If you recall, I had an alleged close encounter of the weird kind to the north of the Ludington City Hall just before the special meeting to appoint a new Fifth Ward Councilor, it was related in XLFD: Bicycle Desperado of the Sidewalk. This is a follow-up to that report, reflecting that I received the police report, found out who the complainant was, and discovered what exactly seems to have happened.
I related that episode and this supplement in order to illustrate what the city typically tries to do when they encounter somebody who investigates or objects to their public policy and/or corruption: they invent ways to use their resources to harass those individuals when they wouldn't otherwise do so.
The creation of a "Workplace Safety Policy" that kept me (or anybody else that an official felt uncomfortable with) from entering Ludington's city hall or the police station without having misdemeanor trespassing charges pressed was just a start. I know of three local business owners and other private individuals who became targets of the vindictive city leadership simply for not agreeing with the city's often-foolish policies or actions.
Here I will relate what the police report contained and use it to try and answer the five questions posed at the end of the previous article. Let's begin by taking a look at the LPD Report 17-2635, relevant parts of which is reproduced here:
For the reader's convenience, I have also developed a graphic map showing the route of the pedestrian (red) and me as the bicyclist (yellow) aligned with the physical realities where this encounter occurred.
Having read the account, you will notice that the sidewalk is double-width (10 ft.) at the place where the "close call" is said to have occurred. Presuming Patrick Foster's account is accurate, and I have no reason otherwise to believe he fabricated the event, I could see why it may not have been memorable to me when I was asked about it the next day.
I would have definitely saw him as he crossed the sidewalk in front of me, and he doesn't admit any interference, nor does he admit to see me coming up the sidewalk. He only notices me after he changes his direction 180 degrees to go back, he was surprised to see me. From his testimony, I must have been keeping track of him, for I swerved to the south to prevent him from running into my path.
This is what I do when I am on my bicycle, I keep track of people (especially kids) who may dart in front of my bicycle when they don't notice me, or freak out when they see me at the last minute. It's why I have survived over 100,000 miles on the seat of my bicycle, because I ride defensively.
Mr. Foster failed to see me less than 30 feet up the sidewalk when he crossed it the first time, then when he reversed his direction, he apparently moved again without checking for anybody on the sidewalk, for I would have been on the far right side of the sidewalk, at least 6 feet south of where the recycle container would have been sitting.
Had I recognized Foster was about to change direction and present a hazard to both of us, I would have likely brought myself to his attention by saying something, but as noted, he would have had to cross that 6 foot gap pretty quickly without again seeing me coming up the sidewalk he was re-crossing. It was admittedly the end of the day for him, he probably was in a hurry to get that recycle tray back in, and didn't exercise due caution himself to make sure other sidewalk traffic wasn't inconvenienced.
As always, what's left out of a police report is often as interesting as what's in it. Officer Tony Kuster was asked to look into the incident, but the report does not say who assigned him to do so. Since the incident was reported at 10:45 AM the next day (around the middle of Foster's shift)according to the report, Mr. Foster must have related his perceived close call during work the next day to somebody, who encouraged him to file a complaint against the 'enemy of the city' during his break.
Instead of getting answers to my five questions, those questions remain largely unanswered, but still compelling. Why did Foster wait nearly a day to report the incident? Why wasn't it immediately brought to LPD's attention if it was a problem? Why were so many police resources used for this during the beginning of the Fourth of July weekend? Why was it investigated at all after the meatless complaint? Why wasn't Officer Kuster relating the complainant or willing to tell me what was alleged to have happened other than it being a close call, or for that matter, who assigned Officer Kuster to the task?
The answers are easy, if you know the track record of the Ludington City Hall and how they treat those who don't follow in their corrupt footsteps
They actually spent gas money driving to your house and salary....did I mention the paper they wasted. I'm so very embarrassed for these people. I say we take up a collection for a GoPro helmet for you X so these "professionals" will actually have something to review next time someone shutters by the mere sight of you in town. I'm almost certain if your fly were down you would have been charged with indecent exposure....please wear tie string pants or super elastic while riding in Ludington. This is what people have to tolerate when they stand up for themselves against those unreasonables who seek self service and darkness.
I wonder what the penalty for police harassment is?
The one in danger was the one on a bicycle who went unnoticed by P. Foster as he turned around with a big blue recycling bin.
Had he been close enough to cause me any greater discomfort than having to make a defensive swerve, I would have likely given him a verbal warning that wasn't pleasant in tone and content.
The Custodian is quite the whiner. Like a school kid running to the teacher. Who in God's name would go to the police with this kind of complaint? And what kind of police dept. would handle this in such a serious way? If the custodian had a problem, he should have talked with X directly like a man. I guess foolish attitudes are the norm at City Hall, from the the City Manager all the way down to the custodial help.
My theory, since he didn't officially report the 'close call' until well into the next day, was that he brought it up with some mundane conversation with a city official or LPD officer. The official heard my name and suggested they file a police report, because that's what Ludington officials are instructed to do if they feel intimidated or threatened by a regular citizen (particularly a certain peaceful insurgent). This is codified in the city's Workplace Safety Policy.
Thinking I could once again be banned from stepping on city hall property, they directed Patrick to file a formal complaint. Even if it didn't go anywhere, it could always be used to harass the individual now and used in the future to demonize him: "He tried to run down a city worker right outside city hall."
They used that same tact with Aquaman last year, when they brought up and greatly embellished two old incidents where police were involved with him to slander his reputation.
My advice would be to have that report thrown in the trash. If there was no violation and the only reason for the report would be to hold it for some future vindictive action by the City it would be in your best interest to file against the City for creating a false report and have it expunged. This action by the City would seem to be more serious and conspiratorial than what it appears to be on the surface.
My question is why would a cyclist ride his bike on the side walk , not that he couldn't legally , when the street that is not highly traveled is easier to ride on?
Some ride on sidewalks because they may believe that it's safer than riding on the street.
I know that's generally not the case, so your question is likely why I was riding on the sidewalk at that point, and thus is a very good question. I had been riding from Wesco, and had been riding on the street going up Robert, Loomis, Rath then Foster Streets. I had turned onto the sidewalk on the entrance just west of the city hall, with the intent of parking near the door on the north, but then I quickly saw that there were no facilities for bicycle parking there (I normally approach city hall from the other side) and so continued to the main entrance on the east side I normally use and park at.
Nothing but a witch hunt. I would press charges for filing a false police report. Then I would question his position at City Hall. There was no victim and no damages,no contact so there should have been no investigation. This is excessive force by police to trump up false charges against a lawful citizen for the purpose of intimidation. Kuster should be fired!
I will presume there was no malice by the complainant and I will presume that Officer Kuster had been directed to do an investigation by one of his superiors, who may have had similar urging by city management. The fault for the excess here lies with the Shay-Barnett management/enforcement corruption complex.
If I, or anybody else with a desire to eliminate the corruption in our city, ever gain a council seat, incidents like this are ammunition for reforming the LPD; there's a lot. They expend a lot of energy and public resources serving as a private police force for city officials in political acts like these.
It's appalling and deplorable for someone to suggest any wrong doing against someone for the purpose of prevaricating exaggerated fabricated malice intentionally,willfully, and knowingly that a person could be prosecuted by such false claims. Oh wait' It happens all the time with City Hall. Multiple exaggerations spoon fed to the goon squad. Local citizens unveil corruption and, the intimidation machine kicks on overdrive,These cops should have mandatory body cams that don't turn off. Wonder if anyone would even be shocked at hearing and seeing their disgusting behavior. Accountability and transparency please...
This town has been a police state for a long long time. But now, it's been kicked up a lot of notches to be the worst police state in Michigan. Shame on Foster and Barnett and lastly Kuster for this disgusting demonstration of intimidation and internal corruption of the LPD. All three need to be ousted from their jobs and Ludington asap.