do great harm. It needs to be said that those in the police and military put their lives on the line everyday and have to constantly think in “what if” terms. As soon as they let their guards down for even one second it could end their lives. I have been witness to great damage/harm to others from seemingly harmless actions such as this one. I am truly sorry that Charlie had to go through this incident, but maybe in the future everyone involved will think about the consequences of their actions.

  3. I’ve seen these bike cops at anti-war rallies and marches. They will throw a shoulder into a passing hippie every chance they get. Especially that big one with the grey hair, he is a total rage-aholic. Don’t tell me it never happens because I’VE SEEN IT. Ghandi is an obvious troll if your account is true, There wouldn’t have been any assault by you that he claimed to see. A pat on the back is a pat on the back, can be taken many ways, but did he or did he not go for the high five when you had your hand out? If he accepted one gesture and flipped out about the other one then he is a huge bitch, period. He shoulda saw it coming and denied you the high five, That woulda made it clear he wanted no contact. This is a case of what is socially acceptable vs. assault as well, and if he took the high five he has some splaining to do.

    • Hey rob,
      he did not take the high five and obviously wasnt down with the pat on the back. hand was out for a high five but since he didnt high five, i gave him a pat on the back. just like i did to the other 10 or so people in front of him that didnt put their hand out. all it was was a PAT. a ‘keep going officer, thanks for guiding this chaotic bike ride’ pat. obviously TOTALLY backfired on me. lesson learned.

  4. I’m so sorry about this Charlie. It’s overwhelming knowing how much power they have over our word, regardless of who or what is wrong or right. I know you would never do what they’re accusing you of. I am sending as many prayers and positive vibes as I can.

  5. I would just hope that at least two eyewitnesses–but hopefully everybody who saw the incident–could be moved to inconvenience themselves enough to come to court twice. The first time to defend the action of Charlie (assuming that what he said is true, and I have no reason to believe it is not). And the second time to testify on the lawsuit that Charlie should file against the officer for the charge of assault and battery.

    It is inconceivable in the United States, under any law, that the incident as described is justified by the law. The law allows an officer to use reasonable force to apprehend a person committing a crime (such as theft or assault). There is such a thing as excessive force, and despite what people may choose to claim/believe, merely touching a person in a non-threatening way does not constitute assault/battery.

    To explain–if a situation is tense or menacing, then ANY physical contact lays the foundation for self defense. In fact, before a person physically touches another person, the real threat of physical violence is enough to warrant physical self defense (although obviously this case of “preemptive strike” is more difficult to justify without credible eyewitnesses or video evidence).

    In summary, just because a person is a police officer, and just because you touched him does not under any reasonable understanding of the law justify the above description of his actions.

    However, we live in an era of distorted concepts of what constitutes a “basic right” and what constitutes “reasonable action.” We live in an era where fear of the future is so great that people spend their present in a constant struggle to accumulate wealth and status. We live in an era where NOBODY is considered an equal–rather, there are those who are in the “inner circle” where the regular rules don’t apply, and those who are not. This applies to corporations, but especially to government.

    Finally, regarding government, I know a lot of people think Obama is the good guy, and that Romney is the bad guy. The fact is, they are BOTH the bad guy, because they are politicians. They will help their friends/backers above everybody else, even though they are sworn to represent all Americans equally, and they will do so at the expense of everybody else. They will use their status to push for their own agenda, regardless of what the Constitution stands for, under reasonable interpretations. The society that Obama is looking to create, based on Socialism, sounds great. But the reality will be a bloated government, taxation that will make your head spin, and a bureaucracy that only those with “inner circle” connections at various governmental posts will be able to navigate in a fair and reasonable way.

    In order to avoid this, I implore eye witnesses to make a sacrifice and come to the defense, in court, of Charlie. Please, it is imperative that the masses stand up in a court of law and demand justice. If people do not come forward, then Charlie will have gotten justice, according to the silent court of those who stand idly by, go about their lives, and lament in their hearts.

    If you believe in a civilized society, don’t take to the streets. Go to court and make justice happen!

    M@

  6. Pingback: A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE RIDE.. « THEAWAREWOLFS

  7. I will be praying for you. My husband, 5 year old and I had a some what same occurrence but it was with the Canadian police. I know how terrifying it is. Stay strong God is with you.

  8. Seriously? I swear to fucking god, for people that portray such tough guys and what not, they’re a bunch of cry babies. It’s illegal and wrongful to give a pat on the back to a cop, yet it’s okay to slam someones face into the ground and charge them with assault when they didn’t even inflict any pain on a cop? Unless you patted him a bit too hard, he shouldn’t have any bruises or anything to justify his accusations of you assaulting him.
    I understand they can be stressed out and on their toes because they have to be, but seriously, that’s a load of bull shit. He just wanted an excuse to hurt someone and say he got to arrest someone because they assaulted him so he could feel cool about himself

  9. I saw the cop put the cuffs on you but thats all I was able to see bystanders told me you were tackled from behind and were not running just standing there. and that you were arrested for high fiving a cop. Unnecessary in all aspects in my opinion the officer was belligerent and over compensating for something lacking somewhere.
    The police need to learn that there are situations that physical assault on a person by them is not needed. they can very easily get way out of hand very quickly. as far as what I saw I will give you a written letter that is notarized for you.

  10. First of all, it seems as if two people in this comment thread are on the same side. I’m not sure if or how information would’ve/could’ve gotten out, but if any officer from SDPD that is related to this matter has found out about this page and post, then it’s almost certain that he’s going to say something to one of his buddies who (acting out of the gang mentality that comes with any type of organized military or law enforcement) is going to post in support of said service member.
    Now, if this is the case and explains so-called “Ghandi’s” post, then it has been made extremely obvious that said officer is a rookie who thinks he has everything to prove. The reason that I say this is because of the insulting comments and derogatory manner in which his comment was posted, and any reasonably experienced officer would tell you that in a case like this, it is best to refrain from any and all contact with the accused and let lawyers handle any contact that needs to be made until the appointed court date.
    In order to sum this up, if this is in fact an officer that is somehow related to this case in even the most minor of ways, then this could be construed as harassment in a public forum.

    Charlie, save all of this information and relay it to a lawyer. Refrain from replying to any post on here from here on out.

    Also, I will be contacting you with lawyer information by the end of today.

  11. You are a douche and you got what you had coming to you. Do not touch a Police Officer ever. I was there and I saw what happened, what you did was milicous and interntional. You probably should have ended up in the hospital for what you did so I think the officer acted very reasonably. I hate police too but you deserved what you got.

    -Ghandi

      • You guys are completely entitled to your opinion. But I know that what I did was not malicious or intentional and I’m the only one who can deem it such. I would never harm a cop EVER. If you guys really did see what happened, I’d like to talk to you. Can you please email me at alphamail@theawarewolfs.com?

    • Ghandi, I just tried emailing you but the email address you put down to post this comment doesn’t work.

    • Also Ghandi, It looks like your I.P. address is coming from San Diego Data Processing Corp. and if you look at the customers of this service, the SAN DIEGO POLICE (http://www.sddpc.org/viewRecord.do?section=services&module=customer&id=30) use this company. I realize that there are ALOT of companies that use this service too and I’m in no way saying that you are associated with the police.. I’m just saying that I’m doing my homework and taking my charge very seriously because I know I’m innocent. I’d appreciate it that if you would like to post a comment about this, at least use your real email address and there is no need to call me a douche. I never called you anything.

      • I saw what happened from a distance. I just saw you hit the cop. Looked like what what the cop did after you hit him was justified. Never touch a cop. I was arrested for the almost the same thing. Im homeless so it was fine I got a place to stay. I wrote my first reply from the public library downtown now I got my cricket smart phone. Sorry for calling you a douche, it was kinda unnecessary. Good luck with your case.
        .
        -GhandI

    • Reasonably you call tackled from behind reasonable. the sheer brutality of the officers assault was from what I understand unwarranted and well beyond reasonable. What I personally saw was an officer that was out of control and borderline losing it. This is no way for a professional to act no matter what the circumstances a professional law enforcement officer would take a moment to review the situation and if what I have been told by several people and what I personally know of Charlie he was patting people on the back and high fiving every rider that passed by. so the officer acted on gut instinct rather than observing the situation and flew off the handle. we need to put a stop to this us versus them attitude the police have. I have talked to several officers who in this situation would have looked at the situation differently. The brutal attack from behind would not have happened they would have gauged the situation correctly. The whole problem is that the police that night were hoping for the situation to get out of hand and were looking for any excuse to use force.

    • where were you standing when you saw the event? street names and location on the street would be helpful.

  12. fucking pussy. some kid that got made fun of in school decided to become a cop so he could be tough behind his gun. fucking pussy man. charlie you are the shit and always will be. this cop will get his shit handed to him the next time tough guy doesnt have a gun.

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