Police take no action against moped rider caught on camera kicking out at cyclist's bike

Metropolitan Police say they can't proceed due to lack of independent witnesses - although they were sent helmet camera footaage

by Simon_MacMichael   February 3, 2014  

Moped rider attempts to kick Chi Yong La

A London cyclist who gave police video footage that showed a moped rider kicking out at his bike as he passed him has been told that no action will be taken against the man in question because there were no independent witnesses to what happened.

The incident happened on the New Kent Road on the evening of 16 January as Chi Yong La rode home to Greenwich from his job in the West End with publisher Conde Nast.

Riding away from the kerb to avoid potholes, drain grilles and manhole covers, he exchanged words with a man on a moped who was undertaking him to his left.

As the man sped away, he aimed a kick at Chi's front wheel, leaving the cyclist struggling to maintain balance on the busy road.

"I was really shaken up," he told road.cc following the incident. "I was really holding on for dear life, making sure I didn't topple over."

Chi lodged a complaint with the police, and sent them a video of the incident - like many cyclists, he uses a helmet camera so that in the event of an incident involving a motor vehicle or pedestrian, he has something more than just his own word to fall back on.

The full video he sent to police can be seen here (contains some swearing).

The letter he received from the Traffic Criminal Justice section of the Metropolitan Policer Service's Operational Command Unit for the South East Region, reads:

I am writing concerning your complaint to police regarding the manner in which a motor vehicle bearing the registration mark GJ05FGF was ridden along New Kent Road @ 16:44 hours on the 16/01/2014.

I would advise you that it is the policy of the Metropolitan Police Service to investigate cases that have a realistic prospect of achieving a successful prosecution at court.

In view of the lack of independent witnesses to support your claim, we are unable to initiate proceedings on this occasion. However, the registered owner/keeper of the vehicle has been notified of your allegation and a record of the incident will be kept within this office.

Chi told us that the police response was "disappointing to say the least but I can't say I expect anything more."

One question the incident, and the police's reaction to it, does raise is just how seriously they take helmet camera footage, and why that should be seen as less acceptable than independent eyewitness testimony, which can be inaccurate depending on the person's recollection.

Another is that police regularly appeal to the public for help in catching suspects whose alleged crimes have been caught on CCTV, with no witnesses around, and where the footage is of much lower quality than that typically captured by helmet cameras.

In January 2012 we reported how motorist Scott Lomas was convicted of a public order offence after he threatened cyclist Martin Porter who was riding to work.

The Metropolitan Police only referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service after Porter had twice complained about their initial decision not to take action. despite his having provided them with helmet camera footage.

The fact that Porter is a Queen's Counsel, making him more suited than most to negotiating the criminal justice system, is likely to have been a factor in the case reaching its eventual conclusion.

72 user comments

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No matter the inadequacies of the CPS or police the fundamental problem remains the over-use of motorized vehicles and the alienated attitudes of their users. There's a classic Swedish road-safety story (scroll down after intro) which drivers should be made to read before they go out on the road. Car use is too normalized:

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/jan/31/to-kill-a-child/?insrc=...

"Afterward everything is too late. Afterward there is a blue car stopped sideways in the road, and a screaming woman takes her hand from her mouth, and it’s red with blood. Afterward a man opens a car door and tries to stand on his legs, even though he has a pit of horror within him. Afterward a few sugar cubes are strewn meaninglessly about in the blood and gravel, and a child lies motionless on its stomach, its face pressed heavily against the road. Afterward two pale people, who have not yet had their coffee, come running through a gate to see a sight in the road they will never forget. Because it’s not true that time heals all wounds. Time does not heal the wounds of a dead child, and it heals very poorly the pain of a mother who forgot to buy sugar and who sent her child across the road to borrow some. And it heals just as poorly the anguish of a once cheerful man who has killed a child."

posted by Ush [377 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 22:22

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over on Singletrackworld someone posted this link

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/motoring-news/smile-you...

from part way down the article:

"Paul Marshall, Suffolk's deputy chief constable, said: "Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions. This is welcomed by Association of Chief Police Officers as quite often the only evidence available is an eyewitness account which is disputed by the alleged offender."

so expect to see a lot of videos of cyclists riding two a breast and without helmets

posted by antigee [143 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 23:52

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I had just the same experience recently with video evidence - here's what Hertfordshire Police wrote to me on 15th October:

"Hello,

Thank you for your submission. Your email has been forwarded to our Process & Collisions department, who deal with this type of incident. I have asked them to reply to you direct.

Regards,

Herts Police"

Then on 17th January:

"I can confirm that this Unit took no action in relation to the allegation of Using a Mobile Phone whilst driving. This is because the driver of the vehicle was not stopped at the time by a Police Officer, was not reported and Cautioned by a Police Officer and the phone itself was not examined /checked by a Police Officer.

I note that you are to be contacted regarding the fact that the driver then wilfully drove at you causing fear and anxiety. When this has been done and the evidence considered a decision will be taken as to what action can be taken against the driver in relation to this incident."

I am still waiting for the phone call.

I suspect that the proliferation of cameras means that the Police don't have the resources to follow up on the evidence submitted to them. Furthermore the CPS pretty much can't be bothered to bring cases. Would not surprise me if many forces are disillusioned with them.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [275 posts]
4th February 2014 - 0:11

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userfriendly wrote:
Not enough that there are dangerous psychopaths on the road, what makes it so much worse are the work-shy twits in the police force covering for them. No time to do our jobs and protect people, there are donuts to eat!

Just one of the many things that are wrong with this society.

I hereby wish to retract this comment of mine further up in this thread. It was typed in frustration and anger. I don't think the police are the problem, in fact I believe that the vast majority of them are doing good and important work, and they could use more support and resources.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [201 posts]
4th February 2014 - 1:10

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Is it really the case that the police will do nothing unless there is a chance of successful prosecution? At the least, could they not call the scooter riding pillock in for a bollocking and to let him know his appalling behaviour will be kept on record?

posted by Jonny_Trousers [67 posts]
4th February 2014 - 1:42

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Well there's a surprise!

Can't help thinking that he may want to ditch the moped now though, as the reg plate is widely displayed on the interweb. Wink

TDL

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posted by tourdelound [80 posts]
4th February 2014 - 7:43

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So just to be clear, I can aim a kick at a police officer and so long as there's no "independent" witnesses, even if it's been recorded on cctv, I won't face prosecution ?

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [183 posts]
4th February 2014 - 9:36

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In days gone by this kind of thing would have been dealt with by vigilantes. If the dwindling faith in the police service to bring justice to bear continues further we may see such practices return.

I would prefer that the police have the resources and will to act, though it seems this is only likely to happen when it is one of their own involved - there was no video evidence in this recent case: http://road.cc/107764

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posted by Simon E [1882 posts]
4th February 2014 - 10:32

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This is a ridiculous situation. Without a willingness to even to attempt a prosecution for such a blatant attack, the law is providing no deterrence.

It's a failure of its function to protect the public.

posted by bikebot [380 posts]
4th February 2014 - 11:08

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stumps wrote:
As a serving Police officer i find this embarassing to say the least.

the comment "I would advise you that it is the policy of the Metropolitan Police Service to investigate cases that have a realistic prospect of achieving a successful prosecution at court."

Why ?

We investigate everything in my force, if there's not enough evidence fair enough, but at least we've tried. I would be happy to investigate this with the cctv evidence.

I'm glad to hear you say this - how on earth can they know if there is a realistic chance of prosecution if they don't investigate it. Surely this should be down to the CPS to decide anyway?

The problem with the Met treating cyclists as second class citizens is exactly what you see on this thread - a widespread lack of trust in the police. If they don't enforce the law then I wonder how long it will be before people take it into their own hands.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [139 posts]
4th February 2014 - 11:40

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Quote:

I'm glad to hear you say this - how on earth can they know if there is a realistic chance of prosecution if they don't investigate it. Surely this should be down to the CPS to decide anyway?

The CPS point is a good one. The last time I had help form the Police (an attempted bike theft) they were fantastic, but as often happens the CPS eventually decided not to bring the scallywags to court.

A few weeks later, by an almost random coincidence I spoke to one of the officers involved who was quite happy to moan about the CPS as well, and how much of their work goes largely to waste because of them. However annoying that may be, we can't have a situation where the Police themselves start abandoning cases so easily.

Even if the case ultimately fails, not bothering at all sends a terrible message. The seriousness of the crime, and the message it sends regarding road safety should be considered.

posted by bikebot [380 posts]
4th February 2014 - 11:55

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Quote:

I'm glad to hear you say this - how on earth can they know if there is a realistic chance of prosecution if they don't investigate it. Surely this should be down to the CPS to decide anyway?

The CPS point is a good one. The last time I had help form the Police (an attempted bike theft) they were fantastic, but as often happens the CPS eventually decided not to bring the scallywags to court.

A few weeks later, by an almost random coincidence I spoke to one of the officers involved who was quite happy to moan about the CPS as well, and how much of their work goes largely to waste because of them. However annoying that may be, we can't have a situation where the Police themselves start abandoning cases so easily.

Even if the case ultimately fails, not bothering at all sends a terrible message. The seriousness of the crime, and the message it may send regarding road safety should be considered.

posted by bikebot [380 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:12

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And how vigorous would the police have been had it been a pedestrian? A lot more I suspect. Sorry Met but your actions do little to dispel the motorists' accepted assumption that cyclists are second class citizens.

posted by matttheaudit [35 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:02

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This is pathetic!

It seems to me, having viewed the video a couple of times, that the very least the police could charge the moped rider with is driving without due care, because he clearly deliberately undertakes the cyclist.

I think most reasonable people would consider his actions dangerous (i.e. dangerous driving) and a less charitable interpretation might, in view of the proximity of nearby vehicular traffic in the outside lane, even amount to attempted murder.

While I accept the latter might be a stretch for the police & CPS to take on, the 3points plus fine of the lesser charge might at least act as a wake-up call to the idiot.

Andy

posted by cybernaut [5 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:28

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cybernaut wrote:

I think most reasonable people would consider his actions dangerous (i.e. dangerous driving) and a less charitable interpretation might, in view of the proximity of nearby vehicular traffic in the outside lane, even amount to attempted murder.

Sorry, but my faith in juries is as follows, why was the cyclist blocking the lane, what choice did the moped rider have but to go up the inside.

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posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:38

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mrmo wrote:
cybernaut wrote:

I think most reasonable people would consider his actions dangerous (i.e. dangerous driving) and a less charitable interpretation might, in view of the proximity of nearby vehicular traffic in the outside lane, even amount to attempted murder.

Sorry, but my faith in juries is as follows, why was the cyclist blocking the lane, what choice did the moped rider have but to go up the inside.

And of course to then kick out at him is completely justified as a method of trying to reposition the bike to its proper place... Although sadly i agree with your thoughts on jurys

posted by md6 [154 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:52

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md6 wrote:
mrmo wrote:
cybernaut wrote:

I think most reasonable people would consider his actions dangerous (i.e. dangerous driving) and a less charitable interpretation might, in view of the proximity of nearby vehicular traffic in the outside lane, even amount to attempted murder.

Sorry, but my faith in juries is as follows, why was the cyclist blocking the lane, what choice did the moped rider have but to go up the inside.

And of course to then kick out at him is completely justified as a method of trying to reposition the bike to its proper place... Although sadly i agree with your thoughts on jurys

"just letting the cyclist know I was there, he was obviously unaware what with the dark and rain, and Boris was on the news a week back telling us that all cyclists use headphones, so I knew that using the horn wouldn't work...."

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posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
4th February 2014 - 15:07

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Does that mean I can go kick a police officer and when that's filmed on shoulder cam expect to avoid prosecution?

Double standards as usual I expect.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [115 posts]
4th February 2014 - 21:29

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mrmo wrote:

Sorry, but my faith in juries is as follows, why was the cyclist blocking the lane, what choice did the moped rider have but to go up the inside.

Of course the moped rider has a 'choice', and that choice is to follow the rules of the road, or not - and he chose not. He should wait behind until a clear and safe place to overtake. Same as any other road user. That is no excuse for undertaking.

posted by jash [7 posts]
5th February 2014 - 9:51

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It's not just cyclists that the police can't get their act together for

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-shocking-moment-a-man...

posted by Huw Watkins [53 posts]
5th February 2014 - 10:17

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Has this been downloaded to youtube? A surprising amount have been and in some cases they have helped promote the case and final action taken (police/councils/government bodies) don't like too much bad publicity.

posted by Nevans [12 posts]
5th February 2014 - 11:12

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I have posted above on what I think should have happened (DD Charge ) and more realistically what could have been done by the Met without even breaking sweat. (Careless Driving FPN 3 points and £100) So I am all for going after the guy.

The difference though was that he kicked out toward the cyclist. Now up to the point that he actually connects it's not an RTC and it's not an assault. He may claim that he was making the gesture not trying to kick the wheel. They are different charges.

In the case of a cop with a camera the difference would be this. Kick towards a cop and it would be a public order offence, threatening behaviour. Actually kick the cop and it's assault.

Sentencing wise

Fear or threat of low level immediate unlawful violence
such as push, shove or spit = Low to medium level community order +Band B fine

so it's a threat therefore minimum of that lot.

Assaulting a police officer is a summary offence. The starting point is a custodial sentence 6 - 26 weeks.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [493 posts]
5th February 2014 - 11:22

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CTC's Road Justice campaign, which is calling for a much more robust response from the criminal justice system to crimes like this (and worse) would like to get in touch with the cyclist involved. If you're the cyclist or if you know them, please get in touch via the website contact form - http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/contact

The campaign has written to the Met police seeking a proper explanation of why no action was taken against the moped rider.

posted by Road Justice [1 posts]
5th February 2014 - 11:36

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Hang on a mo my friend. I just read that. The police did arrest and the CPS did prosecute someone but they were acquitted. That's not the police's fault. They did their bit.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [493 posts]
5th February 2014 - 13:52

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Neil753 wrote:
Whatever the "difficulties" proffered by the Police, what we should be doing is funding not just civil action, but "paid for" social media campaigns that target the likely peers of the individuals concerned, the effectiveness of which is something that even the Police are starting to recognise.

And of course, each successful civil claim also helps to illuminate the decidedly curious reluctance shown by the Police and the CPS to secure a proscecution for the common good.

The CTC (Cycle Touring Club of GB) have a legal section to fight for cyclists cases in relation to other road users and bodies. It might be worth passing this onto them.

----------------
I have now seen the posts just above which state this in a bit more detail - sorry.

posted by Nevans [12 posts]
5th February 2014 - 14:33

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Did they really? In addition to the event being filmed by another bus, all buses have cameras on board + witnesses

And they still couldn't present enough evidence to secure a conviction?

posted by Huw Watkins [53 posts]
5th February 2014 - 16:25

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Huw Watkins wrote:
Did they really? In addition to the event being filmed by another bus, all buses have cameras on board + witnesses

And they still couldn't present enough evidence to secure a conviction?

Hmmm.
So they had the video from the following bus. Tick
and they had the video from inside the bus that the chap was thrown out of. Tick
They presumably had the witness statement from the chap thrown out of the bus. Tick
And statements from any other witnesses. Tick

They passed these to the CPS. The CPS looked at them and thought they could get a conviction. The CPS brought the case to court. The court looked at the evidence. The defence put their side of it (whatever that was) the verdict was acquittal.

Possibilities:
The victim couldn't or wouldn't identify the perpetrator
The video in the bus didn't show anything.
The perpetrator was wearing a hoody or scarf and couldn't be seen on camera.
The person they arrested convinced the court that whoever it was on the bus it wasn't him.
One of the witnesses said something that undermined their credibility
or ......

So tell me again which bit the police got wrong?

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [493 posts]
5th February 2014 - 16:49

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jash wrote:
mrmo wrote:

Sorry, but my faith in juries is as follows, why was the cyclist blocking the lane, what choice did the moped rider have but to go up the inside.

Of course the moped rider has a 'choice', and that choice is to follow the rules of the road, or not - and he chose not. He should wait behind until a clear and safe place to overtake. Same as any other road user. That is no excuse for undertaking.

My interpretation of mrmo's post is they were merely pointing out with jaded realism how a typical jury (most likely packed with bad drivers!) would likely interpret this. I think your reply might be missing their point.

I recall that in high-profile US trials we hear a lot about jury-vetting, where admitted racists might be excluded from trials with racial elements, etc. Personally I'd like to see trials involving dangerous/aggressive behaviour from motorists have juries that we can be sure aren't full of Top Gear watching petrolheads! If a cyclist is the victim, then at least some of the jury should be cyclists or at the very least non-drivers!

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [617 posts]
6th February 2014 - 0:25

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Huw Watkins wrote:
Did they really? In addition to the event being filmed by another bus, all buses have cameras on board + witnesses

And they still couldn't present enough evidence to secure a conviction?

It isnt the Police's job to present the evidence to the court, thats the job of the cps barrister / solicitor. Get your facts right before making accusations.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2638 posts]
6th February 2014 - 3:45

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When they say lack of independant witnesses... Did they make any attempt to contact the bloke who rode up and discussed it having seen the whole thing?

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

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posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
7th February 2014 - 16:34

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