Saturday, October 17, 2015

How Not To Say Hi To The Cop

You would think a lawyer would know a little something about law enforcement, as well as the law, but those attorneys who toil behind the scenes managing contracts and human resource issues probably are totally unfamiliar with those who serve and protect. Maybe they've seen a bailiff or two, but chances are, they've never been in a real courtroom at 26th and Cal.

So you would have to excuse James Liu for not knowing how to properly say Hi! to a police officer.

The Logan Square hipster was cycling to work, as Logan Square hipsters are known to do, and he was using the bike lane thinking that it was for his use alone. No car dare enter. He is a lawyer. He knows his rights.

Wouldn't you know it but some car dared to veer into his lane, ignoring the painted lines that were designed to protect the likes of James Liu from attack by large vehicles. It's on the books, isn't it, that cars can't travel in the bike lanes? He has his rights!

Cars do sometimes creep into bike lanes, either because the motorist is trying to avoid something like a pothole in the car lanes, or because he's trying to get around slow moving traffic. There are any number of reasons. Sometimes you just don't see the paint job on the asphalt, especially if you're focused on the other vehicles around you.

Let us digress for a moment, to insert a comment from Chicago's mayor that may appear unrelated to lawyers from Logan Square riding bikes, but it actually fits in. Rahm Emanuel said his cops had gone fetal, so afraid of being accused of police brutality that they hesitate to make an arrest. They feel like they're in the crosshairs these days as well, handy targets for those who think they have been disrespected by the cops and believe that they are entitled to shoot them.
Help, help, I'm being repressed

Take one hipster Logan Square lawyer and put him in the same space as a Chicago cop who is under stress like the lawyer can never imagine, and you get a very toxic mix. So poisonous, in fact, that James Liu got himself arrested for not saying Hi! to a cop in the best way.

The cop was driving an SUV, maybe on the way home after a long night shift. Logan Square might be hipsterland, but it's not far from some very mean West Side streets. The policeman was tired. He wanted to get home and decompress from the stress of watching his back for eight hours, of filling out paperwork on drug sellers he'd arrested. Of wondering if he'd survive his shift.

Driving along North Desplaines, the driver swerved into the bike lane that was James Liu's territory. Mr. Liu, knowing his rights, pounded on the car, to alert the driver that he was not allowed in the space sacred to hipster bike riders.

Not the right way to bid a pleasant good morning to a policeman who sees such things as a potential attack.

Chances are good that Mr. Liu used his verbal skills to criticize the policeman's driving skills. Maybe he threatened to make a citizen's arrest. After all, one cannot permit such egregious violations of bike lane law to go unremarked. Mr. Liu has his rights, and those rights must be defended.

In the end, Mr. Liu pissed off the cop to such an extent that the cop pulled over, told Mr. Liu to assume the position, and cuffed the lawyer. He then sent for a marked car to drive Mr. Liu to the nearest jail for processing as a criminal. Clearly, the police officer had had enough for one day, and the last thing he needed was some smart-ass hipster busting his chops.

The officer will no doubt be reprimanded by higher-ups, while his colleagues on the force will applaud him. As will plenty of ordinary motorists who go to work every day and have to deal with the arrogant hipsters who feel ever so superior to the hoi polloi.

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