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Seattle bike patrol officer's actions will be investigated

Published September 25, 2020
This is the latest incident involving an officer using a bike as a weapon that has drawn criticism by some in the industry.

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — The King County Sheriff's Office is investigating a video circulating on social media in which a Seattle Police Officer rolls his bike over the head of a protester lying in the street.

According to The Associated Press, the civilian-led Office of Police Accountability (OPA) requested the investigation by an outside agency. The Seattle Police Department's Force Investigation Team identified possible policy violations and "potential criminal conduct," OPA director Andrew Myerberg said Thursday.

The bike patrol officer who was not identified was placed on paid leave.

Protests have flared nationwide after a Kentucky grand jury did not indict Louisville officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker shot and killed by white officers who entered her home during a narcotics investigation in March.

On Thursday, Seattle police said one officer was struck in the head with a baseball bat, cracking his helmet and resulting in minor injuries. Arrests were made for resisting arrest, property destruction, and refusing to disperse.

Bike patrol incidents have some in the industry calling for the end of bike sales to police departments. In June, BikeCo, the North American distributor of Fuji bikes, suspended sales to police forces, citing reports of bikes being used as weapons at Black Lives Matter marches. Fuji police bikes are sold through bike shops.

In August, Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop in Austin, Texas, said it no longer will sell bikes to the Austin Police Department beginning in 2021 because of concerns over officers using them to control protesters.

Following a Forbes article about the use of police bikes at demonstrations, Trek president John Burke released a statement that said "we support the peaceful protest of police brutality and inequality and oppose any unlawful action by any citizen including police. Our bicycles have played a long-time, important role in community-based law enforcement programs, bringing officers out of stations and vehicles and into neighborhoods where they are more connected to the communities they serve. ... This approach to community relations has delivered positive change over the years, and we are supportive of our products being used in this manner."

Trek's position led to a dispute with some members of its women's advocate program, which Bicycling magazine reported on.

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