Video: "Excessive force" - Florida cop takes down Critical Mass cyclist

Second cyclist claims he was forced off bike by police motorcyclist at Fort Lauderdale ride

by Simon_MacMichael   June 7, 2014  

Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass

A policeman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been accused of using “excessive force” by a cyclist taking part in a Critical Mass ride who was knocked off his bike and wrestled to the ground by the officer. Another cyclist who was not taking part in the ride has described how he was forced off his bike by a police motorcyclist.

The incident took place on Friday 31 May, with footage subsequently uploaded to YouTube. It was the first time police had decided to use officers in cars and on motorcycles to seek to control the monthly ride.

The cyclist, 30-year-old accountant Dan Littell, said that the presence of police cars among the riders was dangerous and he had moved in front of one of them to try and make the driver slow down.

Quoted on NBCMiami.com, he said: "I yelled, 'Please slow down, we're on bikes here’."

When that didn’t happen, he ride in front of the police car. He explained he had done so "to block them to slow them down, because they weren't slowing down. They were driving recklessly."

Fort Lauderdale Police dispute his version of events, however. A spokeswoman said: "Keep in mind just because an officer is captured on video using force, that footage alone is not conclusive that the officer’s actions were not justified,

"Obviously, the video in question does not capture all of the events that took place leading up to the physical arrest, and we ask that the media and the public not make premature conclusions."

Police insist that prior to the cyclist’s arrest, he had been confrontational towards officers, including giving them the middle finger.

He has since been charged with obstruction, failure to obey a law enforcement officer, improper lane change, failure to yield and impeding traffic.

It wasn’t the only incident involving a police vehicle on the evening. One cyclist who was not even taking part in Critical Mass – he was commuting home from work – was knocked off his bike by a police motorcycle rider.

According to a blog post on the Broward-Palm Beach website, 23-year-old Rahim Benjamin was riding through Victoria Park when he came across the group of 900 cyclists.

He says that when the officer ordered him to join the group, and replied: “"I'm not in the Mass! I'm turning just up ahead."

The rider said he moved to the left-hand lane, which had been closed to oncoming traffic and had almost reached his turning when the police officer on the motorbike turned sharply across him, forcing a collision.

Witness Christopher Lloyd, a neighbour of Benjamin’s, said: “Ra got up screaming and shouting, and I stepped in there and pushed them apart.

"A female officer showed up on the scene and started responding very professionally. She nodded her head and gave me the OK to calm him down before she engaged him again."

Benjamin has been fined for failing to obey an instruction to change lanes, but plans to contest it. He claimed: "Once I was off my bike, he [the officer] grabbed me and just chucked me.

"I was just going five miles per hour more than the pace of the ride, so that's kind of frightening.

He added: "I have to deal with idiots on the road all the time, and someone wearing a badge doesn't know that if he touches a 150-pound kid on a 20-pound bike with a motorcycle that his life might hang in the balance?"

25 user comments

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" we ask that the media and the public not make premature conclusions."

So what do Road.cc do.....repost it with the video and the comments section OPEN.

This is a 35 second video which shows nothing but a take down and arrest. Just like they would take down a fleeing bank robber or whatever.

I would like to see the police on board footage....also others footage of him "asking" the police to slow down and all that lead up to this and THEN we can judge things for ourselves.

Think about that before you come with all the sh*t comments I fully expect from people who take that 35 second clip as the full incident.....

Waits..... Yawn Yawn Yawn Yawn

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9039 posts]
7th June 2014 - 18:44

32 Likes

So the accountant was
A). Armed and threatening
B). Dealing drugs while cycling
C). A member of the Ft Lauderdale chapter of Al Quada
D). An accountant on a bike making it clear that a copper in a car was driving recklessly.

Btw I live in Surrey but lived and worked In Ft Lauderdale ( yellow tap water) for several years.

Thank god for British cops. Clock the boots. Says it all really.

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

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
7th June 2014 - 20:09

18 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:

This is a 35 second video which shows nothing but a take down and arrest. Just like they would take down a fleeing bank robber or whatever.

Yeah, I think that's the whole point, isn't it? Taking him down like a bank robber, whereas in fact he's an accountant riding along at about 4 mph at a cycle event.

posted by Bikebikebike [96 posts]
7th June 2014 - 20:57

23 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
" we ask that the media and the public not make premature conclusions."

So what do Road.cc do.....repost it with the video and the comments section OPEN.

This is a 35 second video which shows nothing but a take down and arrest. Just like they would take down a fleeing bank robber or whatever.

I would like to see the police on board footage....also others footage of him "asking" the police to slow down and all that lead up to this and THEN we can judge things for ourselves.

Think about that before you come with all the sh*t comments I fully expect from people who take that 35 second clip as the full incident.....

Waits..... Yawn Yawn Yawn Yawn


The video is on youtube with comments so restricting comments here is hardly going to achieve anything... Comments or no comments, people will still judge the 35 seconds if they were going to.

He was going less than half the speed of a fleeing bank robber, does charging at him and tackling him off his bike really seem a reasonable and necessary way to stop the rider? They could've jogged along side him, took control of his bars and used the brake levers to stop him. or just asked him to stop.

posted by Swindaloo [16 posts]
7th June 2014 - 21:13

24 Likes

Told you....people flock to things like this....lock the comments now. let them go rant sh*t on youtube.

You or I know nothing about it. You can say, he was riding slow, he was an accountant....that has nothing to do with it.

What did he do to be arrested? We get his side and a little bit from the police, but that cannot make a full story...

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9039 posts]
7th June 2014 - 21:21

13 Likes

Does seem to be excessive force to use though, totally inappropriate and disproportionate. I hope the cyclist brings a civil action against the thug in uniform and gets millions of $$$$$$$ in compensation.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [490 posts]
7th June 2014 - 21:36

19 Likes

Airzound wrote:
Does seem to be excessive force to use though, totally inappropriate and disproportionate. I hope the cyclist brings a civil action against the thug in uniform and gets millions of $$$$$$$ in compensation.

"inappropriate and disproportionate"

You can tell that from 35 seconds of video....what if he had a weapon? Can you see that....WE DONT KNOW what happened.

As for a civil action. He has been arrested and charged with a crime, don't think he'll have a case for being in the wrong in the first place...

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9039 posts]
7th June 2014 - 21:41

16 Likes

Oh look, there is a "full version" video aswell. Where you get no more idea what happened. as for the police car, it is travelling at the same speed as the cyclists....

http://youtu.be/0PQolU7yFkQ

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9039 posts]
7th June 2014 - 21:57

10 Likes

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough playing?

Disco lights on your bike wheels?

That cop's boots at the end?

THIS IS A VIDEO FROM 1979!

posted by paulmcmillan [82 posts]
7th June 2014 - 22:40

13 Likes

ha ha lush. Nice take down Applause

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2845 posts]
8th June 2014 - 2:50

5 Likes

Where is he hiding the gun? Excessive force. If the police officer thought he had a gun then he would have pulled his. This is just another copper getting his violence fix.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [173 posts]
8th June 2014 - 7:41

15 Likes

Well that sure stopped him - well done.
If he needed arresting and wouldn't stop then tough on him - although shooting his tyres out would have been more entertaining.
His job or the fact that he was riding a bike doesn't absolve him.

Forum rudeness is for the weak - pity them.

posted by Eebijeebi [84 posts]
8th June 2014 - 10:08

7 Likes

After watching the longer version it does rather look like a random take-out. Can't see what if anything he was doing wrong. Thinking

posted by levermonkey [395 posts]
8th June 2014 - 13:05

6 Likes

ragtag wrote:
Where is he hiding the gun? Excessive force. If the police officer thought he had a gun then he would have pulled his. This is just another copper getting his violence fix.

GUN? Who mentioned a gun? I said weapon, which you could even use a bike as a weapon if you wanted....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9039 posts]
8th June 2014 - 14:20

2 Likes

oink oink

posted by anarchy [60 posts]
8th June 2014 - 20:53

7 Likes

ragtag wrote:
Where is he hiding the gun? Excessive force. If the police officer thought he had a gun then he would have pulled his. This is just another copper getting his violence fix.
Funny you should use the word "copper" as in the states they are not coppers they are simply armed paramilitaries who enforce the law through force of arms and assaulting the public to ensure compliance has always been the way - over here it's simply not lawful to do that.

People slag off our police service in the UK and constantly equate their actions with that of US policing but the two truly are miles apart. The yanks have not the first clue as to how the principles of policing as laid down by Peel actually work.

There have been massive amounts of federal money and surplus military kit thrown at police departments in the US since 9/11, it's turned them nasty as they constantly think there is some reason to use all that hardware. Hence the combat boot wearing steroid heads who think that a successful arrest involves bouncing some ones face off a concrete pavement.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
9th June 2014 - 9:28

7 Likes

We don't know what happened. Indeed. If he had tried to physically harm a police officer before the incident, then fair play to the guy who did take him down. He was risking his life taking down a violent offender.

If he hadn't tried to harm anyone beforehand, then the take-down is massively over the top and violent itself.

I'd like to say that the truth will out, but I'd be highly surprised if the police didn't close ranks no matter what had gone on beforehand.

I think that the comments here reflect the readers' attitudes to the police. Mine do, and are largely informed by my dealings with the UK police.

posted by Bikebikebike [96 posts]
9th June 2014 - 11:33

2 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Told you....people flock to things like this....lock the comments now. let them go rant sh*t on youtube.

You or I know nothing about it. You can say, he was riding slow, he was an accountant....that has nothing to do with it.

What did he do to be arrested? We get his side and a little bit from the police, but that cannot make a full story...

Whether the police had cause to arrest him isn't the point. I don't know if they did or didn't. It's the manner of the arrest which is the issue. Order him to stop let him get of his bike. tell him why he is being arrested , read him his rights, put cuffs on if you have to then put him in the back of the car. Can all be done without resort to this kind of nonsense.

Having lived in Ft Lauderdale you have to be very suspicious of people that are willing to wear the kind of clobber that passes for police uniform. Whilst the police do need to wear a uniform this kind of get up seems almost designed to attract the wrong sort of people into the police.

I can imagine the meeting where it was decided.

"OK then, that's sorted. It's the Sam Browne belts and riding boots to get that authentic Munich 1936 feel, that should attract some of the real nutters in. Now hats....."

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

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
9th June 2014 - 12:00

6 Likes

Bikebikebike wrote:
We don't know what happened. Indeed. If he had tried to physically harm a police officer before the incident, then fair play to the guy who did take him down. He was risking his life taking down a violent offender.

If he hadn't tried to harm anyone beforehand, then the take-down is massively over the top and violent itself.

I'd like to say that the truth will out, but I'd be highly surprised if the police didn't close ranks no matter what had gone on beforehand.

I think that the comments here reflect the readers' attitudes to the police. Mine do, and are largely informed by my dealings with the UK police.

There is no fair play involved as he used a choke hold and then persisted in trying to force the guys head down with an arm across his neck. Only when he noticed the camera did he stop trying to choke the piss out of him with the first choke hold.

I don't care if the guy committed a breach of the peace or robbed a bank it's simply not acceptable to use neck pressure to restrain people.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
9th June 2014 - 12:46

11 Likes

MKultra wrote:
[
There is no fair play involved as he used a choke hold and then persisted in trying to force the guys head down with an arm across his neck. Only when he noticed the camera did he stop trying to choke the piss out of him with the first choke hold.

I don't care if the guy committed a breach of the peace or robbed a bank it's simply not acceptable to use neck pressure to restrain people.

Oh for goodness sake get a life man, control the head and you have total control of the person, its common practice unless of course your willing to stand toe to toe wrestling with someone violent because we mustn't touch the precious head.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2845 posts]
9th June 2014 - 14:15

1 Like

stumps wrote:
MKultra wrote:
[
There is no fair play involved as he used a choke hold and then persisted in trying to force the guys head down with an arm across his neck. Only when he noticed the camera did he stop trying to choke the piss out of him with the first choke hold.

I don't care if the guy committed a breach of the peace or robbed a bank it's simply not acceptable to use neck pressure to restrain people.

Oh for goodness sake get a life man, control the head and you have total control of the person, its common practice unless of course your willing to stand toe to toe wrestling with someone violent because we mustn't touch the precious head.

No it's not common practice.

Choke holds are not on for some very obvious reasons, they don't teach them to police officers anymore full stop, prior to some very public law suits following a lot of deaths. A lot of US forces used to use batons to choke suspects as well. Take downs are taught using leg strikes not choke holds, the officer on tape just demonstrated he is a badly trained thug who watches too much UFC. "Controlling the head" (which runs the risk of getting bitten) is not the same thing as obstructing someones wind pipe. They don't teach choke holds as part of arrest and restraint - ever. Even a Taser is safer than a choke hold.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
10th June 2014 - 8:29

7 Likes

MKuklra, lol you do live in the dark ages dont you.

What we get taught as per the guidelines is nothing like actually dealing with someone who is kicking off when you have to make a snap decision and its not all nicey nicey perfect hand holds and the offender taking hold of you in the "correct place" to complete an arm entaglement or a goose neck or thumb lock as per the guidelines.

You do what is necessary as long as you can justify why you did it and regardless what you think head control is important and to be perfectly honest i will use a choke hold if it means myself or a colleague doesnt get hurt by some numpty who you seem to want to protect.

The only thing you have to be careful of is positional asphyxia.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2845 posts]
10th June 2014 - 9:01

15 Likes

stumps wrote:
MKuklra, lol you do live in the dark ages dont you.

What we get taught as per the guidelines is nothing like actually dealing with someone who is kicking off when you have to make a snap decision and its not all nicey nicey perfect hand holds and the offender taking hold of you in the "correct place" to complete an arm entaglement or a goose neck or thumb lock as per the guidelines.

You do what is necessary as long as you can justify why you did it and regardless what you think head control is important and to be perfectly honest i will use a choke hold if it means myself or a colleague doesnt get hurt by some numpty who you seem to want to protect.

The only thing you have to be careful of is positional asphyxia.

Protecting a numpty?

From that attitude I am guessing door man or security guard, who funnily enough the British police love doing for assault.

Once you decide to detain a person you then have a duty of care, choke holds used to ensure compliance are simply not on.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
10th June 2014 - 9:11

2 Likes

MKultra wrote:
stumps wrote:
MKuklra, lol you do live in the dark ages dont you.

What we get taught as per the guidelines is nothing like actually dealing with someone who is kicking off when you have to make a snap decision and its not all nicey nicey perfect hand holds and the offender taking hold of you in the "correct place" to complete an arm entaglement or a goose neck or thumb lock as per the guidelines.

You do what is necessary as long as you can justify why you did it and regardless what you think head control is important and to be perfectly honest i will use a choke hold if it means myself or a colleague doesnt get hurt by some numpty who you seem to want to protect.

The only thing you have to be careful of is positional asphyxia.

Protecting a numpty?

From that attitude I am guessing door man or security guard, who funnily enough the British police love doing for assault.

Once you decide to detain a person you then have a duty of care, choke holds used to ensure compliance are simply not on.

Wrong, Stumps is a policeman.

But me on the other hand, used to be a "door man" and I have to agree with Stumps, getting head control is the easiest way to control any person. I'm only 5"10 and not massively built. I've had control of guys 6"6 and over, just be getting them to the ground and gaining head control.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9039 posts]
10th June 2014 - 9:26

1 Like

Watching to full video, the level of aggresion shown by the cop seems excessive.

I suspect that the truth of the matter is that the rider said something that the cop didn't like and the reaction caught on tape was fueled by emotion rather than any sense of duty or desire to uphold the law. I could be totally wrong but its difficult to defend such a brutal attack based on the evidence available to us.

Furthermore, I can't imagine that the police have a lot of love for CM rides in the first place.

posted by Matt eaton [490 posts]
10th June 2014 - 22:02

2 Likes