A police officer in Long Beach, California, recently told a group of BMX riders that they could not ride their bikes in a public park, which turned out not to be true (video below).
In the video, the officer told the bikers, “If you’re doing tricks up here I don’t care, but once you get off of this, you can’t ride your bikes down here. You can pass that word along. That will keep people from complaining to me and I won’t come talk to you.”
However, one of the riders, a young man named Sean and who filmed the officer, asked if the law had been changed. The officer informed him that it had been the law for "quite awhile," notes RawStory.com.
“16.16.502 is the civic sectional code that states you can ride your bicycles around out here,” Sean told the cop. “So I don’t know what law you are referring to.”
“OK, you want to go that way?” the officer replied. “We can go that way.”
“You want to pull out your civic code and you want to look up the code?” Sean added. “16.16.502 states that you can ride your bicycle out here.”
The officer asked Sean exactly where he is referring to, and Sean told him the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade, which was the entire area that the cop was referring to.
The officer then sarcastically asked: “So did you get your law degree on Facebook or where did you actually obtain that?”
So, do I have to have a law degree to be an informed citizen? Is that what you’re saying? It's wrong to be informed? It's wrong to know the law? ... I got it by knowing my rights. Is it wrong to know your rights as a citizen?
Because last time I checked, when officers come and try to invalidate your rights by telling you bulls--- laws and enforcing their opinions, that’s not what you are supposed to do. You're supposed to support the law.
And when the law says that you can ride your bikes out here, you have no business coming up and harassing anyone telling them they shouldn't ride their bikes.
After the cop mocked the harassment claim, Sean added: "When you tell someone to not ride their bike when they're legally able to ride their bike, yes, that is harassment. Your opinion is irrelevant. The law states we can ride our bikes. Now do you have anything else to say or are you going to leave us alone?”
The officer then walked away.
According to The Free Thought Project, Sean was right about the municipal code, but was slightly off on his reference.
The code is actually section 16.08.502: "Bicycle riding on the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade is prohibited in excess of three (3) miles per hour between the hours of ten o'clock (10:00) a.m. and ten o'clock (10:00) p.m., except City employees in the performance of their duties."