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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the off-the-hook dept.

The Courts 463

Frosty P writes The LA County District Attorney's Office declined to press charges against a sheriff's deputy who was apparently distracted by his mobile digital computer when he fatally struck cyclist and former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in Calabasas last December. The deputy was responding to routine work email when he drifted into the bike lane and struck and killed Mr. Olin. An official with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said it is launching its own probe into the deputy’s behavior.

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yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47800135)

if me or you did this, we would be locked up on vehicular manslaughter

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 4 months ago | (#47800151)

To be locked up over this is right. Whoever decide that this idiot could walk away from it without being sued should be fired. From a cannon. Into the sun.

Re:yet if we did it (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 4 months ago | (#47800167)

> sued

*prosecuted, even.

Re:yet if we did it (0)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 4 months ago | (#47800215)

Sorry. Not being native and neither a lawyer my grasp of these things is limited. What's the difference? (honestly, I want to know in order to prevent misusing them in the future)

Re:yet if we did it (5, Informative)

Fuzion (261632) | about 4 months ago | (#47800251)

Sorry. Not being native and neither a lawyer my grasp of these things is limited. What's the difference? (honestly, I want to know in order to prevent misusing them in the future)

Being sued is in a civil lawsuit, usually for some monetary amount (for example by the family of the cyclist), whereas being prosecuted is for a criminal case, with potential prison time (by the district attorney).

Re:yet if we did it (3, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47800187)

well to be fair, im sure a civil case is going to happen. Its just sick. I wonder if there will be any riots over this one

Re:yet if we did it (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 4 months ago | (#47800245)

well to be fair, im sure a civil case is going to happen. Its just sick. I wonder if there will be any riots over this one

Nah. It was wrong, but people generally don't riot over the death of a rich dude.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#47800297)

well to be fair, im sure a civil case is going to happen. Its just sick. I wonder if there will be any riots over this one

Nah. It was wrong, but people generally don't riot over the death of a rich dude.

Rich white dude.

Anyway it is slightly different that shooting some guy with his hands up, or shooting some guy running away - a pretty standard cop thing. The guy is just as dead, and the point is that the cop was negligent yet being held to different - much lower - standard that a citizen. One expects cops to be held to higher standards, but we find that it just isn't so.

Re:yet if we did it (4, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47800437)

How many riots over rich black dudes have there been?

Re:yet if we did it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800313)

Yea, the riots only occur if the victim was also non-white.

Re:yet if we did it (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | about 4 months ago | (#47800507)

we're generally more willing to believe a tragedy was accidental and not the result of systemic problems between the police and a particular community when it was accidental and not the result of systemic problems between the police and a particular community.

Re:yet if we did it (2)

carld (460344) | about 4 months ago | (#47800217)

I'm sure there will be civil suits filed against the officer and his employer regarding improper training, supervision, etc.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800241)

That is not enough. He killed a man. It was his fault the man is dead and there is no ambiguity about that. Being in a position of authority means he should be held to a *higher* standard, not get a free pass on manslaughter.

Throw him in a cage and replace him with someone competent!

Re:yet if we did it (1)

ziggystarsky (3586525) | about 4 months ago | (#47800491)

... and replace him with someone competent!

And how would you do that exactly?

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

FSWKU (551325) | about 4 months ago | (#47800197)

The funny (messed up funny, not amusing funny) thing is one of the suggested links I see at the top of the page: "33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater"

That's right. In today's society, you can get more prison time for recording a movie than for killing someone through criminal negligence.

Re:yet if we did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800343)

Copyright infringement? My God, that's worse than murder!

Re:yet if we did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800371)

Fuck. Holy fucking fuck.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800445)

I see that your post contains part of the script to Boondock Saints. It is a copyright violation, would you please remove your post.

Re:yet if we did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800499)

Give it a few more years, you can really start complaining when they sue the victims family for property damage.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 4 months ago | (#47800199)

Well, duh. Let's state the obvious. Police are not governed by the same laws that apply to you and me. *Technically* they are but time and again we see cops getting paid leave as their sole form of punishment for egregious crimes. Does anyone really think the cop that strangled to death the guy in Brooklyn who was pleading the whole time "I can't breath" is going to see a day in prison? Puh-lease.

The only way to reign in the renegade and abusive behaviour of American police is to apply the law to them exactly the same way it is applied to citizens. That psychopath in Ferguson who pointed an automatic at people while shouting "I'm going to fucking kill you"? He should be up on charges for that, not allowed to quietly resign with pension.

Anyways, that's enough day-dreaming.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | about 4 months ago | (#47800291)

Paid leave is what really irritates me.

Paid leave = paid vacation = reward.

Why reward somebody who is under investigation? Would your boss pay your salary if you were being investigated?

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#47800323)

Why reward somebody who is under investigation?

Precisely because they are under investigation - to not pay them means the investigators and the employers have taken a particular stance, and also it would be extremely easy to harm someone by making a false accusation against them. Any accusation that leads to an investigation means the target is out of pocket, regardless of the end result.

Re:yet if we did it (1)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 4 months ago | (#47800477)

Please. Citizen complaints against cops go nowhere. These "accusations" that you refer to which result in the heavy-handed paid leave are often of the sort where the cop is filmed strangling, beating, or shooting someone. Were it not for cops being filmed I've little doubt that the guy who strangled the Brooklyn man would be back on the beat.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

kencurry (471519) | about 4 months ago | (#47800211)

No, if you or I did this, we are violating the LAW.

When the brave officer did this, he was just doing his VERY DANGEROUS JOB. /sarcasm

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | about 4 months ago | (#47800307)

Look, the dead guy should just consider himself lucky he's not being tried post-mortem for getting in the way of an officer.

Re:yet if we did it (2)

Andrewkov (140579) | about 4 months ago | (#47800443)

I heard his family got a bill for the damage to the police car..

Re:yet if we did it (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47800455)

Or bleeding on the officer.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800517)

Funny you say that because the officer initially claim that the bicycle swerved into his path causing the accident:

http://bikinginla.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/JSID_wood.pdf

Re:yet if we did it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800235)

if me or you did this, we would be locked up on vehicular manslaughter

That's not the point though, this isn't a case of "this deputy just hit a person and killed them".

Facts:
1. The deputy was operating an electronic device in a moving vehicle.
2. This was within standard operating procedure for the deputy.
3. While doing a prescribed activity, the deputy drifted and killed an individual.

Therefore, if the deputy was not instructed or given the opportunity to answer his email in a moving vehicle this would never have happened. In this instance, you'll probably find that the deputies are overworked and are forced to juggle paperwork while moving between scenes. The only logical conclusion to be reached is that in the normal course of his duty a deputy broke a law. Generally, when it comes to law enforcement there are rules that allow them to do this and in this specific instance it is most probable there is some insidious political reason that the DA declined to press charges.

LEOs are in a completely different boat when it comes to them being susceptible to certain laws and in this case I feel the law was not applied unjustly. The family will have a right of recourse against the state through the civil system and the procedure for answering emails has probably changed.

Do not apply your emotions to the law, that is not how it works.

Re:yet if we did it (4, Informative)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47800311)

im not applying emotions to the law, im applying the law to the law. If you or I were texting or emailing in our cars, we get a fine, If we kill someone, its homicide.

if this was SOP, than it shouldnt be any longer, and as such the training was bad if it allows cops to break the law in such a way and new training should be in place that says "stop driving to respond to an email, if you need to radio it in" cops have radios for a reason, use them

I understand that the findings show that in this case he was following procedure, but said procedure caused the loss of life, whoever signed off on said procedure should also be held accountable.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 4 months ago | (#47800317)

"This was within standard operating procedure for the deputy."

So what you are saying is there are at least two people who should go to jail for manslaughter. The person or people who said to do this, and the officer who was negligent enough to follow the procedure.

Re:yet if we did it (5, Insightful)

crakbone (860662) | about 4 months ago | (#47800363)

distracted driving is against the law. As well as hitting someone with your car. Just because he did it while reading an official email should not exclude him from the other laws. Ultimately he is the only one who can determine if the environment is safe for him to operate that computer and drive. He failed. It cost a life. He needs to pay a price for that.

Re:yet if we did it (3, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47800479)

LEOs are in a completely different boat when it comes to them being susceptible to certain laws

What the fuck are you talking about?

Is distracted driving illegal? Yes.
Is it illegal if you're a LEO? Yes.
Is vehicular homicide illegal? Yes.
Is it illegal if you're a LEO? Yes.

Are the laws different if you're a LEO? No.
Will you be *prosecuted* differently if you're a LEO? Yes.

Re:yet if we did it (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#47800255)

if me or you did this, we would be locked up on vehicular manslaughter

I had said that in the story submission, but the "editors" took it out.

Re:yet if we did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800421)

Yep, now I know if I accidentally run over a cop while checking a work email driving my car it's no big.

Re:yet if we did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800423)

There are a huge number of cases where a driver of a car striking a cyclist isn't punished. An adult riding a bicycle in the US is automatically considered doing something wrong.

Police State of USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800487)

If you're not cop (or 1%'er), you're little people.

Because laws only apply to little people. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800147)

People have gotten life in prison for this exactly.

makes sense (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800157)

He was on his mobile digital computer at the time, it's hardly his fault.

Re:makes sense (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47800257)

Why did parent got modded down?
You did not find the 'sarcasm' mod option?
he is rather insightful, if not funny!

Every cop gets one. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800159)

You're allowed to kill one person illegally. You might get fired but you'll have no criminal record. Every cop gets one kill, free of charge.

Legalized Murder (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800165)

How many times is the police going to get away with murder this month?

Re:Legalized Murder (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800175)

Until you rise the fuck up.

Re:Legalized Murder (2)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 4 months ago | (#47800247)

I'm starting to feel that way more and more.

Re:Legalized Murder (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#47800377)

Until you rise the fuck up.

Bloody freeloader.

Re:Legalized Murder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800465)

I'm not in your country. If I rose up, it wouldn't do a damn thing about your problem.

Re:Legalized Murder (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 4 months ago | (#47800441)

Until you rise the fuck up.

Says the AC...

Re:Legalized Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800249)

Come on man, i bet those coppers have prevented a dozen murders each. Surely they can fuck around and have one civilian killed without punishment. I mean if he was downloading a car while killing the civilian, i mean that's just, that's just soooo evil. For the downloading he should get 1000 years upside down. Just make him appologize and let us civilians take the wrap.

Re:Legalized Murder (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800385)

The cyclist and the Michael Brown shooting could not be more different, and that completely ignores race (I don't know the race of the cyclist, but I assume they were white).

For starters, the story acknowledges that the officer was negligent during the act. However, all Ferguson sources that are not friends of the victim backup the police's story, which suggests that the shooting was not negligent or otherwise illegal.

Re:Legalized Murder (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#47800495)

The majority of the sources I saw seemed to side with the Michael Brown, and other information suggests at least severe negligence on the part of the officer.

Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800189)

State Trooper in MA shot a woman in the head and faced no charges or disicpline.

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/01/01/hunter-in-norton-shoots-woman-he-mistook-for-deer/

Disgusting!

pelvis (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#47800223)

> in the head

The story says pelvis, which matches the proper height for a heart shot at a deer.

Re:pelvis (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47800281)

Here's also what the story says:
"State Police said in a statement that Bergeron, an experienced hunter who lives in the area, did not see the victim, and mistook the tails of her two dogs as the tail of a deer."

So this "experienced hunter" can't tell the difference between the ass end of TWO dogs and a deer??
If he's telling the truth, he shouldn't be allowed to hunt unaccompanied AND when it's not well-lit.

Re:pelvis (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47800295)

You must have very small Deer in the US.
The smallest Deer in Germany is a 'Reh', which has its head easily on the level of a human heart or higher.

Re: pelvis (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 4 months ago | (#47800419)

They get pretty large here in the States, as well. Apparently he thought he was aiming at a young deer...

Re: pelvis (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800451)

Ha! Deer are plenty big in the US, but apparently you don't hunt. No one aims for the head -- we aim for the heart because the body is a bigger target.

Re:pelvis (2, Funny)

LiENUS (207736) | about 4 months ago | (#47800493)

You must have very small Deer in the US.

US deer are grazers so their heads tend to be low to the ground despite standing much taller. We dont have carnivorous deer that go for our hearts like you seem to have in Germany.

Re:pelvis (3, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47800459)

I've known some backwoods types, but when you start confusing a deer's hindquarters and a woman's pelvis, it's time to get into town more!

From the linked article... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800207)

Olin, a prominent entertainment attorney, was riding his bicycle in the 22400 block of Mulholland Highway when he was struck by L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood’s patrol car in the bicycle lane on the afternoon of Dec. 8. The former A&M Records and Napster executive reportedly landed on the windshield and shattered the glass before rolling off the patrol car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wood, a 16-year department veteran, was returning from a fire call at Calabasas High School at the time of the collision.

“Wood entered the bicycle lane as a result of inattention caused by typing into his (Mobile Digital Computer),” according to the declination letter prepared by the Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney’s Office and released Wednesday. “He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed. Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.”

The law does not prohibit officers from using an electronic wireless communications device in the performance of their duties, according to the letter. Furthermore, prosecutors said it was “reasonable” that Wood would have felt that an immediate response was necessary so that a Calabasas deputy wouldn’t unnecessarily respond to the high school.

To establish the crime of vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wood was criminally negligent. While GPS records show the deputy was driving three miles per hour over the speed limit prior to the collision, investigators could not determine his speed at the time of impact. And while Wood was texting shortly before the collision, there was no evidence he was texting or doing anything else that would have distracted him at the time of the collision, according to the letter.

In fact, evidence indicates Wood’s personal cellphone was only in use while his patrol car was not in motion, the letter stated.

“Wood briefly took his eyes away from the road precisely when the narrow roadway curved slightly to the left without prior warning, causing him to inadvertently travel straight into the bike lane, immediately striking Olin,” the letter from the DA’s Office stated.

Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said he was disappointed to see a clearly distracted law enforcement officer escape charges on what he called a technicality.

“Just because the law allows someone to do something while driving doesn’t mean they are allowed to do something unsafely while driving,” Bruins said. “Hitting someone from behind is very clear evidence that whatever was going on in that car was not safe and should have been considered negligent.”

Olin’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in July against the county, the Sheriff’s Department and the deputy, alleging driver negligence and seeking to obtain more information about the incident.

In a civil case the standard of proof is only “by a preponderance of the evidence” rather than the much higher standard of proving negligence beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors said.

According to the Sheriff’s Department’s own policies and procedures involving the operation of a vehicle, “members shall always employ defensive driving techniques to avoid or prevent a collision” and shall not operate vehicles “in an unsafe or negligent manner.”

Re:From the linked article... (4, Insightful)

SpzToid (869795) | about 4 months ago | (#47800373)

I like bicycles so much I don't have a driver's license. But who on Earth would risk their life riding a bike, (for whatever sensible reason), when professional idiots kill bicyclists riding peacefully and safely?

Re:From the linked article... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#47800397)

Enough of your "facts"! I want to be unambiguously outraged!

Re:From the linked article... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47800511)

The true line of bullshit.

“Wood briefly took his eyes away from the road precisely when the narrow roadway curved slightly to the left without prior warning, causing him to inadvertently travel straight into the bike lane, immediately striking Olin,” the letter from the DA’s Office stated.

Manslaughter? Murder with intent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800209)

The deputy "CHOSE" to work on e-mail, while driving. - That proves intent.
The deputy "CHOSE" to drive while distracted. - That proves malicious intent.
The deputy should be put to death for murder with intent to kill.
Choices have consequences, his choices caused the death of someone, because he's a cop, the consequences should be quadrupled over a standard citizen.

He should be killed, wait for his heart to stop, then brought back so he can be killed again, until the 4th death, then left to rot.

Re:Manslaughter? Murder with intent... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47800329)

comments like yours do not help solve the real issues. yes this man made a mistake, but mistakes do have consequences. vehicular manslaughter fits the crime, not first degree murder, and sure as hell not kill the man bring him back and kill him again

Re:Manslaughter? Murder with intent... (1)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#47800399)

More realistically... why was this police officer alone in the car, yet expected to respond to messages? Either he should be accompanied by another officer (best solution), or equipped with entirely hands-free equipment so he would never have to take his eyes off the road.

Of course the real abuse in this case is that the prosecuting authorities have discretion as to whether to indict. It is disgraceful that an official should decide that there should be no prosecution, and that's it. But that is the current system; it needs to be changed.

How do you "decide not to press charges"? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47800221)

I mean, doesn't the person whose rights were infringed on have to make that call? And since that person is apparently now dead, how can they just somehow arbitrarily decide that charges should be dropped?

He acted lawfully??? (2)

BrianSoCal (1519721) | about 4 months ago | (#47800225)

From the article -> “He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed. Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.” So by this same logic - if was typing on his computer and rammed his car into a McDonalds and killed 10 people, this would have been lawful too??? If I'm not mistaken, if you do a separate act lawfully, if you do a second act like reckless driving as a result of the first - you're still liable for the second act. If you drink a coffee lawfully and spill it on yourself and then jump lanes and hit a semi and kill 4 people - you don't think you'd get hit with vehicular manslaughter?? And what your argument would be I was drinking coffee lawfully so lets throw this case out of court? Geez....

Re:He acted lawfully??? (1)

BrianSoCal (1519721) | about 4 months ago | (#47800279)

Sorry - bunch of typos. Resubmitted below...

is it really because he's a cop? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800227)

Multiple times in cities I have lived in, drivers have struck and either killed or maimed cyclists, and typically they suffer no more than some points on their license. I can't think of a case where a charge such as involuntary manslaughter was brought.

Re:is it really because he's a cop? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47800345)

depends on the situation, multiple times, the bicyclists may have been not following traffic laws, if thats the case i can see why

And cops wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800229)

And cops wonder why the public resents them.

To Be Fair (5, Funny)

hduff (570443) | about 4 months ago | (#47800239)

The deputy did put a knife in Olin's hand, so it was self-defense.

Re:To Be Fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800393)

The deputy did put a knife in Olin's hand, so it was self-defense.

Before or after Olin's demise? Or would it even matter?

Re:To Be Fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800447)

Hey, Olin was no altar boy. I heard he robbed a convenience store before being killed by a totally justified cop. Well, that's what they're telling me, anyway.

Cops are no longer just killing black people and getting away scot-free. Now, cops are killing anybody and getting away scot-free. When it was racism, it was evil. Now it's just incompetence. I don't know if that's worse, or what. All I know now is that it's sickening.

IT's not just cops getting away with this (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 4 months ago | (#47800243)

It's sad, it's ridiculously two-faced, but the sad truth is in the USA people in cars / trucks kill cyclists quite often -- and seldom are charged. Even rarer is for an alleged "motorist" to get jail time for it.

Re:IT's not just cops getting away with this (4, Interesting)

itsenrique (846636) | about 4 months ago | (#47800305)

It's hardly any better on a motorcycle (or as a pedestrian). A lot of people never rode bikes or motorbikes *seriously*. They may have taken the huffy for a spin down the block as a kid, but never as an actual commuting tool. So, they don't take seriously the position distracted drivers put them in. I'd rather have someone drunk, or speeding behind me than someone using a fucking laptop, tablet, or cell phone as a cyclist of any stripe. Pedestrians get treated with disrespect and their right of ways get violated regularly too. Maybe if the police actually did pull people over and just *educate* them on these issues instead of being a force used mostly to extract money from the people we could make some progress. Or perhaps if getting and keeping a drivers license in most states wasn't one notch easier than simply turning 16. Like in Germany where a decent % don't make it every time. But alas, I think for some they think driving poorly is some kind of inalienable right.

Re:IT's not just cops getting away with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800325)

This is sadly true. Motorists can kill cyclists with little to no penalty in most places, often just a few points on their license but no criminal or civil repercussions.

It's not just cops who get away with it.

Re:IT's not just cops getting away with this (4, Interesting)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#47800413)

Maybe, from a psychological point of view, it's a return to medieval times when a knight or nobleman on horseback automatically had the right of way. If he trampled a peasant, or swept him into the ditch and broke his neck, well that was just tough - and essentially the peasant's fault for getting in the way.

When you're a cyclist or a pedestrian, do you ever get the feeling that car drivers look at you in that way?

He acted lawfully??? (5, Insightful)

BrianSoCal (1519721) | about 4 months ago | (#47800253)

From the article -> “He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed. Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.”

So by this same logic - if he was typing on his computer and rammed his car into a McDonalds and killed 10 people, this would have been lawful too???

If I'm not mistaken, if you do a first act lawfully, and you do a second act like reckless driving as a result of the first - you're still liable for the second act. If you drink a coffee lawfully and spill it on yourself and then jump lanes and hit a bicyclist - you don't think you'd get hit with vehicular manslaughter?? And your argument would be, "I was drinking coffee lawfully, so lets throw this case out of court?"

Geez...

Routine work email (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#47800267)

While *driving* ? WTF?

Now we have a precedent... (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 months ago | (#47800269)

... that can be cited in any and all other distracted driving cases.

.
And the precedent is that distracted driving laws are not valid and can be ignored.

or is the real precedent that police are above the law, and can do whatever they want with impunity?

But not a binding precedent (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47800335)

And the precedent is that distracted driving laws are not valid and can be ignored.

I don't see how that's true, for three reasons. First, the featured article states that the vehicle was stopped while the phone was in use. Second, a DA's decision not to prosecute isn't exactly a "precedent" in the common law sense. Third, even if the officer had been found not guilty in a court of law, another judge could apply the narrower precedent that police are above the distracted driving law but not necessarily above other laws.

Re:Now we have a precedent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800401)

Since it was not decided by a judge, there is very little legal precedent. The DA seemingly decided to not prosecute.

Police are the new unassailable lawless class... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800273)

Enjoy the shit sandwich they will feed the rest of us until and unless they are brought to heel.

Blue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800285)

Blue protecting blue. They act like they are above the law and do not have to follow the law of others. I am shocked! No, not really.

The police are above the law. Tough shit for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800299)

I'm a cop. The law doesn't apply to me, and I love it this way. I speed all the time
and never get tickets, I abuse people during arrests and nothing happens, and I
get free meals every day when I stop for lunch at pretty much any restaurant.

Bow down before me, you craven bitches, and accept your masters before we have to
round you all up and send you to a FEMA camp for internment.

cycling facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800331)

Cyclists actually contribute a higher percentage towards roads than auto users especially once road wear is calculated(general fund pays higher % than the small fuel tax)
Cyclists came first and were the impetus for modern roads
Cyclists very rarely cause fatal accidents of any kind other than their own death
Cyclists even if they appear to slow traffic will only cost a few seconds from a commute
Claiming cyclists are responsible for injury due to irritated drivers is like claiming that a short skirt justifies rape
This cop is guilty of manslaughter but this DA is criminal for not even charging him in a state where texting while driving would carry such a charge

Re:cycling facts (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47800519)

Cyclists came first and were the impetus for modern roads

I think that would be the horse (or ox) and wagon. Not many bicycles in ancient Rome.

The advent of the automobile was heralded as a major environmental improvement in many cities as it eliminated the problems of horse shit and dead horse carcasss.

Cops are above the law (4, Insightful)

Skynyrd (25155) | about 4 months ago | (#47800333)

Once again (still) cops are above the law.

They demand respect, yet show none. Departments overlook and hide massive crimes committed by their officers.

This is just typical cop behavior.

Conflict of interest... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47800337)

we can see both at the local and federal level that District Attorney and Attorney General should not be members of the formal executive branch but rather should be members of the judiciary or possibly some other branch of government. By putting them in the same administrative house as the police it means that the police or other government officials are shielded from prosecution. This creates a two tier legal system at the very least where there is one set of rules for everyone out of government and apparently almost no rules at all for those that are in it besides be loyal and obey your masters.

This needs to be dealt with.

This is just straight unjust (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#47800369)

You should not get preferential treatment in the eyes of the law based on your place of employment. It really is that simple.

Sue police department, this is routine procedure (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#47800381)

It appears that operating the mobile computer while driving is "routine procedure" for this police department. That's clearly a dangerous policy, so the department is liable and if they don't pay up the family should file a wrongful death suit.

This particular officer probably didn't break any criminal law. You could argue "reckless driving", but reckless has a very specific meaning in law. The fact that the driver's vehicle continued in a straight line as the bike lane curved suggests that he wasn't any less careful than many people are on a regular basis. "Reckless" requires a wanton disregard, a level of carelessness well beyond what a reasonable person would do.

Therefore I think it may be correct that the police department that established the dangerous policy is held responsible. I don't see any serious crime commited by this particular officer, based on the facts available.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800387)

Did the cop yell, "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" as he stood over the body?

Parallel "Nothing Wrong" case in VA (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#47800409)

While a death did not occur in this case in SW VA, a deputy shot his own daughter who was sneaking back home in through the garage at 3:30AM,

Deputy hear's noises in garage at 3:30AM .. check
Deputy draws gun .. check
Deputy has no idea who was in garage .. check
Deputy blindly shoots said person .. check
Deputy not charged with anything .. WTF?!??!?!

Loudoun deputy won’t face charges in accidental shooting of teen daughter [loudountimes.com]

I want to know HTF this was classed as "Accidental". Talk about different rules for different people.

Its the quota system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800411)

letting him walk scott free for killing a middle-aged white man will make the figures look good.

Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800415)

They all go "we can't put our own officers in jail, then noone will want to be a police officer since they dont trust their employers".

Which is the opposite of the truth, if they started actually punishing their own officers, when they broke the law they are sworn to uphold. Well the rest would have to stop their corrupting ways, and normal people might want to start becoming cops again...

The Law (1)

tquasar (1405457) | about 4 months ago | (#47800469)

No one is above the law. Except cops, I guess.

Driver gets 8.5years for killing cyclists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800489)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-28983049

So the DA's assistant can get away with Murder. I hope the family of the victim sue him and the DA's dept for at least a few million $$$
The DA and everyone in their deparment must learn that they are not above the law

The deputy initially claimed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47800501)

that the bicycle swerved into his lane causing the accident:

http://bikinginla.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/JSID_wood.pdf

Call the feds. (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about 4 months ago | (#47800513)

If they will not prosecute maybe the feds will. Either way this guy can't walk. Prosecute or roll back the law.

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