Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bicyclist Courthouse Protest Fails to Advance Charges Against Cop in Napster Rider's Death

The Los Angeles Courthouse was the destination of bicyclists last Wednesday, calling for the LA County District Attorney to file criminal charges against a police deputy who struck and killed a former Napster executive. As a rider, and as an attorney, I can definitely tell you that I have seen an uptick in close calls and over all accidents not just with cops and riders, but with ordinary passenger cars and cyclists. This just seems to be the new trend.

Honestly, I have personally seen cops talking on cell phones more and more. Of course, they have a carve out in the law that let's them be distracted, apparently because they are some sort of super citizen that was never authorized under the Constitution. Of course officers need to operate equipment and such, as they perform their duties, but the police unions have done much over the years to hold officers to a standard of "master," when in reality, municipal police are supposed to be the "servant."

In a more recent case of distracted driving, the crash involved an Ex-Napster executive Milton Olin Jr. in December, who was riding his bicycle in Calabasas when he was struck and killed by a police deputy. The deadly collision occurred on December 8, 2013 at approximately 1:00 p.m. while Olin was traveling eastbound.

Olin was struck while he was riding in the bike lane, when Deputy Andrew Francis Wood was distracted from driving due to typing on his patrol car computer according to authorities.
Last week prosecutors stated they would not be filing criminal charges against the deputy.


Friend Cristin Zeisler said that the district attorney wrote a memo stating the deputy was not culpable. The district attorney’s office and sheriff’s office declined making any comments in the case.
The bicycle riders met where Olin was struck and killed on Mulholland Highway. They road to the Los Angeles Zoo and then to the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles where later a candlelight vigil was held.

Can you imagine an ordinary citizen getting away with that? NEVER happen right? According to prosecutors, deputy Wood was acting lawfully and within his duties when typing a response on the vehicle’s computer. Are you kidding me? Nice carve out for one of your own Mr. District Attorney. As I was suggesting above, they stated there is no evidence the deputy was using a personal cell phone or was engaged in any other personal activity at the time of the collision. You see, police get a carve out to use their personal phones for "official business." Although that is not what happened here, apparently there is a new rule that LEO can run over bikers in the bike lane, and are not "culpable" in driving like morons, if they are engaged in their official duties.  You following me so far?

Olin’s family filed a lawsuit against the county for wrongful death July 16th and are represented by attorney Bruce Broillet, who has not commented on the case. In July when the lawsuit was filed Broillet said the deputy acted negligently. Eric Bruins planning and policy director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and one of the organizers of the event stated if law enforcement officials can be distracted without consequences what to this mean for everyone else.

Milton Olin stated that he and his family intend to seek justice. He said the accident should have never occurred.  In a statement made by the family during the vigil, Olin was a chief operating officer for Napster and was 65 years-old. The statement went on to state his loved ones were moved by both the cyclists and the community. So in the case at bar, the survivors can sue for money damages, which I am sure money was not something the family really needed, considering their breadwinner was well off. So the DA probably figures the family has its remedy, and cops now think they have a green light to run people over, so long as they can allege it happened while they was distracted from an "official duty."

This is why precisely consumers need to elect politicians that put people over police unions. In fact, many pro consumer groups are now arguing that people need to make sure that no public servant is above the law, by preventing public employee unions from lobbying. What is your take? Sound off.

Citations:

"Distracted Driving: Law Enforcement’s Achilles’ Heel" - Ashton: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22964071/why-cops-are-exempt-from-hands-free-cellphone



"Why Cops Are Exempt": http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22964071/why-cops-are-exempt-from-hands-free-cellphone

No comments: