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Woman arrested after stop sign violation, question about ID

Posted by on August 27th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

bike stop markings at broadway flint-3.jpg

Broadway and Flint.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A woman was handcuffed and placed under arrest this morning after she was stopped for running the stop sign at NE Flint and Broadway when she asked the police officer if she was required to show identification. She was subsequently issued a citation and released.

Jessica Jarratt, 37, the executive director of an arts funding nonprofit, was commuting from her Northeast Portland home to her office in the Pearl this morning around 9:00am. In a phone interview this afternoon, she described being stopped by a police officer at Flint and Broadway, along with several other people on bikes, after she had turned right onto Broadway from Flint without coming to a complete stop.

She was pulled over by Officer Felts, who immediately asked her for her driver’s license. “I said, wait, can you tell me why you’re stopping me?” The officer responded that she had run a stop sign and requested her identification again.

Jarratt said that she asked, “Do I legally have to carry it?” and that Felts simply repeated the request. Frustrated, she asked if she could call a lawyer friend to ask about her rights in the situation. “I just didn’t know,” she explained. “And the officer just didn’t engage at all.”

Officer Felts then, she reported, said “That’s it, you’re under arrest.” She says that he “took out his handcuffs and put them on my hands in such a violent way that I still have raised red marks.” He ushered her to the sidewalk and called for backup. Another officer walked over to her and she asked him to loosen the handcuffs — “I was really in pain.” He complied.

This Google Street View is looking north from Broadway at N. Flint and N Wheeler is off to the left.

Felts came back over to her and said “This is your last chance, will you give me your name?” She gave her name, age, and address. He looked her up in his computer, removed the handcuffs, and let her go free with a $242 citation for failure to obey a traffic control device.

Jarratt said that throughout the incident, “I was very calm, I didn’t cuss, I didn’t say anything I would be embarrassed to have said. I was clearly not a physical threat to this guy. He could have just explained. If he had said, ‘Yes you’re legally required to have an ID,’ I would have shown him one.”

“I want to be totally clear in my story that I did break a law, and I’m willing to pay the fine associated with that,” she said. “My beef is the way that he treated me in the process and his overall approach. I’m definitely going to pay the ticket, and I already filed a complaint, and I also want to do everything I can to send out a message that the Portland police can’t treat people this way.”

You are not required by law to produce or carry identification if you aren’t driving a motor vehicle, local bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg told us, adding that you do not need a drivers license or any other form of identification to operate a bicycle, “or to walk down the street for that matter.” But if a police officer asks for your name, you have to give it.

“I want to be totally clear in my story that I did break a law, and I’m willing to pay the fine associated with that. My beef is the way that he treated me in the process and his overall approach.”

If you do not identify yourself, or if you give a name that the officer suspects to be false, they can legally hold you in custody until they determine your identity. That’s probably what happened here, Ginsberg said. This is different from being under arrest, which would require an officer to read you your rights and allow you access to an attorney. “If they told her she was under arrest and then let her go, well that’s bad practice.”

When we spoke this afternoon, Jarratt was clearly still shaken by the incident. She said the intimidation she experienced was not called for, especially since people on bikes are not, like motor vehicle operators, required to carry an ID card, and may not have been pulled over before or know what to expect from a traffic stop. “I think the whole bureau needs to realize that — especially if they’re going to be going after pedestrians, bicyclists, people who are in a more vulnerable physical situation than in a car.”

Portland Police have held several series of enforcement actions at NE Flint and Broadway in the last year in response to safety concerns. Back in 2007, the city’s water bureau banned its own vehicles from using Wheeler, the street just to the west of Flint, because of concerns about collisions involving bicycles. New pavement markings have been installed along with other safety features.

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  • BURR August 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    PPB once again shows their love and support for cycling and cyclists in PDX.

    I guess we just couldn’t get through one summer without a good stop sign sting on cyclists.

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  • Nick August 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I find the anti-bike stop sign righteousness hilarious here on the west coast where 80% of cars do “California stops” at stop signs.

    Most stop signs should probably be yield signs anyway.

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  • GLV August 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Red light? Shouldn’t that say stop sign?

    You’re right, GLV — I fixed it. Thanks for catching that.

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  • Blair August 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I don’t see how stopping at this intersection makes cyclists any safer because we’re just staying in the dedicated bike lane on the right side of Broadway, where no autos should be. The dangerous aspect of this intersection is the next right toward the bridge (can’t remember the name of the street), that many cars and trucks take without signaling their intention to turn. Whether you stop or not, you usually have no idea if the auto/truck is going to turn right, cutting you off.

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  • Esta Nevando Aqui August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Do people still wonder why the PPB has a bad reputation? Imagine what would have happened if she was black or homeless…

    How do I know she’s not black or homeless? She’s still alive.

    This sort of thing is not an isolated incident. I’m surprised the story doesn’t link to the Portland cop who stopped the PSU cyclist without probable cause and then was forced to drop the three citations he made up on the spot because he was pissed.

    There is no accountability for the PPB. They literally promote Nazis and literally get away with murder.

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  • buglas August 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Last January during the Ainsworth flap, PPB promised to produce a training video. What’s the status of that?
    There’s a big difference between asking for a Driver’s License and asking for a name. Jessica sounds like she would have happily complied with the second but was well within her rights for challenging the first.

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  • brewcaster August 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Blair, keep in mind there are other cyclists already on that street and in that lane coming down that hill towards you. I think a stop is logical and should be obeyed by both cyclists and cars.

    Shame on the cop for continuing the image of “Cops are Dicks”.

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  • wsbob August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    “…local bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg told us, adding that you do not need a drivers license or any other form of identity to operate a bicycle…” elly blue/bike portland

    Yes, but when a person is operating a bicycle(considered to be a vehicle according to Oregon statutes..I seem to recall) on a public roadway, they’re obliged to comply with traffic control regulations for use of the road.

    If the cop needs to issue a citation for failure to comply with those regulations, how’s he going to be able to do it if the offender doesn’t produce I.D.?

    Despite that little Catch-22, it’s stupid for the cop to waste bureau time and incur further damage to the PD’s public relations image by cuffing this peaceful woman and arresting her…simply it would seem, because the officer had not adequately learned the information needed to answer the womans straightforward questions about whether she needed to present I.D. under the circumstances at hand.

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  • old&slow August 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Blair, stopping for an instant there is a good idea, the next right comes so quick and I have had and have seen a lot of near misses there. If not for the next right I would agree with you, I turn right onto bike lanes without stopping at other intersections, but this one requires caution and stopping can be a lifesaver.

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  • sockeye August 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Oh, cry me a river. You are surprised that she got cuffed? She was uncooperative with a police officer and asked questions when she should have complied with his instructions. Does anyone think that’s cool to do? Do you think that a car driver would have been treated any differently?
    I hope she learned her lessons.
    Don’t run stop signs.
    If you get pulled over, do what the cop asks you to do.

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  • bean August 27, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I have wondered about not showing a police officer my automobile driver’s license if I got pulled over on a bike. I would not want my driving record marred with some notation by an officer saying I got pulled over on a bike. It seems reasonable.
    But man, it is a sticky situation. Now the Bike Licensing Community would want to license bikes all the more.
    There are a lot of opinions on that intersection. It is very easy to roll through it. Mostly because of the very clear visibility of on-coming traffic, cars and bikes alike.

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  • Jackattak August 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I follow bikeportland.org almost daily, always weekly, since I am seriously considering becoming a “cyclist”, or at least riding a bike. 😉

    I read these stories constantly here so that I can learn as much as possible before I start biking and ultimately to see if its something I will be able to deal with.

    Stories like these keep me from wanting to take it on. PPB needs help in the worst way. I have met my fair-share of nice cops out there, and have seen my fair-share of leniency from one or two as well, but goodness gracious.

    I’d like to hope that some reprimand would come to the cop involved, but I highly doubt it.

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  • BURR August 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    sockeye – it’s been apparent for years that the PPB has a double standard when it comes to dealing with motorist traffic infractions vs. cyclist traffic infractions.

    I’ve seen the PPB pepper spray, taser, handcuff, and drag a cyclist by their hair – prior to arresting them – simply for failing to stop at a stop sign. When was the last time a motorist who committed a simple traffic violation like running a stop sign was dragged from their car and treated like that?

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  • Jason August 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    So, it’s illegal to ask police officers questions? Asking a question is considered being uncooperative? Please provide the link to or cite this Oregon law. Kthnx.

    On another note, maybe the PPB could spend some time catching drivers who kill a cyclist then flee the scene.

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  • Peter Noone August 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm


    “If you get pulled over, do what the cop asks you to do.”

    Apparently you don’t understand how dangerous this mentality is, and I won’t try to explain, but I assume you know that cops have been known on occasion to violate citizens’ rights? How can we maintain and exercise our freedom if we’re never allowed to question authority?

    You say she was uncooperative. She says she was trying to clarify her rights and responsibilities. What’s wrong with that?

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  • Jerry August 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Let’s see, run a stop sign on your bike?
    $242 ticket.
    Make an illegal turn in your car that sends a bike rider (in the bike lane) to the ER? Do the math… Assault with a deadly weapon, Failure to yield, illegal turn, total fine…

    PoPo, where are your priorities?
    Protect and serve me too, please!

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  • jollydodger August 27, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I use an oregon state i.d./no drivers. I too have seen heavy handedness at things bike related, IE; critical mass, zoobomb. The whole identify yourself at once! – does sound a tad fascist…hopefully the barcode tattoos we all get on our foreheads in 2012 will be clearly visible under our collective helmet brims for easier scanning.

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  • TTse
    TTse August 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    You know, after the report of the fatal hit and run on 122nd, I ALMOST posted a snarky comment along the lines of “Quick, quick, the PPB needs to set up a stop sign sting and catch bikes rolling through stop signs somewhere completely unassociated with any collisions whatsoever.”

    Given the tragic nature though, I decided that that would be in bad taste and I decided not to. Alas, I would now be credited as a fortune teller.

    I won’t say anything about the whole stop sign/PPB traffic priorities thing. It’s all been said before and it’s a waste of time.

    But I will say that yet again, cops prove that many of them are more interested in domination and forcing compliance, even when citizens are well within their rights to ask questions.

    Things are looking up though. As video cameras become more and more ubiquitous, the cop-as-thug culture is being exposed for what it is. Tackling people for no reason and then filing a false report, planting marijuana; these are but a few examples that have been recorded and exposed recently.

    Video cameras. They’re getting smaller and smaller. I’ve got my eye on one.

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  • Black Dude on Bicycle August 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    So, essentially, the harsh treatment that police officers have subjected minorities to over the last century has started to spill over to the majority?

    Now that white people feel threatened by the police maybe things will change…

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  • BURR August 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    traffic fines should be scaled to the relative risks of injuring others by your actions; in other words, cyclists should not be fined the same $242 that motorists are for a violation like this.

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  • jeneraldisarray August 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    “I want to be totally clear in my story that I did break a law, and I’m willing to pay the fine associated with that,” states Jarratt, but how is the police officer supposed to document the crime if she won’t identify herself to him?

    It’s a stretch to identify this bit of news as “bike-related.” Ms Jarratt instigated what became, for her, an unpleasant and undignified interaction with a police officer. Had she not obstructed the issue at hand, that she knowingly disobeyed a stop sign and was being cited for the offense, she could have been on her way in the time it takes to say, “bike-specific discrimination.”

    If the cycling community is to extract meaningful knowledge from this incident, perhaps it will be that police officers really do issue citations for disobeying stop signs, regardless of what kind of vehicle is being operated. Whatever your attitude toward stop signs/red lights/nanny states/being bossed might be, there are traffic laws/rules/signage so that our interactions with pedestrians and other vehicle operators can be safe and efficient, not to cramp our style or create busy work for police officers.

    Just stop. Then go.

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  • Mike B August 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    If you had your ID, why not just produce it? I imagine you felt like you were above being stopped even though you ran a stop sign? I’m not siding with the police on this one for your reference. It does have all the signs of the “holier than though” attitude us cyclist can have at times. I also think it’s easy for a police officer to slap cuffs on a cyclist because they don’t have any vehicle or anything like that to remove a person from. If this was a car, I have no doubt the person would have just been issued a warning and sent on there way. Because we ride bikes, does not mean we have to be a-holes as humans. That’s like my opinion, man.

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  • RonC August 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Since Oregon’s version of the Idaho stop law went up in smoke, I’ve made it a habit (when driving a car) to come to a complete head-jerks-back stop at all stop signs. It’s amazing the animosity I get from other car drivers perturbed with my complete adherence to the letter-of-the-law.

    While there may be a few notable exceptions, car drivers simply do not come to a complete stop at stop signs (unless there is cross-traffic). I think most car drivers understand the law, and feel that they are complying with the intent and spirit if not the full letter-of-the-law. I also think the same is true for most bike riders. But if people aren’t even looking for cross traffic or slowing for the intersection, they probably deserve to be ticketed.

    I’m sorry for Ms Jarratt’s unfortunate experience. I bet the officer was expecting ‘attitude’ from previous encounters, and she got the bum end of the deal. Not and excuse for the officer, but just guessing how it all came to this. PPB, it’s time for more training.

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  • naess August 27, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    yet again i have to ask, how is this a sting? did they cover the stop sign in some way, or have undercover cops riding their bikes through the stop sign to trick people into thinking it was ok?

    how can bikeportland fault the other local news agencies for sensationalism when it’s doing the exact same thing?

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  • Russell August 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Cops are often times prone to violence, impatient, and find emotional release hurting people. They also will make up any story they want after they have a confrontation with you, and unless you have video evidence they lied ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUkiyBVytRQ ) you are boned.

    The best way to deal with them is like you would any other vicious and potentially deadly animal and become educated about how they behave and how to avoid enraging them. In other words, sockeye is right: she should feel lucky the didn’t get tazed.

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  • Scott Hillson August 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    BURR, I think that cyclists should be fined the same amounts when breaking traffic laws. I’d like to reinforce the fact that I’m traffic on my bicycle the same as I am traffic in my car, as often as possible.

    That said, this isn’t a bicycle related issue, this is another police intimidation without provocation issue.

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  • Blah Blah Blah August 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    And this is the stop sign that has “Bikes Stop” written on the lane. And why not identify youself or show your ID, seems like the easy thing to do.

    I don’t feel sorry for Jessica Jarratt, she pretty much got what was coming to her.

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  • Scooter August 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Dose anyone know if getting a ticket on your bike will hurt your car driving record and cause your insurance to go up?

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  • Jason S. August 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments because it is hard to stomach many of them. However, I am quite sure that she does not have to produce an ID for the officer, nor does she have to tell him her name. One of the neat things about a free society is that you do not have to show your papers to the police whenever they ask–except when driving a car of course.

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  • Jason S. August 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I did not read the article to see that Mark had already cleared up the law.

    Crap like this makes it more frustrating that we as as society subsidize car driving to an absurd degree, but when we ride our bikes we are treated like we are second class.

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  • b. right on August 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    look on the bright side. real crime in portland is obviously at such low levels that dibble has no alternative but to target two-wheeled miscreants. feel for them, they’re only doing their job.

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  • Blair August 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Mike B:

    Based on what, and why, are you assuming that this woman was being an ‘a-hole,’ as you put it? Just because she asked the officer if showing her ID was required does not mean she felt ‘above being stopped.’ It’s every citizen’s right to know what they are required to do, and asking shouldn’t be cause for this slander.

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  • are August 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    as with any intersection, when I approach Broadway from Flint, I scope the situation for an opening. at this point I am going less than 10 mph. if the opening is already there, I am not making a full stop, and if someone wanted to ticket me for that I would think the situation was stupid. that having been said, on that stretch of Broadway, an “opening” for me means an opportunity to take the lane, not get into that idiotic striped channel along the edge, inside the right hooks. a block or two later, the bike lane is to the left of the turning lane, and I just head straight for it.

    the supreme court has ruled that a state statute punishing a failure to provide identification on an investigatory stop does not violate the fourth amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Oregon does not have a stop and identify statute. where does that leave you? if you are being ticketed for running a stop, I guess it is not an investigatory stop.

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  • sick of it August 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Ihre Papiere, bitte!

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  • Mike B August 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm


    Slander? That’s laughable. I was referring to the cycling community, at times.

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  • Oliver August 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Quite simply the woman was ignored and cuffed because she asked a question. Police are trained to control any situation, and some feel the minute they allow you to ask a question, they feel as if they have lost that control. Inexperience, insecurity, anger and bigotry exacerbate this response.

    “If you had your ID, why not just produce it?” Because, if you have a legal right to protection from search and/or seizure you have duty to exercise that as a citizen of the good ol’ us of a.

    …”The whole identify yourself at once! – does sound a tad fascist” Yes it does, but we should not be surprised to hear people with uniforms and guns act that way, but the real scary thing is, and this is where the whole fascist/power centric/authoritative-sycophant mentality gets out of hand: IT’S THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO AGREE WITH IT.

    @ 10 “If you get pulled over, do what the cop asks you to do.” If you’ve done nothing wrong does this still apply? 10 to 1 author says yes. Where exactly does that end? Re-education camps?

    As the story reads the officer did not ask her for her name until he had the cuffs on her. He asks (!Papers Please!) for her to produce her government issued ID card. There is a big (if only symbolic) difference. You can’t exercise your right if you’ve already been stripped of it.

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  • Mike B August 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm


    I also might add that I can assure you I have been an a-hole a time or two when I possibly should not have.

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  • bc August 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    often times, people who refuse to show ID have a reason they don’t want to…they are possibly criminals with warrants. Just because you don’t think you “look” like a criminal…well, we all know that’s not enough for someone, an officer, to rely on. Plenty of people don’t “look” like criminals.
    it’s pretty standard then, for an officer to think of their safety, and until they can get the ID, handcuff the person. There have obviously, throughout history, been situations where the person who won’t show ID has injured or killed an officer. So, in that sense, I don’t see anything wrong. This whole thing just seems like self-righteousness to me by the cyclist, and blown out of proportion.

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  • Dana August 27, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    The question is: why didn’t she show her ID?

    Because she was hiding something… probably not.

    Because she wanted to be difficult… probably so.

    Seriously though, what was her reasoning for not just giving him her ID? I bet cops have to deal with some crappy situations all day and the last thing they want is some woman on a bike giving him a hard time about showing him her ID.

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  • bicycletothesun August 27, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I’m going to Flint and Broadway tonight and running this exact stop sign.

    Wish me luck!

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  • old&slow August 27, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    The more I read the article and the comments here, the more I think that cyclists, or at least the ones who post here are just asking for abuse from the police. This stop sign and intersection has been targeted a number of times. It is a dangerous intersection. Do the cops have more important things to do? Of course. Should cyclists run this sign? Not if you don’t want to get right hooked 50 feet later. The person was being an a-hole, just give them your name, WTF? A minor incident raised to a level it doesn’t deserve.

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  • Max August 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I ride through this intersection almost every day and I have only once or twice needed to put my foot down. It’s a transition from one bike lane to another, requiring the rider to yield to oncoming bike traffic. The fact that this intersection is such a big deal is a joke. The only problems I’ve ever had are cars refusing to stop and then turning THROUGH the bike lane in front of me. Putting up a sign and enforcing this as a stop isn’t saving any lives, it’s just drumming up bad press for the police.

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  • Max August 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Allow me to clarify in advance my post #43: The only problem that I have had is cars turning from Flint on to Broadway through the bike lane after rolling the stop. I don’t care about the rolling (it should be a yield sign), it’s the fact that they don’t take the turn wide enough to clear the bike lane that irks me. That’s a problem in a lot of bike lanes that follow road curves as well. Drivers just don’t know where the passenger side of their car is often enough.

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  • Tammo August 27, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    This is absurd. The woman was clearly obstructing justice. The officer repeatedly requested her ID, to which her final response was she wants to call a lawyer??? She set herself up for this. The cop called for backup, plausibly because he was so busy he didn’t have time to answer questions about the law that citizens are required to already know. It is not a cop’s duty to inform citizens of their rights until he or she makes an arrest. The woman cannot keep asking a police officer these ridiculous questions during a traffic stop, she must know the law and educate the officer, and only then does she have a legitimate right to complain about her rights being violated. No cop is going to let her make a phone call during a stop, whether she’s on a bike or in a car. She does not have a legitimate complaint. She only made the cop’s job more difficult. The appropriate time to inquire about the law is before breaking it! Know your rights. Don’t wait until you are about to be stripped of them.

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  • buglas August 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    It’s not about whether the word “sting” was used appropriately.

    It’s not about whether there should be a stop sign at that intersection.

    It’s about a police officer being a bully.

    Should I ever have dealings with a police officer while riding my bike:
    If asked for my name I will promptly and politely respond with name, address, birthdate, and even my driver’s license number.
    If asked to produce my driver’s license I will politely and steadfastly refuse. This is absolutely in line with attorney Ginsberg’s statements above.

    Should such a day come in my world, if it follows what is described above recognize that it will be the police officer who is escalating the situation.

    Is this a bike issue? I think so. We don’t want to be pushed around by cars. Why would we accept being pushed around by the police? PPB – follow through on your promise (#6) and train your officers.

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  • Travis Wittwer August 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Damn. Lots of thinking in the comments. After reading them all, it is clear that this is a situation, but a bike situation? I don’t know. Other than a story about telling people on bikes to stop at stop signs (and signs on roadways), it is too easy by readers to turn this into a Them v. Us moment.

    A person made a judgement call that broke the law. Whether or not the person agrees with the law, it is a law like any other law. To break it could carry consequence. Period. Regardless of my own beliefs on an Idaho Stop law, I know the law for stop signs and if I choose to go through one (which may happen), I have to be ready for the consequences. When I went through one on my way home today, with a police officer behind me, I was not stopped.

    Why was I not stopped? Many reasons. I am sure that where I Idahoed it was considered by the police officer to be not a dangerous situation (there is no cross traffic and it was on a remote, one lane road). He probably assessed my action against the spirit of keeping everyone safe and keeping others from being involved in a collision was not major.

    Had I been stopped, I would have been bummed.

    Should any one treat another person with disrespect? No. And I do not validate the officer’s actions in this story. However, we may also have to remind ourselves that a police officer is in a position that has to deal with many dangerous and negative situations so there is often a reason for the persona that they take on when dealing with an individual.

    Caveat: I was not there. I am not making any judgements on either party. To me the story is a reminder to stop, or at least a reminder that there is a law with a consequence so be aware.

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  • old&slow August 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    buglas, the officer was being a bully for asking the person her name? The officer did not escalate the situation, he asked for her name. I am a liberal activist but in this case she was acting weird and difficult. She wanted a lawyer to know if she should give the cop her name? She ran a stop sign, was pulled over, simple as that. This isn’t a “Rodney King” situation.

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  • Pete August 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Wow, only 5 posts in: “They literally promote Nazis…”


    Jackattak: “Stories like these keep me from wanting to take it on.”

    My advice: get out there and ride. Keep alert – your “street smarts” will mature the more you ride, and intuition will guide you away from dangerous situations. Obey traffic laws, signal your turns, and don’t let the inevitable conflicts escalate your BP. Do these things and you won’t have to worry about the cops, but in the off chance you’re pulled over and asked for your driver’s license simply hand it over or say “I don’t have it with me but my name is Jack and I want to cooperate with you but would also like to know why you stopped me.”

    Much easier than pissing off a cop, regardless of whether he’s obeying policy/protocol or not. Don’t miss out on biking because of what you read on the Internet!

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  • buglas August 27, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    @old&slow – as I read the story, she was never asked for her name until after she was handcuffed. She was asked for her driver’s license. I don’t want to worry about whether I have my license every time I step off my front porch. Perhaps the officer was on autopilot, reciting the wrong script, but as described he didn’t reset, he escalated. Granted, it’s a little idealistic and you’ll end up taking some lumps, but when an officer tells you to do something that is not a legal instruction, you are not compelled to comply. Requiring a bicyclist to produce a driver’s license is in no way a legal instruction.

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  • old&slow August 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    buglas, I hear you, I reread the article, hard to know what really happened. It still seems to me that if you do blatantly break the law (she did run the sign), then you don’t act like your rights are being violated. I don’t always have my license with me when I ride although I generally do carry my wallet with me. The cop was probably a bit of a jerk but she was in the wrong and just should have done whatever was asked.
    To get to the original point, this is a dangerous sign for cyclists to run, the right hand turn just 50 feet beyond has a lot of traffic in the mornings and it is an accident waiting to happen.

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  • Zaphod August 27, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    The officer probably is pulling over motorists all day long where they are required to carry their license. So a reasonable guess of his state of mind is that he simply did not know the answer to her question. Backed into a corner, he unfortunately opted for the less civilized option. Supposing I’ve guessed right, an education campaign for officers about these laws and general de-escalation strategies couldn’t hurt.

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  • buglas August 27, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    @Zaphod #47 – Pretty much my point from the beginning. Seven months ago, PPP promised to produce a training video for officers on how to deal with cyclists. I would expect those participating in an enforcement action to be among the first to be trained. If such a video were in place, the officer would have realized he was asking for the wrong thing.
    Perhaps PPB needs to engage the capable services of Nick Falbo and Spencer Boomhower to fulfill their promise.

    I’ve ranted enough on this story. Peace to all.

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  • rlk August 27, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I ride this route most days, and witnessed a (different – I think; it was 9:20-ish) gal getting pulled over by a motorcycle cop after she blew the stop sign, riding in the drops, outta the saddle, going perhaps 12-ish MPH from Flint onto Broadway, and the cop struck up a pretty good opening line: “That wasn’t even *close* to stopping…”

    The exuberance of riding a bike, the freedom, the speed, the momentum is intoxicating, but come-on people, set a good example for Pete’s sake…I did! 😉 That gal would have set a way, way cuter example though!

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  • Elly Blue August 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Folks, we changed the story and the title to remove the word “sting.” Bad choice, you’re right.

    We covered this story, and think it’s a bike story, because it highlights a couple different grey areas involving traffic stops for people on bikes. First the question of what kind of identification you need, if you’re required to show it, and if it goes on your record.

    The second interesting issue is how police officers handle traffic stops where the person they’re stopping isn’t enclosed and protected in a car.

    Also, we’ve extensively covered traffic enforcement actions at this particular intersection in the past.

    Thanks for all the comments. Please refrain from personal insults, though. We can’t edit the mudslinging 24 hours a day.

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  • Racer X August 27, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    A point of grammar for PBoT – see the photo of the stop sign: should not the roadway stencil read “bicyclist stop” vs. bike stop?

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  • Mike August 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    #5 Seriously? Give me a break.

    #26 Looks like the cop lost his job over tackling the bicycle. I’m not sure what happened with the charges he’s facing for assault and falsifying his reports (http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/02/20/bad-cop-who-tackled-man-off-his-bicycle-firedfaces-4-years-for-falsifying-records/). Would he have faced repercussions though if the event hadn’t been filmed with the subsequent youtube video getting over 2 million hits?

    Why didn’t the cop just say no your not required to give me ID but you are required to give me your name now what is it? To me, it sounds like he doesn’t know the laws. Of course, as someone said, he doesn’t have to tell her the laws, but why butt heads over something like this?

    Anyway, I didn’t know what my rights were so I’m very happy to have read those specifics in the article – thanks bikeportland!

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  • bicycletothesun August 27, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I ran the stop sign tonight multiple times.

    Doing loops over and over until I logged 4.6 miles.

    I never got pulled over 🙁

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  • wsbob August 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    “@old&slow – as I read the story, she was never asked for her name until after she was handcuffed. She was asked for her driver’s license.” buglas #50

    That’s the way I read the story. The cop, to use old & slow’s term…’bully’, became a bully when he declined to answer the simple questions posed by the woman he stopped for running a stop sign, choosing to slap the cuffs on “…in such a violent way that I still have raised red marks.”… and tell her, as she recalls it…“That’s it, you’re under arrest.” .

    Now that I’ve re-read the story, it sounds as though she wasn’t actually arrested; he didn’t take her downtown and have her booked.

    I don’t understand why it would have been so difficult for this cop to simply have approached the woman saying something such as: ‘Good morning Miss, you’ve just ridden through a stop sign without coming to a full stop….could I please see a drivers license or other I.D. so that I can issue a citation for that violation?.’

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  • Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:29 am


    Some thoughts on this article:

    “A woman was handcuffed and placed under arrest this morning[.]”

    You point out later in the article that this was not an arrest, it was a detention.

    “…when she asked the police officer if she was required to show identification. She was subsequently issued a citation and released.”

    This is where, to me, you lose the appearance of impartiality. Wouldn’t it be just as reasonable to state that she was detained “when she refused to identify herself, despited repeated requests, as the officer attempted to investigate the violation he had observed.”

    “____________, 37, the executive director of an arts funding nonprofit, was commuting from her Northeast Portland home to her office in the Pearl this morning around 9:00am.”

    Just imagine how offended we’d be if the subject of the article had been the local cleaning lady riding her used Magna from her job cleaning second-rate offices at the shipyards to her second-rate home in the Flats.

    “she described being stopped by a police officer at Flint and Broadway, along with several other people on bikes, after she had turned right onto Broadway from Flint without coming to a complete stop.”

    Could somebody demonstrate an an “incomplete stop” for me sometime? Stop means the complete cessation of forward motion. It’s binary. Motion/Rest. You can’t kinda-sorta completely cease forward motion. And what the heck happened to the other riders? Did they make it through the horror of receiving a traffic citation with no muss or fuss?

    Elly, you are jumping back and forth between relating fact and relating allegation. Doing so makes the article seem biased to the rider’s version of events with no consideration that there might be another one that justifies the officer’s behavior. Consider that impartiality, once lost, is rarely regained.

    Thanks for this critique.

    About the use of the word arrest — Jarratt reports that the officer told her “You’re under arrest.” He then didn’t follow through with arrest procedure. I’ll do some more research and change the word if necessary, but I believe if the officer says it’s an arrest, it’s an arrest.

    As for reporting the facts, I’m going to read the story again to see if there’s any place we can make it more clear what is Jarratt’s version of the report and what is our reporting. Are there any specific phrases that are unclear?

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  • naomi August 28, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Sometimes it’s just easier to flash your ID and be on your way, even if it’s not legally required of you. I’m willing to accept petty “violations” that do no real harm in exchange for some peace of mind.

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  • PJ August 28, 2009 at 7:02 am

    We need to remember that bicyclists have been classified as “liberals” and the “conservatives” are quick to point out that all bicylists are “disrespectful”. We need to “Out-Cowboy” the bad press by simply playing by the rules when riding on the streets. We need to keep having fun, but, it does not take that much energy to get started after stopping at a stop sign or red light. No big deal.

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  • Vance Longwell August 28, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I’ve been cited several times over the years for not carrying ID. These were city-ordinance violations. I take it then that these have been repealed? Ginsberg seems to think so.

    The ordinance required the state issued ID be on person at all times. Additionally, possession of $20 in cash was also required, believe it or not. Yes, I’ve gotten ticketed for this too. This was considered an anti-vagrancy ordinance.

    This also. You have rights as a criminal suspect, but very little if the police are investigating a crime. While police conduct an investigation they can demand compliance, and charge you if you don’t.

    There’s a difference between being arrested, and being taken into custody. From the report, Jarret seems to have been taken into custody, and not arrested. Is this the case, or was she actually arrested and charged with impediment?

    It’s not the PPB, it’s cops in general. PPB are fully equal-opportunity haters, and I really resent the comment at #20. Statements of this sort belie my own experiences with the police over the years, and statements like that diminish the injustice; and leave the police free to harass with impunity while comments like that polarize the issue, and homogenize opposition to these policies.

    Black folks don’t have the corner on police-harassment, poor people do. Add to that, try having white skin and complaining to any one about discrimination, and see how far it gets you. This last to pre-argue the inevitable cascade of numbers.

    I’m thinking now of the BTA’s M. Poyourow the other day talking about, “security”, on the lower level of the proposed CRC project. I said in comments that her idea seemed to open up an opportunity for the police to abuse and exploit such policies were very high. I was dogpiled for it.

    Ms. Jarret’s experience then would be exhibit-cagillion by my side, in support of the notion we need far fewer police with far less personal authority.

    Not more. Anyway do it for the black folks if you can’t be counted on to act in your own best interest.

    Curious too, Ms. Blue, why this incident is news-worthy?

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  • graceb August 28, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I agree with Mike B (15). Just show your ID and stop acting like a princess. Black people know this. Cops are dangerous (there is a very fine line between criminals and the cops) and easily provoked. They don’t care if you are a mucky-muck from the Pearl, and in fact, their resentment toward snotty rich white kids could turn against you. Just shut up and show them your ID.

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  • Russell August 28, 2009 at 8:18 am


    The cop in the NY thing resigned, and although he is getting prosecuted – he wasn’t fired. He resigned so that “when he beat these charges” he could reapply to the department. The police union has been fighting hard for him since the video came out.

    The point is however is not about what’s happening to him after being video taped assaulting someone – it’s about how this kind of stuff happens all the time, and without the tape, you are facing serious charges after being beaten up by the police. Secondly, it’s about police departments functioning as giant frats where they cover for each other.

    They are like gang members insofar as the worst thing you can be as a cop is a snitch. The other cop you see in the video faced no repercussions for assisting his buddy with the arrest after the assault and going along with the false charges. If he’d snitched out the abusing cop, I’m sure he’d have had pretty severe consequences.

    Anyway, the point is cops are very helpful in certain situations (more so the higher you get on the socioeconomic ladder), and the majority of people don’t feel they will be on the business end of a tazer – so nothing is going to change. Liberals like to fantasize about citizen commissions and this and that, but those things aren’t going to happen. So what needs to happen is for people to educate themselves in three ways:

    1. Learn what their rights are, the police are trained to violate them when you let them, not assist you in using them.

    2. Learn how to interact with a police officer without triggering rage responses. Sometimes to do this you might choose to pass on what the constitution says your rights are. If there aren’t plenty of witnesses who’d impress the court, or good video, understand your rights are what the cops says they are and pushing him/her is going to lead to violence (from minor to major – this handcuffing story is a good example of minor) and his/her side of the story will be the official truth.

    3.If it escalates to violence, know how to placate the police when they are attacking you. Lots of things that are normal reactions to being beaten (like rolling into a ball and covering your head) are resisting arrest.


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  • Jacob August 28, 2009 at 8:41 am

    The rough handling issue sucks, indeed.

    I’m glad she was stopped after running a stop sign, granted I think it’s dumb the Idaho stop law didn’t get passed, we as cyclists still need to follow the law, which means stopping at stop signs.

    I can’t wait ’till winter when all the fairweather cyclists get back in their cars, that way I don’t have to watch cyclist after cyclist run stop signs then complain when a car drives in a bike lane.

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  • FK August 28, 2009 at 8:59 am

    she did what you’re supposed to do in this situation. you ask, “what did i do wrong?” and make the cop tell you, putting the burden on them. Unfortunately, the cop responded by saying that she ran a stop sign. she then is supposed to ask, “is that illegal?”, but she didn’t. so the cop has to write her a ticket, and wants to make sure she doesn’t give a fake alias.

    she escalated the situation when it was apparent they both knew she was busted, but she wouldn’t let the routine stop run its course.

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  • rrandom rider August 28, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I have been riding this route for about 3 years now and always make a point of coming to a complete stop if I see any motor vehicles around. Once, I had my handlebar clipped by another bicyclist who blew by me and yelled at me to “keep it moving, idiot”.

    I have seen a huge improvement in the overall safety and respect at this intersection since BTA and PPB, under the instigation of the Water Bureau, held a series of meetings and cross-trainings. 3 years ago, I would estimate that close to 50% of the cars turning right onto Wheeler from Broadway made no effort to check if the bike lane was clear before turning. Now the majority do.

    This is a relief since I got right-hooked there. I was able to stop in time, but fell off my bike and broke my wrist. The driver gave me a weird look and kept on driving. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his plate number.

    I personally know 4 bicyclists who were hit by cars at that location. I also came up on one accident where the bicyclist was flying down Flint, didn’t stop while turning right onto Broadway and had so much momentum that he swung out into the traffic lane and ran into the back of a pickup that was turning onto Wheeler. It was entirely the bicyclists fault and, judging from the dent in the truck’s tailgate, he was going pretty fast. Judging from the EMTs working on him, he was hurt fairly badly.

    In short, I have seen some pretty irresponsible behavior at that location by both bicyclists and motor vehicles.

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  • jered August 28, 2009 at 9:16 am


    I use to commute that way and I’ve run that sign and almost killed another cyclist, I’ve run that sign and almost hit a car. Flint/Broadway is a super sketchy intersection and a basic respect for other peoples well being dictates you freaking stop at that stop sign. For real that is a scary intersection. I now ride down Broadway and between the highway and the series of streets around flint rarely a day goes by when I don’t almost get right hooked or crasehed into by some cyclist blowing that stop sign – seriously!

    PPB, Please set up shop there everyday and ticket the hell out of folks that don’t stop, that would actually make me feel more safe on my commute!

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  • Steve Brown August 28, 2009 at 9:17 am

    How many tickets were issued last year on bike lane violations by cars vs the number of tickets issued for bikes running stop signs? Let’s see the real focus of the PPB.

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  • wsbob August 28, 2009 at 9:20 am

    ” Secondly, it’s about police departments functioning as giant frats where they cover for each other.

    They are like gang members insofar as the worst thing you can be as a cop is a snitch.” Russell

    What do some cops fear more than anything else? Perhaps, themselves. Frat boys alright….frat boys with guns that have on occasion been used against a fellow member that didn’t cover up for something.

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  • rrandom rider August 28, 2009 at 9:23 am

    In regards to this incident, if Ms. Jarratt is being truthful in saying that she never raised her voice or acted disrespectfully, she did nothing wrong (other than running the stop sign).

    She was entirely within her rights to ask the questions that she did and the officer had the duty to answer them. It appears that he too was not familiar with the law. If he was, he would have answered her question that she did not have to provide ID, but did have to tell her name. If he had done so, it appears likely that this would never have escalated and she would have complied and ridden off with her traffic ticket but no handcuff marks. Also, if he really did tell her that she was under arrest, he really blew it. There was not sufficient cause to actually arrest her and he did not read her her rights as he should have. Detaining her, which is what his actions constitute, is the correct terminology and he needs to know the difference. So, if her version of the story is accurate, the officer was in the wrong and needs to be better informed/trained.

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  • Joe August 28, 2009 at 9:31 am

    how about a yield sign instead of a stop?
    just respect the yield and slow then roll?

    I ride with a roadID on a side note, dont have a drivers lic# but do try and carry my OR id.

    The cop could have been a bit nicer to a lady if you ask me, or anyone else.

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  • Kt August 28, 2009 at 9:32 am

    My reading of the story is that the officer asked her for her driver’s license repeatedly and only after cuffing her did he ask for her name.

    This situation might have been mitigated if, when asked to give over a driver’s license, the cyclist gave the officer her name and then asked her questions.

    But yeah, I can see the Bike Licensing Contingent girding for another round of “Let’s License Bikes!” over this.

    Oh, one last thing: Stop at stop signs, people. You’re not in a race to work or home or wherever. There are no points or prizes for beating your previous time.

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  • Brad August 28, 2009 at 9:33 am

    A cop sees a violation (running stop sign, speeding, public intoxication, dealing dope, etc.) and intervenes. His job is to identify the individual, notify the individual of the charge, and either cite or inform the offender of her rights if an arrest takes place.

    The police are not there to get into a legal debate or entertain what could be a stalling tactic or an opportunity to evade / harm the officer.

    I grant that Ms. Jarratt likely doesn’t look “dangerous” and this officer probably overreacted a bit but the police are trained to control the situation and that is what this cop did. In his eyes, a professional woman on a bike and a methed up pedestrian are no different and he will react to any perceived lack of cooperation equally.

    If you get pulled over and the officer tells you why, then produce identification or ID yourself. You are not giving up your rights in doing so. Feel the citation is unfair? That is why we have the courts. In my experience both bike and auto, showing the cops a little friendly respect often nets you a verbal warning rather than a ticket.

    What I find funny about Portland’s cyclists is that they get all crazy about issues like this as a violation of their “rights” but praise government’s efforts to effectively take away our real rights to travel most efficiently by corraling us on to low speed MUPs, buffered bike lanes, and sometimes inconvenient bike boulevards in the name of “safety”.

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  • Geoff August 28, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Sounds like cyclists need a training video on how to obey traffic signs.

    In the meantime, someone call Jessica a WAHmbulance.

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  • Boneshaker August 28, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I love Bike Portland. Thanks for the story Elly.

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  • Brian August 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

    No offence to the cyclist here, but why get so testy with the officer. If you have your ID, then just produce it. You freely admit that you broke the law. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it. It’s not a legal requirement. He’ll probably ask you your name and address so he can write the ticket; just give the info to him with no fuss.

    Straight up people. No need to go all junior lawyer on the police. If you want to get testy with the police, accept the potential consequences. They are outright given the power by our city/county/state to control the situation in a confrontation. They’ll use that power if you give them reason. There are better battles to fight than for the right to run a stop sign and not get ticketed.

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  • TJ August 28, 2009 at 10:06 am

    i’ve shared on here, but a few years ago i was arrested for not giving my date of birth, despite having given the officer my student id (all the id i had on me). i simply told him that i was tired of the situation and that with my id he could determine any information he needed. they couldn’t find anything to charge me with. even resisting w/o violence wouldn’t stick. all the same i spent a night in jail and to this day have a serious issue with police rights (ie: they aren’t required to understand the laws to the full extend expected of citizens) and the assumption they’re here to serve in protect. more often than not it seems, they do more protecting of themselves than serving the public interest.

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  • RonC August 28, 2009 at 10:26 am

    There are some interesting underlying human nature issues in this story. Whether intentional or not if one is cornered, confronted, or otherwise intimidated it’s a natural human reaction to defend oneself. This can easily turn to an over-reaction. Police officers are people too, just out there doing their job. If they sense antagonism, the human response is again to defend oneself and posture back.

    I would think that part of police training would be to recognize that feedback loop, and try to diffuse the negative energy feeding it, be a calming influence in the interaction. I would bet that the most effective officers in traffic stops are ones that do that well.

    I hate all the us vs. them rhetoric that occurs here in this forum. Police officers are human beings, and they serve a valuable function, sometimes in a dangerous setting. And yes, they can have good days and bad days. But I think we also bear some responsibility if we go into a situation with a chip on our shoulder. Neither the cyclist or the officer handled this interaction particularly well. That said, I would expect the officer (as a trained professional) to do their best to diffuse any negative energy in a simple traffic stop, rather than what we’ve been told happened in this case. If that means answering a few questions, then they need to do it. You can complain all you want about our ex-mayor Tom Potter, but one thing he did well when he was chief of the police department was instituting the concept of community policing. We need more community in our policing again.

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  • Dan August 28, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Police officers have been known to exceed their authority, but judging from the story here, it sounds like the cop was just doing his job (and keeping other road users safe – can we give him some credit there?). Absent any other details accusing the officer of intimidation or suggesting that he deprived Ms. Jarratt of her rights does a real disservice to those who have been legitimately mistreated by the police.

    I think a little less indignation and a little more contrition would be appropriate here.

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  • Velocentric August 28, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Police cannot demand ID documents per US Supreme Court ruling Hibel vs Nevada 2004.

    This officer needs to study basic law while Ms. Jarratt secures counsel for her promising civil suit.

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  • Carl August 28, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Quiet #60!

    Bikeportland.org is an objective news source with no bias! Shame on you for questioning them!

    Plus, “arrested” sounds way better than “detained!”

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  • Russell August 28, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Carl and Anon,

    Did Elly ever purport to be an “impartial journalist?” Do tell.

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  • sidle August 28, 2009 at 11:01 am

    While I agree the cop probably overreacted by cuffing Jarratt, the arguments in the comments that you shouldn’t have to show your ID unless you’re driving doesn’t reflect the reality of getting around in Portland.

    I take the Max to and from work every day, and occasionally see a transit officer checking fares. When a rider doesn’t produce a valid fare, the officer will ask for ID. I assume this is done to 1)accurately write a citation and 2)check for warrants, under the assumption that a person who breaks the law is likely to have a history of breaking the law.

    The arguments that being stopped and asked for papers is tantamount to living in a fascist state is off-base when the citizen asked for ID has just broken a law, no matter how unpalatable that law may be.

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  • Elly Blue August 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Folks. If you’ve got a quarrel with specific examples of our reporting, please let us know, either in the comments or via email. Carl, you’ve done that in the past and it’s helpful. We’re open to feedback. We change stories based on it all the time. We learn from our mistakes. The snark isn’t helpful. Thanks.

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  • Bahueh August 28, 2009 at 11:28 am

    looks like BikePortland trying to stir up the anti-cop sentiment again…some of its deserved…I don’t think this story is however.

    I mean, where’s the interview by PPB? Where’s their side of the story?

    its easy. stop at signs and lights. car or bike. show ID when asked. say please and thank you and the cuffs will never appear.

    wonder if Jessica is going to run this stop sign again sometime soon….

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  • biddy August 28, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Look, if the cops are going to treat WHITE people this way, it’s going to have to make me re-evaluate my relationship to privilege.

    And what, are they going to start prosecuting white artists for gentrification next? Geez!

    I though we had privilege in this society!

    And to “bicycletothesun”, I think you have the only logical response: some re-worked ideas of solidarity and putting yourself at risk to expose the issue.

    To the guy debating the degree of stopping…every day we all see so many cars and bikes roll through stop signs at 2 mph. While you probably got a B+ in science class, you know full well what is being discussed in this issue. I would put faith that fewer than half of cars of stop signs “roll back” on their shocks from a complete stop. And the ones that do are probably rear ended because NO ONE EXPECTS THAT.

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  • jollydodger August 28, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Thanx – Veolcentric (LAST WORD)!
    For Purposes of Citizen Knowledge…
    Was this an ‘immigration situation’ precident?

    August 28th, 2009 10:35 82Police cannot demand ID documents per US Supreme Court ruling Hibel vs Nevada 2004.

    This officer needs to study basic law while Ms. Jarratt secures counsel for her promising civil suit.

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  • rrandom rider August 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

    If the law does not require a bicycle rider (or anyone else) to show ID when requested by an officer and the encounter transpired as she claims, then Ms. Jarrett was in the right and the officer messed up. I believe every citizen has the responsibility to defend our collective rights. I’m not trying to conflate this particular situation into a noble battle against tyranny, but if the officer did not have legal cause to demand an ID and to arrest/detain her when denied, then he needs to be educated and held accountable.

    The fact that it would have been simpler for her to hand over her ID right away does not mean that she necessarily should have done so if it was not legally required. Frustration on the part of the officer for not having an unenforceable demand immediately honored does not justify him handcuffing her and telling her she was under arrest.

    To use hyperbole to try to emphasize a point, if the officer told her to submit to a strip search to see if she had any illegal contraband, should she have done so just to make the encounter go more smoothly, especially if she wasn’t carrying anything illegal? I’m not trying to imply direct equivalency between what happened and my example, but the hypothetical situation is on the same trajectory as what happened.

    I once had an officer request permission to search my apartment because a neighbor and friend of mine had just been caught with drugs in his vehicle. I had nothing illegal in my apartment, but I refused to consent to the search since I viewed it as an improper request. I was detained for 45 minutes and threatened with serious consequences if I did not change my mind. I knew my rights and in the end they let me go. They did not have enough evidence to get a search warrant, knew it, and tried to intimidate me into letting them in anyways.

    It would have definitely been quicker and easier to let them conduct a fruitless search, but I stand by my decision to deny their request. I see nothing wrong with them asking me, but once I declined they had the option of either moving on or trying to get a warrant. Their detainment and harassment was completely inappropriate.

    Enough of this thread-jack. I agree Ms. Jarrett’s decision to exercise her rights and think the officer was way out of line.

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  • Steve B. August 28, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I find this to be newsworthy. Thanks for reporting it, Elly.

    The police issue is less bike-related as it is related to the same provocative arrest/detainment of folks who simply QUESTION the police. Asking questions is not a crime and should not be treated as such. Better police training and accountability might help with this.

    Here’s the core of the issue to me, and forgive me for my dream of entitlement, but when so many commuters use this route, why can’t we get a ‘bike highway’ treatment where bikes can really zip through here without worrying about cars. Momentum is so valuable, so full of energy, many cyclists don’t want to kill it at a stop sign where they actually have FANTASTIC visibility. That doesn’t mean cars can see you, but the way the light signals on Vancouver are, half the time there are NO cars coming. I’ve seen stop signs where right-turning traffic is allowed to yield instead of stop. Everyone hopefully understands that yielding requires you to stop for any oncoming traffic, so it’s not a green light.

    Besides, the bike lane is the right-most lane. We should consider banning cars from that right lane complete with a physical barrier. It would be awesome for peds and cyclists to reclaim one of the 4 one-way traffic lanes that make up the majority of the street.

    In terms of routing, I actually prefer to stay on Williams until Vancouver, and when the green light for the left side of Vancouver cycles, I use the crosswalk to cross the off-ramp and proceed down Broadway. This seems to be more direct and efficient then cutting over to Flint, which I know is the preferred official bike route.

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  • Brendan Vail (Your-Inn.com) August 28, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I was approached by PPB the other day while riding with some friends in the pearl. An officer on a horse approached me and then gave me a written warning saying that if I am caught riding in a city park again I am banned from all city parks.
    We were also not doing any type of stunt riding what so ever, we had just showed up and placed our bags on the sidewalk and most of us were simply sitting on benches.
    This is simply how the police hear treat bike riders. Unless you are in a car you are a third rate citizen with no rights, dont even go downtown unless you are rich

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  • TofuTodd August 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Why run this intersection? It’s on a downward hill. Its not like you’re losing much momentum stopping. And you frequently get stopped at the light at the bridge. I can understand running a stop sign going up hill, but cmon people, you are saving maybe 1, maybe 2 seconds running this sign. Really? 2 seconds? Wow. I laugh my ass off seeing cyclists in front of me running signs or lights only to be right next to them at the light. Just like driving in the city, it doesnt help to speed or run lights on a bike, theres just too many traffic control devices.

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  • Gabe August 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Ugh. She didn’t stop and then wanted to engage the officer in a discussion of whether she was legally obligated to show ID? Was she within her rights? Sounds like it. Was it smart? No. Are we less safe because a cop in the process of stopping a cyclist for blowing a stop sign insisted on ID? No. Practically speaking, no.

    How about this: cyclists who run stopsigns at dangerous sections like this are MORE of a danger to me, as a fellow rider, than a cop asking for my ID. Let’s consider that. That’s a story.

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  • Todd Boulanger August 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    This is a perfect time to pick up a copy of the excellent book:

    “Bicycling and the Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist” by Bob Mionske

    I learned a lot by reading it…how and why the law treats/ protects bicycles and bicyclists access to the public rights of way to a higher level than motorized traffic. It helped me in my work as a transportation planner as well as a daily bicyclist.

    And it can be purchased through BikePortland’s cyber bookstore…thus supporting the site.

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  • KruckyBoy August 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Sounds to me like the cop handled the situation effectively (and perhaps ungracefully, which was not his job). We’ve heard just one side of the story, and Jarratt ultimately left with a citation for a law she clearly broke, and was not arrested. I have a funny feeling she was less than cooperative with the officer. Just a hunch.

    Don’t want to get into these situations? Don’t break the law. If you speed in your car (and yes, the ‘Pro Car PPD’ still give speeding tickets) or run stop signs your chance of a police encounter are greatly improved, and don’t whine and cry when it happens. Take the risk? Take the consequence.

    I can go into different ethnic neighborhoods and scream racial epitaphs. That’s within my constitutional rights. It doesn’t mean, though, that it is a good idea in any way, shape, or form.

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  • Tim August 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    So if this person was 10 years old is the cop going to handcuff them for running the stop sign and not having ID? Seriously… it’s ridiculous.

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  • Corey August 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I think the police officer overreacted but this is a definite case of knowing when to pick your battles.

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  • Tim August 28, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    How about if she was on rollerblades or a skateboard? Ticket? Handcuffs? Overzealous officer of the “law”?

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  • Brian August 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    No doubt the PPB treats cyclists differently. When a Tri-Met bus pinched me against a curb as he merged into the bike lane, I was almost run over. I called the PPB to file a report and they (Operator 16) told me I was “not allowed” to file a police report, I had to go through Tri-Met Security. Tri-Met didn’t know what I was talking about!

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  • Disastronaut August 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I made the mistake of asking an officer “why” I had to get out of the passenger seat of a parked car – I was drug through the window by my hair and then slammed on the ground for my question.

    I guess cops don’t like to see people reading in their car while on their lunch break for some reason.

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  • BURR August 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    and I’m sure all the law and order types above actually come to a full stop on their bike or in their car every time they encounter a stop sign, regardless of traffic conditions???

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  • Dirk August 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said ‘thank you,’ and went on your way.”

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  • Bahueh August 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    BURR…because its such a source of contention between drivers and riders nowadays..in this town and in others..I do.

    I doubt this jessica woman “rolled slowly” through the stop sign…if its like most riders I witness, she probably did it between 10-15mph…

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  • WOBG August 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    KruckyBoy, screaming *epithets* might get more of a reaction than *epitaphs*—though it would be a kind of performance art:

    “Here lies John Doe, beloved father, 1932-1998!!”

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  • bean August 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    For cyclists to use the excuse that “I had momentum and did not want to stop because I would have to start up again which is hard.” is very pathetic! You ride a bike, so you are in reasonable physical shape. You should be able to stop and then accelerate again. If you can’t do that then either walk, max, or drive.
    A car driver hears this statement and becomes very confused by a bicyclist’s reason to be on the road. A cyclist has NO reason to be on the road if that is how they ride.
    Cyclists need to follow the current laws, even if you don’t like them. Drive if you can’t handle it.

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  • Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I was stopped by the same officer on 8/26. Was told I rolled through the stop sign in my car. It took me a while to pull over cuz I had no clue I did anything wrong. He also gave me a ticket for a crack in my break light, but the light still works. My total ticket is $387. Sounds like a cash corner.

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  • rev August 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Police come in all sorts of demeanors. One local group advocates for treating cops like wild animals: make not sudden moves and always work to calm them down.

    I don’t share their somewhat pessimistic viewpoints. I try and treat them the way I want to be treated. Still the police union prevents cops from making appologies (for fear of being sued). So even if a cop made a mistake they are not allowed to the most honest and simple of acts.

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  • cbb August 28, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    After committing an infraction and being pulled over the cyclist is asked for her drivers license. The answer is yes or no. “I want to call a lawyer” is the equivalent of “no”. No mention of whether she had her license on her or not. At this point the officer has no other option than to detain her. What is she thinking? That if she doesn’t produce her I.D. that she is going to be let go? That is she mentions the word “lawyer” that she is immune from the law? Please let me know if this works. I’ll start driving without my license and just my attprorney’s card in my wallet. No more tickets!

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  • drew August 28, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Anybody notice that no one stops for stop signs (when there is no cross traffic)? Cars roll thru at bike speed. Bikes tend to slow down. And pedestrians just keep walking.

    Drivers berating cyclists are hypocrites. Cyclist berating other cyclists are hypocrites as well. The only ones who do stop are lost or multi-tasking.

    If you say you come to a complete stop at all stop signs I would suggest you check to see if your nose is growing, like Pinocchio.

    Someone blowing a stopsign like they didn’t exist, or not taking their turn at a 4 way stop deserves a ticket. But good grief, let the fine reflect the crime. There is a big difference between 2 tons and 200 lbs.

    Some cops become cops so they can serve the community. Other simply want to boss people around. There will always be the other type of cop.

    Easier to just to give them what they want. But those who question authority are real patriots.

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  • Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    109: pedestrians don’t have to stop at stop signs! Stop signs are only for vehicular traffic. In fact, pedestrians have the right of way at almost any intersection not controlled by pedestrian walk/don’t walk signs. But don’t be to cavalier about using that right, because most cars and bicyclists don’t seem to know it, despite the city’s recent re-education efforts (see link).


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  • Mike August 28, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    109: pedestrians don’t have to stop at stop signs! Stop signs are only for vehicular traffic. In fact, pedestrians have the right of way at almost any intersection not controlled by pedestrian walk/don’t walk signs. But don’t be to cavalier about using that right, because most cars and bicyclists don’t seem to know it, despite the city’s recent re-education efforts (see link).


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  • wsbob August 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    “But good grief, let the fine reflect the crime. There is a big difference between 2 tons and 200 lbs.” drew

    Yet both of those weights in the form of a moving vehicle having something in common: a life or multiple lives depending upon the safe operation of the vehicle in question.

    I’m mostly opposed to the Cali-Idaho stop procedure established as law. I favor and support the ‘stop means stop’ procedure as law, applied with reasonable discretion many road users, including cops observe.

    At any rate, the discussion of this thread mostly does not center around whether Jessica Jarratt was rightfully cited for blowing a stop sign while riding a bike. It more importantly centers around whether or not the way the cop went about informing this woman she needed to provide I.D. so he could issue the citation…was A-O.K.

    Notice that there hasn’t been a single response from any representative of the PD to the concerns raised by people commenting in response to this article. Or anywhere else in print made available to the public as far as I’ve been able to tell.

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  • Michael August 29, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Driving recently, 2 cars totally blew a red to turn left. The second was so late that it became entangled in cross traffic. All this right in plain sight of a Portland Police trying to cross with his green light. The police did absolutely nothing.

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  • Aaron August 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

    You broke a law. A police officer asked you a simple and reasonable question. Rather than get all cerebral and ask to “phone a friend” for legal advice (when very little was at stake), you should have complied with the officer’s request. Life is too short to make a legit traffic citation into the next great civil rights battle.

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  • TonyR August 29, 2009 at 8:37 am

    As a pedestrian who has had a number of near misses from being run into/over by bicycle riders, perhaps these folks should exercise a little more consideration for obeying the laws of the street and the pedestrian paths. It seems that there is a huge disregard for the damage that a 2 ton vehicle can do to the human body as I have observed cyclists ignoring bike paths and placing themselves in harm’s way on a busy street. A vehicle rounding a blind corner can suddenly come in contact with a bicycle with disastrous results.

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  • middle of the road guy August 29, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I can understand that a citizen does not need to show ID to an officer if they have done nothing wrong.

    However, if the officer states that they have committed an infraction, I personally do not believe it is “injust” to then ask for ID.

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  • middle of the road guy August 29, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    You are not required by law to produce or carry identification if you aren’t driving a motor vehicle, local bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg told us, adding that you do not need a drivers license or any other form of identification to operate a bicycle, “or to walk down the street for that matter.” But if a police officer asks for your name, you have to give it.

    This sounds like *cute* language to me. What if you are “operating” that bike on city streets? Are the requirements then different?

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  • Duncan Watson August 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    ID is not required except when operating a motor vehicle. Any policeman who tells you differently is lying or misinformed.

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  • velo August 30, 2009 at 9:21 am

    That is an absurd abuse of power. You are required to identify yourself and no more in that situation. Any officer who doesn’t know this ought to be fired. If they lied they ought to be held liable for lying.

    I’ve never trusted the police and will never trust the police. They are supposed to act as civil servants and many do, but they fail to police themselves. Until the police are monitored and their behavior is checked we cannot trust them.

    If we want the police to stop misbehaving they need to face consequences both as individuals and as a force. For every lawsuit they lose they should have that amount of funding stripped. For every abusive arrest they should lose and officer. Officers should be held individually viable as well. Policing is an exceptional job and officers need to be held to an exceptionally high standard. Those who fail to meet that standard ought to seek a new line of work.

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  • wsbob August 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

    “ID is not required except when operating a motor vehicle. Any policeman who tells you differently is lying or misinformed.” Duncan Watson #119

    That’s not true, I.D. is required. Carrying I.D. is not required. For lawyer Ray Thomas’s informative discussion of this point, go here:

    Bikes & the Law: Identification for Bicyclists
    by Ray Thomas from Oregon Cycling

    An excerpt from that discussion:

    “For now, bicyclists do not need to carry identification. And bicyclists need not identify themselves unless charged with a traffic citation or crime. If cited or charged with a crime, the bicyclist must correctly identify themselves for purposes of service of the Uniform Traffic Citation or face arrest for a Class A Misdemeanor for giving false information to a peace officer. Thus, while no identification papers must be carried on the bicyclist’s person, it is, nevertheless, a misdemeanor crime to fail to correctly identify oneself when being cited.” Ray Thomas

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  • Duncan Watson August 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Carrying ID and identifying oneself are two different things.

    One is an object, a noun.
    The second is an action, a verb.

    Nice bait and switch. You deliberately misunderstood me so you could confuse the issue further. The officer in the story abused his authority and is at fault. The cyclist did nothing wrong and was handcuffed.

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  • Tegan August 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I use the same route on my commute from the NE to my job downtown. I was well aware of the stop sign stings being conducted now and then by the police at Flint and Broadway. I ALWAYS come to a complete stop, get off my seat, touch the ground, and check traffic. I have never had a problem with a stop sign violation there even when the stings are happening. The reason why the police are there is because bicyclists aren’t stopping and its the law, plain and simple. The other reason is they can write you a $242 ticket. I think we should just spread the word to the bicycling community to stop at this location so the police have no reason to be there any longer. Maybe someone could put up a sign warning bicyclists to stop there or risk a ticket?

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  • KWW August 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    From reading Ms. Jarratt’s side of the story, I am amazed at that composure of the police. They would of been within rights to take you down to the station, fingerprint you, and keep you there for about 6 hours and then release you without charge, and a ticket.

    All you had to tell them is your name and address and none of that would have happened. No ID required.

    Flint and B’way is the number one stop sign to blow whether you are in a bicycle or a car. The cops know, and most informed bicyclists know it as well. It is also dangerous, that is why the Water Bureau vehicles won’t turn at Wheeler anymore.

    Why do bicyclists continue to blow through that sign, especially when the rest of the trip to the bridge is downhill? Because you are a selfish, that’s why. Pay your fine and grow up.

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  • RonC August 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    If you are stopped for a traffic infraction, you are legally required to identify yourself. If you are carrying an ID, why would you not produce it? Just because it’s your right not to? Seems to me it would do nothing but facilitate the transfer of required info, so that you could be on your way in as little time as possible.

    I’m all for defending individual rights when it really means something, but here I don’t see the reason for pressing the issue. I’m not saying that you’re doing anything wrong by just identifying yourself verbally, but unless the intent is to be difficult or give fictional ID (now you’re breaking the law, BTW), I just don’t get it. If you’re not carrying ID, just say so. If you are, what’s the harm in producing it?

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  • wsbob August 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    “Nice bait and switch. You deliberately misunderstood me so you could confuse the issue further.” Duncan Watson

    Watson, your comment #119 was incorrect and misleading to other people reading here. It’s clear to me that you were, and continue to be confused about the issue. I thought your confusion might be cleared up if your read the excerpt that I posted from the Ray Thomas article.

    When I made my initial comment #8 on this thread, I didn’t think to do a simple search to the question about ID though in that comment, I mentioned that cops need some means by which to issue a citation to a person they believe to have broken a law. If I had, I would have run across Thomas’s article and posted the excerpt then, which might have helped eliminate further confusion about the issue.

    A number of people commenting after me also pondered the question for police and citizens of what a non-motor vehicle driving person must be prepared to provide the police in the way of ID They didn’t spell it out as clearly as the Thomas excerpt, last paragraph in my comment #121 does.

    Basically, it says that even when a person is not driving a motor vehicle, they are still required to present ID…verbally or in another form as they choose, if they’ve violated the law and a cop feels obliged to charge or cite them for that.

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  • Joe August 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    #122 right on!

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  • rob anderson August 30, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    You don’t need to carry ID, but you are required to provide your name, dob, address. Identity is one of the reasons law enforcement is allowed to detain individuals. Face it we don’t know the tone she was using. The article is missing a lot of info. I don’t see police commenting too much about a ticket matter.

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  • rob anderson August 30, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Personally I would have played the good cop…

    Maam, you do realize I can arrest you for failing to provide your identity? Could you please provide me with your ID?

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  • Duncan Watson August 30, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Lets be clear. The woman didn’t violate the law. The officer did. The woman was clear in her speech and requests. The officer was not.

    Why do we care if she had ID on her or not when she was not required to do so?

    Identifying oneself is not “presenting ID”. Presenting ID is the action of “show me your papers” and in the US and the actions of the officer, presenting a driver’s license.

    Identifying oneself is telling the officer you name and address (if you have one). wsbob you are attempting to morph the officer’s demand into a legal request for her identity (who are you?) rather than his request for her papers. Which is what he asked for.

    I have met many officers who inaccurately believe that everyone must carry ID. I am not required to carry ID (papers) in the US when riding a bike, when walking down a road, or when swimming. Misleading language as you are using, conflating identifying one self (who are you?) with identification papers is a large part of why officers and the public are confused.

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  • joe August 30, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    this sort of interaction with the ppb happens many times a week. most of the police do not know all the laws they are tasked to enforce and many of them take a negative view towards people who ride bikes. as pointed out, the ppb is prohibited from making any sort of admission of wrongdoing or apology.

    not that I am against knowing and exercising your rights, but choosing the wrong time to stand up for yourself is a quick way to downtown. be thankful that you were not revphil or someone else that the cop felt physically threatened by. if you were, the raised red mark on your wrist would be the least of your problems.

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  • KWW August 31, 2009 at 12:56 am

    I don’t mean to be negative on this situation, just realistic.

    Don’t ever expect the police to provide legal clarification.

    2nd, If you challenge the police, you better have a copy of the relevant code in print to back you up.

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  • wsbob August 31, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Watson, my dictionary defines ‘ID’ as:

    “A card or badge used to identify the bearer” WordWeb

    So…you win!

    Thomas’s remarks say that if a person is “…cited or charged with a crime, the bicyclist must correctly identify themselves…”.

    But what about proof of identification? In Jarrat’s situation, she might have correctly identified herself verbally, but without proof, how is the cop going to know the information has been given correctly?

    A person might not legally be required to present ‘ID'(driver’s license or other proof)if a cop is just snooping around someone that doesn’t happen to be driving a motor vehicle, but if he’s issuing a citation to the person for doing something such as rolling a stop sign in another way, such as on a bike…proof comes in mighty handy.

    Jarrat did do something wrong. She rolled a stop sign while riding a bike. Legally not required to carry a drivers license? Yes. Smart to carry and be prepared to present other proof of identification under those circumstances? Yes. Let everyone decide which way is the best for themselves should they find themselves in a situation similar to Ms Jarrat’s.

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  • SJ August 31, 2009 at 7:59 am

    BS! You’re going to do everything you can to let people know Portland Police can’t treat people this way? Please. You decide you suddenly want to learn something about legal matters on the spot, that you need to call a lawyer friend to see what you should do in your oh-so-unique situation? How about you study up on the law before getting on your bike so you know you have to at least identify yourself by telling the officer your name? That you could have shown ID might seem to some to be simple common courtesy. The law works both ways: YOU need to know a few things before you demand an on-the-spot legal seminar on your rights, AND police should be polite–unless some ignorant cyclist, whose live she just placed in danger by running a stop sign (the officer was really just trying to enforce this to HELP you in future endeavors to EXTEND your life, after all). But the cuffs hurt! They aren’t supposed to be that comfortable. Please stop your efforts to give other bikers a bad name!

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  • SJ August 31, 2009 at 8:02 am


    The cyclist ran the stop sign, remember?

    Why leave this little fact out?

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  • Sam August 31, 2009 at 10:05 am

    This trick at this intersection is to go onto the sidewalk before the stop sign and then rejoin the road on the other side of the stop sign on Broadway. I have not tried this in a court setting and am not sure if you can ride on the sidewalk here, but it would be easy to make the case that you did not run the stop sign because you were on the sidewalk and the stop sign does not apply.

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  • KruckyBoy September 1, 2009 at 10:44 am

    and I’m sure all the law and order types above actually come to a full stop on their bike or in their car every time they encounter a stop sign, regardless of traffic conditions???

    No Burr, I don’t come to a complete stop at all intersections. However, I know that every time I don’t there is the potential to get a ticket, and if I do get a ticket the only person I have to blame is myself. It is my choice to run certain stop signs, and my responsibility to pay the ticket if I get it. It would not be the responsibility of the officer giving me the ticket to be nice, friendly, or polite. I definitely wouldn’t cry and whine about police conduct after I broke the law.

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  • tom September 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I do not commute to wk via bicycle. I feel the need to respond to this article. First Cops can be jerks, they have a stressfull job no excuse. I have worked at my companies pearl location and lets face facts some of the people down there can have attitudes. I have also had problems with cyclists (riding two abreast coming out of bike lanes) and have bad attitudes towards cars. Not all cyclists are like this. Cyclists have rights and so do cars. It seems to me both the cop and the cyclist had attitude issues in this case. Peace, can’t we all just get along??????

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  • Rob September 2, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I find the fact that you think this is a real issue disturbing. If you were a young black male in Los Angeles riding a bike and asked a cop who stopped you if you were legally required to show an ID what do you think would have happened? You’d probably be taken down and handcuffed by 5 cops while they muttered “stop resisting”. Grow up and worry about something that matters.

    Rob and everyone — your comments are appreciated. But please avoid telling other site users to “grow up” and other such personal jabs. It contributes nothing to the conversation. Thanks — Elly

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  • SJ September 2, 2009 at 11:24 am


    While I appreciate that you’re trying to keep the conversation civil, I for one have no problem with people’s rights to say whatever they want here, on this forum. “Grow up” and other such comments are hardly hate speech or personal jabs. This kind of comment is a way of expressing frustration over what the woman featured in this story did and her response to a police officer. She needs to grow up, in my opinion, and Rob’s. Censoring, or attempting to limit what people can say, is a slippery slope. Again, I get it; keep it civil. But I disagree with you: it does contribute a lot to the conversation in that people realize that others may be quite passionate or frustrated or outright angry over a topic. To say “now, now kids” and attempt to control the tone here might turn some away when involvement and real conversation is what’s needed most–even if it means some hurt feelings, etc. We can take it.

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  • Elly Blue September 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    SJ, thanks for disagreeing civilly. 🙂 I hear you, and you’re right, that was not the most egregious comment to single out.

    But that said, this sort of statement is still not a great example of civility. Perhaps you can clarify what you mean by “needs to grow up.” I hear the scorn loud and clear, but don’t quite understand the reasoning behind it.

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  • SJ September 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Glad to . . .

    In my opinion, the bikeportland.org site, and the comments especially, allow a free discourse that usually features pretty heated topics (after all, there are a lot of participants who take an “us vs. them” position and stick to it, bikes vs. cars, etc., for example).

    This is, in itself, civility in cyber space. People can attach their name to a comment, post anonymously, or with a nickname; you have contributors of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and various educational backgrounds–you’re going to get all kinds of comments, most civil, some not.

    What’s civil and democratic about this is free speech. Say what you want without fear of being censored. Your comments might be refuted, your research may be questioned, your attitude may be checked, and your language may be called out–you could even just be ignored.

    As it regards Rob’s comments (and my own, now), we both think that Jessica should “grow up.” We didn’t tell her to F-off or use hateful, sexist, or in any other fashion “offensive” language. Even if we had, we’d have faced the wrath of other posters. And we might have learned from being chastised.

    But the common phrase “grow up” really refers to what we think of Jessica’s attitude and the notion that she’s NOW going to do everything she can to educate the public about the vast abuses of the Portland police force. Notice the sarcasm? This isolated incident involved 1) someone who broke the law, 2) a cop who patiently did his job (at first), 3) a citizen who THEN wanted to know her rights AND wanted to call a lawyer friend to clarify some of those rights–all the while, the cop is simply asking for her name. Hey, who are you, citizen I’m trying to protect from herself? You know, the one who just broke the law in front of me near this very busy road? Can I just get your name so I can do my job? My god, how egregious of this cop!

    So I say, grow up. If this offends, I’m sorry. But I think the “victim” of police abuses of power here needs to learn that she has certain responsibilites as a citizen in a Nazi State (there I go with my sarcasm again!). She can, at the very least, talk to her lawyer friend BEFORE she hits the road if the nuances of Law is so interesting to her. And others respond in her defence that Yeah, man! These cops are run amok and taking our rights away . . . please. Really? I disagree, but, hey, post what you want. It’s highly offensive to me to hear that people think of cops, some of whom are my friends, as Nazis. Should that be censored? Of course not.

    Trying to shush me or Rob or anyone else who has a strong opinion only diminishes the conversation. Some of the best speeches, most powerful passages of writing, some of the most effective prose and poetry, has some of the most sexist, racist, foul, dirty and offensive language ever heard. So if kids come to this forum, parents beware and monitor. If you’re an adult, try to be civil, whatever that standard means to you, and we may disagree, but long live the forum.

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  • biddy September 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    for the record, “grow up” is actually a personal insult.

    It implies maturity that you apparently believe you possess.

    Moreso, we don’t know that the cop patiently did his job. We know what we are told second and third hand. But we do know that the cop could face a civil suit for acting inappropriately.

    And while you may find his behavior quite appropriate, and that lawbreakers can be treated however cops please, that is not the law, and is thus, also, lawbreaking. Do two wrongs do much of any good?

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  • SJ September 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm


    I’m all for more civil discourse.

    For the record, according to you, you mean, “grow up” is a personal insult. OK. According to you. I don’t think it is much of one. I think people say it to other people half in jest, kiddingly, or completely seriously. We all “grow up” when we learn from our mistakes.

    From what I read, the cop certainly seemed to do his job patiently, and I quote: “requested her identification again.” Later, after Jessica asked a question, “Felts simply repeated the request . . .” So, three requests later, Jessica is the one who becomes “frustrated.” Well, sure; it’s frustrating to be caught running a stop sign. The officer, as far as I understand, could have detained her, with handcuffs, after her first refusal, or her second, or her third. He might want to check her record to see if she has any warrants or a record of any kind so that he can maybe give her a warning, which is what she probably would have received had she just said, My name is Jessica, I was in a hurry, sorry.

    I don’t know if his behavior was or was not appropriate, and if you read my post, I was trying to point out that this is not in fact a Nazi state in which cops can treat lawbreakers “however cops please.” This is a case of a person breaking a law then trying to prove some (what?) point. Why not give your name? Seriously? Give your name to a cop. If she fears the police, so be it. I wish her all the good fortune in the world for her “civil suit,” in which, probably, it will be found that she, lest we forget, broke the law, refused to give her name, insulted a cop by asking for a freaking attorney on the spot (not a little over the top, even, do you think?) and that the cop was completely within the rights citizens give him, and he did this in full view of another cop (who was corrupt, I assume, right?), not to mention traffic going by, other bikers, walkers. A few posts on this board made it sound like he tortured her out of sight of the public, laughed about it and got away with a brutal attack.

    Call a cop when your bike is stolen. Let’s say you’ve detained the guy who took your bike. Cop gets there, asks the guy him name. Guy won’t talk. Cops says You have one more chance to give me your name. Nothing. Cop puts him in cuffs. You are happy about this because the guy broke the law and then wouldn’t follow a cops directions. Easy. You want it this way, right? Or would you rather the cop just say, Cool, well, this guy won’t give me his name, so I’ll be off. Sorry about your bike.

    Also, for the record, I was trying to support your weak effort to insult me “It implies maturity that you apparently believe you possess” by posting to Elly. And I still support it. Free speech is great, the ability to call a cop when you need one is great, and a little lesson about running a stop sign also might (read this carefully) might be a good thing too if it protects cyclists and drivers alike.

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  • biddy September 15, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Can you honestly argue that your use of “grow up” (to a stranger, nonetheless) is in any way kidding, friendly, or in jest? We do all “grow up”, but do so at our own rate and not because a stranger on the internet tells us to.

    Just because there are harsher insults, does not mean it is not insulting. We also do not “learn from our mistakes” by a stranger on the internet insisting that we made a mistake.

    “requested her identification again.” does not denote anymore patience than it does impatience; more like insistence. We don’t know if his tone was annoyed, frustrated, etc.

    I don’t think the frustration on Jessica’s part is necessarily because of running the stop sign. It’s plenty frustrating to have a cop breathing down on you repeating the same request and ignoring your question.

    Asking a question is not a refusal. Her response was not “no”. it was “is this within my right?”. I don’t think she was trying to prove a point at the time of the incident, rather just protect her rights.

    Anyone who does not fear the police, has not had enough experiences on both sides of the law.

    In a civil suit, it does not matter whether or not you broke the law. That is not what is being disputed. The incident at hand is how the cop treated the woman. Cops better be reminded that rights are not yet eroded enough for them to treat white artists this way!

    I’ve called the cops when my bikes have been stolen and let me tell you, in each and every circumstance. They are FRUSTRATED when I call back expecting anything. One particularly candid officer told me that the only work the cops would do for a reported stolen bike is that if they came upon a cache of obviously stolen bikes, they would cross reference my serial to them. Otherwise, forget about it.

    The theoretical situation you describe is not based in reality. The guy should have a right to prove his innocence and dispute the situation and that is not incompatible with my bike being returned. I’m not proposing that the officer should have backed off the rider after she started asking questions. I’m saying he could have answered her questions politely instead of cuffing her. That doesn’t get her off or let her walk. It’s just practicing of the law. of course, as i’ve said, it’s not the cops job to fill judicial branch responsibilities, but i digress.

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  • Duncan Watson September 15, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? is a serious issue. A police officer needs to have limits on his power and needs to be watched and watch himself carefully. This type of abuse of power is a problem because of the power of the position.

    The risk or danger of the job is not an excuse, in fact it is another area of concern because the danger of the job encourages short cuts that are “safer”.

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