[FoRK] Citizen's Arrest!

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jan 2 14:56:21 PST 2012


About 21 days after it was filed...

> Mr. Williams,
> Thank you for your email - I'm sorry it took so long to respond, but we are a little short handed right now.  Please know that 
> as of now, you concerns  have been forwarded to the San Jose CHP Office so that they may address your issue and request.
> Sincerely,
> Mike
> Lieutenant Mike Palacio
> Golden Gate Division

Then:

> Mr. Williams,
> Your email has been forwarded to me at the Redwood City CHP command.  I have assigned a Sgt to inquire into your concerns.  
> The California Highway Patrol holds all of it's personnel to high standards and has well defined procedures to address 
> citizens' concerns such as yours.  You will be contacted by Sgt. M. Matias in the very near future at the phone number you 
> have supplied.
> Bob O'Keefe, Lieutenant
> California Highway Patrol
> Redwood City Area - 330
>
...

This was copied to Manuel Matias.  He called me on Dec. 30th at 7pm and left a message.  Sounded like he said "Officer Martinez."
I called the Redwood City CHP office, but the number is all automated and you can't get through to a dispatcher.  I called the 
San Jose office and they sent a message for him to call me back.  He didn't until the next day, late on New Years Eve.

We talked for a while.  We went round and round on a key point of whether I could identify the officer.  He had passed me so 
quickly that I didn't get a license plate or vehicle number, and I didn't pursue him.  I pointed out that I had positively 
identified the officer if records showed that only one officer was on that segment of the road at that time.  He basically 
refused to agree to research it.  He kept repeating "our formal process for this is to send you form 240B".  I invited him to 
send me the form (which sounds like the normal formal complaint process), but clarified that I was still asking him (as the 
officer assigned) to fulfill my original request.  He refused to communicate by email.  All not surprising so far.

The interesting points:
He said that it would have been no problem to pull up behind the officer when he stopped the other vehicle.  He said people do 
that all the time to get directions, etc.

He also said that it was department policy to:

A) not use lights until just before stopping someone.  He acknowledged that it was contrary to law, but asked semi-rhetorically: 
How are we supposed to stop people?  I acknowledged that it was a difficult job, but pointed out that was wrong and illegal to 
break the law while trying to stop someone especially when often being much more dangerous than the person they decided to 
stop.  As further excuse why lights aren't used as required, he also made some statements about people reacting poorly to 
emergency lights, pulling over to the left instead of moving right, etc.

B) accelerate as fast as possible, even if dangerous (paraphrasing here: he referred to my charges indirectly), so be able to 
catch up to someone from a dead stop.

He also kept wanting to know if I had some credentials to be able to make an expert opinion on the reckless driving determination.

So, this will likely fizzle because I didn't capture positive ID (he stated there were 5 officers assigned to the general area 
that night, although he was refusing to look into it further).  However, I now have his statement that it is standard policy for 
CHP to operate counter to law on pretty much all moving violations where they have to speed or break other laws.

Now, in a few weeks perhaps, I'll have to determine how to file a remedy in equity (what used to be called "chancery") 
case/motion / motion to compel, or something along those lines.

Stephen



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