A police officer in California backed down after a verbal confrontation with a BMX bike rider who exemplified a vast knowledge of the city’s public park laws.
In a viral video uploaded to Youtube Saturday, Long Beach Police Lieutenant Mark Cobel approaches two BMX bikers and demands they stop riding in the park.
“If you’re up here and doing tricks and… I don’t care, but once you get off of this you can’t ride your bikes down here,” Lt. Cobel tells the two riders.
The rider filming the confrontation then asks the officer if there had been a law change.
The officer replies, “Yeah, you can’t ride your bike on the boardwalk.”
“When did that law change?” the rider asks.
“Uh… it’s been a law for quite a while,” the officer replies.
The biker responds by citing the city code that allows bikers to ride anywhere in the park.
“16.16.502 is the civic sectional code that states you can ride your bicycles around here, so, I don’t know what law you’re referring to,” the bike rider says.
“Ok, you want to go that way? We can go that way. I mean…” the officer stammers.
“You wanna pull out your civic code and you want to look up the code: 16.16.502 states that you can ride your bicycle out here,” the bike rider demands.
The officer, noticeably perturbed, next asks the biker if he obtained his law degree on Facebook.
“So do I have to have a law degree to be an informed citizen? Is that what you’re saying? It’s wrong to be informed, it’s wrong to know the law, it’s wrong to know your rights?”
“I just want to know where you got it,” Officer Cobel continues.
“I got it by knowing my rights. Is it wrong to know your rights as a citizen?” the rider says, adding that the officer’s job is to support the law, not enforce his opinion.
Lt. Cobel next takes issue with the biker’s assessment that the officer is harassing citizens, asking, “Oh, this is harassment now?
The biker replies, “When you tell someone to not ride their bike when they’re legally able to ride their bike, yes, that’s harassment. Your opinion is irrelevant. The law states we can ride our bike. Now do you have anything else to say, or are you going to leave us alone?”
In the end… well, just watch the video.