Dan Littell was crossing Las Olas bridge as part of last night's Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass when a police vehicle whizzed by him and his fellow riders. He knew bridges were particularly dangerous places for cyclists in an already inhospitable town. In the past, Littell had been hit on both Sunrise Bridge and an overpass on Broward Boulevard near I-95.
So seeing a cop car flagrantly speed down a bridge crowded with cyclists compelled him to say something. "Slow down!" he shouted at the driver, just as he would have with any other person making the road unsafe.
But when that didn't work, Littell says he moved in front of the car, forcing its driver to keep his pace.
"There were kids on the ride," the 30-year-old explains. "Anyone could have swerved in."
Tempers flared once the car reached the end of the bridge. "The cop slammed on his brakes to try and get other bikes to hit him," Littell claims. "And when the ride slowed down, he tackled me."
Although the alleged unsafe driving wasn't caught on video, the aftermath was. In a video that appeared on YouTube this afternoon, a cop tackles and arrests Littell as Michael Jackson plays in the background. He was booked on a litany of charges, including riding two abreast and resisting arrest.
Although calls to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department were not immediately returned, one Reddit commenter had this to say about the video:
We'll update this post if the police to share their side of what happened.
Littell says that he has some bruises on his back and his legs and that he can't feel his fingers. He's confident he can beat the case against him, though.
"Seeing this guy speed past me, I did what I had to do," he says. "It's like an intimidation thing. They don't want us out here."
UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale public information officer DeAnna Greenlaw released this statement to Pulp on Monday:
"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.
As of this writing, we have not been contacted by the arrested individual nor have any eyewitnesses contacted us to provide any independent information other than what is seen in the video. Whether or not the arrested individual files a complaint, all incidents where an officer utilizes physical force undergoes an administrative review based on the available documentation.
The Department does not have any other footage of this incident."
Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti
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