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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
Guest
BURR

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.

Nick
Guest
Nick

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.

GLV
Guest
GLV

Red light? Shouldn’t that say stop sign?

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

Blair
Guest
Blair

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.

Esta Nevando Aqui
Guest
Esta Nevando Aqui

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.

buglas
Guest
buglas

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.

brewcaster
Guest

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”.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…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.

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

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.

sockeye
Guest

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.

bean
Guest
bean

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.

Jackattak
Guest
Jackattak

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.

BURR
Guest
BURR

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?

Jason
Guest
Jason

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.

Peter Noone
Guest
Peter Noone

@sockeye

“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?

Jerry
Guest
Jerry

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…
ZERO

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

jollydodger
Guest

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.

TonyT
Guest
TTse

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.

Black Dude on Bicycle
Guest
Black Dude on Bicycle

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…

BURR
Guest
BURR

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.

jeneraldisarray
Guest
jeneraldisarray

“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.

Mike B
Guest
Mike B

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.

RonC
Guest
RonC

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.

naess
Guest
naess

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?

Russell
Guest
Russell

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.

Scott Hillson
Guest

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.

Blah Blah Blah
Guest
Blah Blah Blah

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.

Scooter
Guest
Scooter

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

Jason S.
Guest
Jason S.

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.

Jason S.
Guest
Jason S.

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.

b. right on
Guest
b. right on

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.

Blair
Guest
Blair

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.

are
Guest
are

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.

sick of it
Guest
sick of it

Ihre Papiere, bitte!

Mike B
Guest
Mike B

Blair:

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

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

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.

Mike B
Guest
Mike B

Blair:

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.

bc
Guest
bc

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.

Dana
Guest
Dana

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.

bicycletothesun
Guest
bicycletothesun

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

Wish me luck!

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

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.

Max
Guest
Max

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.

Max
Guest
Max

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.

Tammo
Guest
Tammo

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.

buglas
Guest
buglas

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.

Travis Wittwer
Guest

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.

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

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.

Pete
Guest
Pete

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

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!

buglas
Guest
buglas

@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.