Moral of the story: The NYPD has no sense of humor. After stopping a bicyclist for riding on the sidewalk, a particular sore spot in New York, a passerby starts teasing the cyclist, saying, “You know that’s against the law!” The police then come out of their van and demand the identification of the smart-alec, turning a routine stop into a major confrontation that eventually required at least a half-dozen officers to handle. While six of New York City’s finest arrest a man for having a big mouth, another man who is obviously either drunk or stoned stumbles out into traffic — and none of the police officers bother to notice:
Video uploaded to YouTube yesterday shows a cyclist on the corner of Claver Place and Putnam Avenue in Brooklyn in the company of an NYPD van, after being stopped for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, part of theNYPD’s sustained crakdown on cyclists. Just this morning, The New York Post reports a woman on the Upper East Side was given a ticket for riding with a tote bag strapped onto her handlebars.
Passersby good naturedly gave the Brooklyn scofflaw hard time. “Riding on the sidewalk, huh?” one asked. “You a grown man,” another told him, “you know that’s against the law!”
An officer in the van took issue with this particular bystander, telling him to “mind your own business.” “I wasn’t even talking to you!” the boisterous witness responded. And with that, the officers hopped out of the van and approached, demanding, “give me some I.D.!” “Get your hands out of my face,” the bystander responded. “I’m gonna issue you a summons right now,” the officer continued. “A summons for what?” the bystander demanded to know. A call for backup is made, and the witness recording the scene remarks “the NYPD is crazy.” It was at this time the officer and bystander realized where the situation was headed and decided to apologize to each other and defuse the situation. Just kidding! Actually, the situation went from ridiculous to outrageous.
From ridiculous to outrageous to … Fellini-esque. Whoever “Eddie” is (and it’s not me!), he will now be the gold standard against which all police interventions are measured. Whenever any police officers think about arresting someone for a minor offense, they should be thinking, Does this meet the Eddie standard?, as in Does this situation merit as much concern as an intoxicated man walking in traffic? If not, perhaps the police should focus on those threats to public safety rather than waste the time of six officers to arrest a single wise guy. By my calculation, the NYPD will need about 45 million cops at that ratio to wipe the scourge of smart-alecness off the streets of the Big Apple.