Ed Tangles With A Bike Cop

by Thomas MacMillan | March 18, 2009 12:16 PM | | Comments (70)

031709_004.jpgAfter Ed Stueckle saw a bike cop riding on the sidewalk, he told the officer that he had his “head up [his] butt.” Matters deteriorated from there.

The encounter — of which Stueckle and the officer offer different versions — was the latest flashpoint in an ongoing, often confusing debate over who can ride bicycles where in New Haven.

Yale Police Officer James Yacono was pedaling by on a Chapel Street sidewalk when Stueckle took the opportunity to tell him that, according to the municipal code, he was breaking the law. He also, according to Yacono, called him an “asshole.”

Officer Yacono wheeled around and engaged Stueckle in a heated conversation that ended with the issuance of a $103 ticket for “creating a public disturbance.”

Stueckle (pictured), who’s 44, has lived in New Haven for over ten years. He’s a 1998 graduate of the Yale Divinity School and, he claimed, the pastor of a local church, which he declined to name.

Five years ago, he said, a police officer biking on a New Haven sidewalk nearly struck him. Since then he has made a practice of telling cops when they are cycling where they shouldn’t be.

It’s a common sight to see both civilians and cops biking on downtown sidewalks rather than on crowded one-way streets. However, Section 29-10 of the municipal code prohibits sidewalk bicycling. The matter has been the subject of controversy recently. Cops conducted a crackdown on civilian sidewalk cyclists, fining them for a behavior in which bike cops themselves participate. Find related stories and reader debates here, here and here.

At 4:30 on Friday, Feb. 27, Stueckle was walking down Chapel Street towards High Street, on his way to a haircut following an afternoon meal at the Copper Kitchen. As Officer Yacono pedaled past him on the sidewalk, heading in the opposite direction, Stueckle said to him, “It is illegal for you to have that bike on this sidewalk.”

According to Stueckle, Yacono wheeled around and said, “I’m a cop, I can do whatever I want. You need to check the municipal code.”

Stueckle said he responded, “If and when you hit me or someone else, you will end up being sued along with the university.”

Yacono then asked for Stueckle’s name. “My name is Rumplestiltskin,” Stueckle said he responded while still walking down the street.

“Well you look like you’ve been asleep for 20 years,” the officer said, according to Stueckle (who assumed that the cop was confusing Rumplestiltskin with Rip Van Winkle).

Stueckle said at that point, “I told him he had his head up his butt.”

“This did not sit well with him at all,” Stueckle said. He claimed that Yacono began calling him “Pierre,” using “a very derisive and derogatory tone.” Stueckle wears a beret.

Officer Yacono began riding away, but Stueckle called after him, “Why don’t you get a real job?”

According to Stueckle, Officer Yacono responded by getting off his bike and saying, “We’ve got a real problem now. You’ve just breached everybody’s peace.”

“You’re going to jail,” Yacono said, according to Stueckle.

“On what charge?” Stueckle asked.

“You’ll find that out later,” Yacono replied, according to Stueckle.

031709_010.jpgFaced with the possibility of spending the weekend in jail, Stueckle pulled out his cellphone and called his lawyer, Attorney Steve Jacobs. Two more Yale officers appeared, and Stueckle made a point of letting them all hear that he was talking to his lawyer and planning to pursue legal action against the police officers.

After receiving his $103 ticket for creating a public disturbance, Stueckle told the officers, “I hope you gentlemen have enjoyed working for Yale University,” implying that he was going somehow to get them fired.

Stueckle said that he’s sent his ticket in with a plea of not guilty. “I’m not paying some stupid ticket.” He said that he is preparing a letter to request the officers’ service records and was considering further legal action.

Yale: Sidewalks Are OK

Officer Yacono’s official incident report tells a slightly different story.

The officer notes that he was “safely riding” his bicycle past Stueckle and had circled back because he thought the Stueckle was trying to ask him something.

The report states the Stueckle shouted, “You’re not a real cop anyway, you’re just a Yale cop, asshole,” disturbing several pedestrians, including “women and children.” According to the report, Stueckle twice called Yacono an “asshole” during their conversation.

Stueckle said that he couldn’t recall whether or not he had used the term.

Yale spokeswoman Gila Reinstein said Wednesday that Officer Yacono “behaved in a professional manner and acted appropriately.”

Reinstein said that police officers are allowed to ride on the sidewalk. “In the performance of duty, a Yale police officer is permitted to do that.”

Reinstein said that she doesn’t know where that permission is recorded but that the municipal codes prohibition of bikes on sidewalks does not apply to police officers.

“Of course there are exceptions,” she said. “That’s why police officers can put on flashing lights and go through red lights.”

Reached by phone, New Haven Police Spokesman Officer Joe Avery was asked if police had permission to ride bikes on sidewalks. “I don’t know,” Avery said. “It’s a good question. I don’t know.”

Avery said that he assumes that police are not allowed to ride on sidewalks, except in emergencies. He said he doesn’t know if that rule is recorded anywhere.

Brison Bikes By

031709_007.jpgOn Tuesday, as Stueckle was recounting his run-in with the law at the scene of the incident, Alderman Allan Brison rode by on the sidewalk, munching a bagel.

Contacted later by phone, Brison said that he was aware that he had been breaking the law by cycling on the sidewalk. “I bicycle downtown quite a bit and once in a while I am on the sidewalk,” Brison said. “I probably should have gone down George Street.”

“This whole thing is difficult because bicycles really don’t have a place,” Brison said. “There’s no way I’m going to ride down Whitney Avenue on those narrow lanes.”

Brison said that for the past year he has been using his bike or public transportation for all of his aldermanic business, never driving to any official meetings.

“I would like to see policemen able to ride on sidewalks even where others are not,” Brison said, arguing that bike cops should be able to have more access to sidewalks, to help them negotiate one-way streets like Chapel.

Brison also proposed allowing civilian cyclists to use city sidewalks in areas with fewer pedestrians, or where car traffic made it dangerous for bikes to be in the street.

“It isn’t right for bicycles to be totally excluded from the sidewalk,” Brison said, arguing against a “blanket statute” regarding bikes on sidewalks.







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Comments

Posted by: Alphonse Credenza | March 18, 2009 12:22 PM

Radical bikists -- would you allow a senior citizen to ride his bike on the sidewalk? A child? Or must they ride in the street?

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2009 12:28 PM

ok just to confirm... I work right around the corner from Yale's new Sec. office. More than once I have seen their bike cops on the side walk, and even driving the wrong direction!... I have made the small gesture of loudly saying... breaking the bike laws... only to be ignored... but I was just hoping it would sit in their heads. So I believe Ed was right...after all they ticket people for doing that exact thing (and not a cheap ticket!)

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | March 18, 2009 12:34 PM

Stueckle sounds like [someone] looking for a fight.

Posted by: anon | March 18, 2009 12:39 PM

I agree with Brison and Alphonse - the statute needs to be reformed. Look at what other bike-friendly cities have.

Posted by: Narrowly escaped | March 18, 2009 12:42 PM

Walking home from work on the sidewalk not too long ago I came around the corner of a building and a young man on a bike going really fast almost hit me. If I had not stepped so that my body was sideways, I would have been seriously injured, and who knows, maybe permanently injured.
More than often, bikes pass me on the sidewalk from behind. I can't hear them coming. They can't know if I'm going to step into their path.
This is all about safety folks, and I know I'll be the first to hire an ambulance chaser should I actually get hit by a bicycle.

Posted by: DingDong | March 18, 2009 12:49 PM

I'm not sure it's that bad for bike cops to be on the sidewalk. They generally go pretty slowly and it better enables them to do their job of keeping on eye on things. With of all New Haven's one-way streets, they need to go on the sidewalk to be able effectively get where they want to go.

That said, bike cops on the sidewalk should only be temporary. The City needs to get its act together and turn Chapel (and other streets) into two-way streets, which will slow traffic and make them more accessible to all bikers - cops included.

Posted by: Funky Chicken | March 18, 2009 12:50 PM

I think Lt. Leo from the WEB should arest Alderman Brison :)

This guy Ed sounds like a nut looking for a fight with the cops

Posted by: What they said | March 18, 2009 12:58 PM

Posted by: Tale of Two Cities | October 28, 2008 2:34 PM

Berkeley CA instituted "a program to educate the public regarding the City's ordinance against riding bikes on the sidewalk. Signs and pavement markings instructing cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk and ride in the street were installed"..."additionally attractive posters were distributed to reinforce the message"..."signage was a strong contributing factor in the observed behavior change among cyclists."

Berkeley's ordinance specifies conditional sidewalk use for juveniles and peace officers:

Section 14.68.130 Riding bicycles on sidewalk permitted when.
No person shall ride or operate a bicycle on any sidewalk in the city except:

A. Juveniles, exercising the due care and giving the pedestrian the right-of-way, may ride and operate their bicycles upon the sidewalk, except such sidewalks as are in front of schools, stores or buildings used for business purposes;

B. Juveniles riding or operating a bicycle on the sidewalk shall do so in single file;

C. Peace officers who determine in good faith that riding or operating a bicycle on the sidewalk is necessary to perform official duties. (Ord. 6113-NS § 1, 1992: Ord. 4957-NS § 15, 1976)

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/bmc/berkeley_municipal_code/Title_14/68/index.html

Also, add multi-use (bike & pedestrian) zones for less crowded, non-retail areas.

Posted by: Bunker | March 18, 2009 1:20 PM

Ed is a bozo. He is constantly baiting cops doing their jobs with profane language and shouts from across the street. Watch him close someday while an Officer is driving by and you will see him giving them the finger and shouting curses at them for no apparent reason.

Posted by: jr | March 18, 2009 1:36 PM

Here's a question regarding the legal authority of Yale Police? Can the security force of a college issue tickets for laws that are meant to be enforced by the city or state? Since Yale Police are hired by Yale U. and are an extension of the University, what judge or jury does a person appear or appeal in front of when defending themselves against an accusation by a Yale officer. While I'm a advocate for police and the difficult position they are placed in daily while trying to defend us from criminals, are not Yale police officers essentially "Rent a Cops" with no real authority but to police the Univ. properties?

Posted by: robn | March 18, 2009 1:45 PM

It would be a lot easier for everybody to ride in the street if....
1)...traffic safety was enforced...
2)...New Haven eliminated most one-way streets...

I find no exception for police to ride on sidewalks.

New Haven Code of Ordinances
Article 1 Sec. 29-10. Vehicles on sidewalks.
No person shall drive, wheel or draw any coach, cart, handcart, wheelbarrow, bicycle, or other vehicle of burden or pleasure, whether of the same description or not, except children's hand carriages drawn by hand, or permit any horse under his care to go or stand upon any sidewalk or footpath in the streets or public squares of said city, except going in or out of driveways.

So remember people...please keep your horses off the sidewalk.

Posted by: JP | March 18, 2009 1:46 PM

Its the same old story if you let cops bike on the side walk then drivers think bikes belong on the side walk and you end up with the video of that lady almost killing Paul last year. If its not safe to ride on the street then stop riding or change the laws. Bikers always want it both ways. I think its common sence that unless there is an emergency that cops can not ride on the ride walk just like they cant put on there lights and go through a red light.

Posted by: Big Baby | March 18, 2009 1:49 PM

Ed -- you're a distraction from what the Police need to do, YPD -- check him out and deal with him, end story!!

Posted by: Ben | March 18, 2009 1:50 PM

when the streets are made more welcoming for cyclists by city improvements this conversation will end. If manhattan can do it new haven can do it.

Posted by: Hood Rebel | March 18, 2009 2:22 PM

Does anyone have video?

Posted by: anon | March 18, 2009 2:35 PM

JP, laws and street designs can't be changed overnight. Until then, people will ride on the sidewalk, ordinance or not, no matter what you try to do. Whether to ticket is a matter of public policy. Do you really want to ticket elderly people, or immigrants with no other means of transportation, who are riding respectfully on the sidewalk for a few blocks in order to get to work? I think that cyclists riding on the sidewalk generally present far less harm than the police ticketing them, from an overall socioeconomic/environmental perspective.

Of course, by all means, please ticket the people riding their bikes aggressively, like the ones riding significantly faster than the speed of a walking person. And ticket the aggressive drivers, too, who are far more deadly. General rule: aggressive behavior should be ticketed in the proportion that the activity is likely to cause injury or death (I've looked at those numbers and statistically speaking, comparing aggressive driving to aggressive cycling, the latter is roughly a 3,500 to 1 ratio).

The police should also be much more aggressive at ticketing people who are riding bicycles the WRONG way on one-way streets, as well as drivers talking on their cell phones, and even aggressive jaywalking, all of which are far more dangerous than any of the above situations.

Posted by: Pedro | March 18, 2009 2:39 PM

JR, Yale police are NOT rent-a-cops. They are a fully organized independent police who are armed and have FULL arresting powers, not just on the Yale Campus but for the entire state of connecticut.
They were formed in the early 20th century under the laws that allows certain organizations to form their own police forces.

Here is a recent article about some of the challenges that poses:
http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/2008_03/foia.html

Posted by: Bruce | March 18, 2009 3:06 PM

Clearly there is legitimate debate regarding whether people SHOULD be allowed to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. However, the law is clear in forbidding the practice. Either ride in the street simply walk your bikes on the sidewalk.

I love the fact that we have police officers on bicycles and I do not want them hindered in their duties. I think there is definitely room for debate here considering the dangers bicyclists face in the current system. However, just because you don't agree with a law means you can ignore it.

In regards to this encounter, this sounds more like a schoolyard squabble than two adults debating municipal code. Shouting obscenities at a police officer is no way to get a message across. Next time flag him down and just explain the code. Get his name and file a complaint if he doesn't listen.

Posted by: Goose & Gander | March 18, 2009 3:08 PM

Cops allowed to ride on sidewalks. Cops allowed to use cell phones while driving. Cops allowed, cops allowed, cops allowed.... The general public can't..., but the cops can! What's next, the cops can possess "defensive" weapons, but no one else can. WAKE UP readers, and use your intellect on the patterns that present in these cases! It is called ABUSE of POWER! "I can because I am a cop, and I can send you to jail, fine you, or both!" Sometimes I wonder about our society's collective lack of thinking skills when it comes to these things....

Posted by: Bruce | March 18, 2009 3:12 PM

Oops, I meant to say "just because you don't agree with a law DOESN'T MEAN you can ignore it." I guess today is opposite day.

Posted by: Streever | March 18, 2009 3:30 PM

Police need to follow the law they enforce.

Did anyone forget the huge number of tickets given out for sidewalk riding?

It was well into the hundreds and more tickets were issued that month to cyclists than any other vehicle user.

Pathetic.

I'll follow the laws--and not complain about tickets--but I expect the police to do the same.

Posted by: Edward_H | March 18, 2009 3:45 PM

This story is just about 2 grown men who should really know better:

Just what was Ed expecting the officer to do when he said ""It is illegal for you to have that bike on this sidewalk." ? Was he expecting to cop to look at the ground and say" I am sorry sir, I won't do it again.Please forgive me."?

Why did the cop bother to confront this guy? If the cop thought Ed was asking him a question once he realized the guy was baiting him into an argument why did he not just get back on his bike and pedal away. Just treat him like a crazy old homeless man. Ignore him. This guy is obviously looking for a lawsuit and a payday.

Posted by: bunker | March 18, 2009 3:50 PM

For all of you whining about "police have to follow the same laws regardless", I hope you remember some day when you are getting the snot kicked out of you or robbed.

I hope when it happens there is a bicycle police officer a half a block away. I hope he has to go 2 miles out of his way by "obeying all the laws" to get to where you are to save you or apprehend the perpetrator.

Probably the same people who post on here all the time about the crappy response time from the police. Everyone wants to have it both ways.

Posted by: THREEFIFTHS | March 18, 2009 5:24 PM

Bunker
What would you say about the cop in New York,Who knock the guy off of his bike? How about the Bart
cop who shot the man in the train station and he said he was going for his tazer gun,It goes both ways.

Posted by: new haven resident | March 18, 2009 5:47 PM

Yale police, have a New Haven police badge. Like stated above they have the same powers NHPD have. Also Yale Pd, And Security go through a police bycle safety course. This is just some info for those that din't know

Posted by: Bunker | March 18, 2009 6:03 PM

Threefifths:

From what I saw of the video of NYPD officer who tackled the man off his bike he was way out of line and deserved whatever discipline he received.

As for the BART officer video it appeared to me the Officer immediatley knew he screwed up big time. While I don't think what he did meets the test for cold blooded murder, there definately is a strong case for at least negligent homicide. I don't think he "intended" to kill the man I think he intended to taze him.

Posted by: Power to the People | March 18, 2009 6:10 PM

I believe the statutes as written allow the police to break certain things like traffic laws when they are responding to an emergency so your argument is off base Bunker. However if they are not on an emergency call there is no reason for them to be riding on the sidewalks, talking on the cell phone or running red lights and traffic signs. One way to get good behavior is to model good behavior. One SURE way to get bad behavior is to model bad behavior.

From the looks of it both parties were wrong here and were they really adults it would never have escalated to this level. At least it's Yale that will get sued here (because that's obviously what this Ed guy wants) and not the city.

Posted by: lauraa | March 18, 2009 6:45 PM

obviously this cop wasn't going anywhere too important since he had time to ticket this guy. Of course there are exceptions, but in general, if the cops are overzealously ticketing for a behavior, they should try to refrain from it themselves.

Brison: how about trying to get rid of the no-bikes-on-sidewalks ordinance? Is that something that an alderman could work on?

Posted by: lance | March 18, 2009 7:03 PM

It seems Ed Stueckle was a little envious of all of the media coverage ... James Manship was getting, so he did what he could to create an incident. If you google him, you'll see he's one of those Obamaphile attention [seekers],,.

Posted by: Alex | March 18, 2009 7:21 PM

The police are ethically supposed to set a good example. This is a terrible example for an officer and he should have stayed above the comments and not lowered himself into such derisive statements regardless of the comments of the bike rider. The Yale police have no basis for saying "behaved in a professional manner and acted appropriately." Also, as in East Haven recently, the officer apparently falsified a police report. This is a terrible example of community policing which, unfortunately is dying and mostly dead anyway.

Posted by: Streever | March 18, 2009 7:53 PM

I agree with you on the first part, Alex: terrible behavior from a sworn officer who has a duty to uphold the law he enforces.

When it comes to this story: Someone was rude to you? Yea, that sucks. You know what the rest of us have to do when someone is rude to us? Either at our job or on the sidewalk? Deal with it. Act like grownups. You can bet if I acted as arrogantly as the officer is said to, I'd have been in just as much trouble as the instigator if it came to the police being called.

Yes, a police officer does get a certain amount of flak, I'm certain, but when you are in the wrong, it'd be so wonderful to simply apologize, say so, & move on. I think that's what the ethical code one is supposed to follow would have one do. We'll never know if that would have resolved this issue, because the officer didn't even bother to try.

I don't really understand this comment board. The comments are all over the place. One story over, we have "OMG PPL R DYING" about a Lt in WEB. Over here, we have, "SERVES YOU RIGHT TO TALK BACK TO A COP. HOPE YOU LEARNED YOUR LESSON." It feels schizoid & disconnected from society.

Just as so many of you point out in the other story, in a civil society, one has a right to question authority. Yes, this fellow was rude, but the officer has a legal & ethical obligation to uphold the professionalism of his office. He clearly failed to do that, when he ticketed a walker who is concerned for his own personal safety.

Posted by: Morris Cove | March 19, 2009 1:36 AM

Threefiths

What's your deal, everyone knows you have an agenda and hate cops, but why do you always refer to the NYPD?, they have over 30 thousand cops in New York ( a small city ), and last I checked crime is at an all time low, YPD, has about 90 cops, and New Haven about 450 cops, how do you rationialize your comments...because they enforce the law, and wear uniforms?

This guy is an obvious nut case who craves attention, and your taking his side in this matter?.

Posted by: citizen | March 19, 2009 8:00 AM

As I sat here and read all these comments this man had a bad tone with the YPD one can take only so much mouth and in front of people on the street at the time. Wake up we have real problems in this world right now and he is in the church and fights on the street give me a break.

Posted by: Wicked Lester | March 19, 2009 8:11 AM

PIERRE!!!! LOL!

Posted by: THREEFIFTHS | March 19, 2009 8:49 AM

Morris Cove
I donot hate cops,I have family across this country who are in law enforcement.I am talking about police officers who abuse there power.Did you not see the Tape on WTHN and see how the cops beat that man in meridin and now the city has to pay out 100,000. As I always say ask Frank Serpico
about the cops who try to kill him in a hallway.So I am pointing out crooked cops.May be you should be a pen pal to Billy White.

Posted by: William Kurtz | March 19, 2009 8:54 AM

Not to condone anyone taking a 'bad tone' with anyone else on the street, Citizen, but YPD officers don't have some kind of special right to insulate themselves from the typical unpleasant interactions that can occur in a public place. The last thing I knew, being a jerk wasn't against the law. Since I wasn't there, I won't second-guess Officer Yacono on whether Mr. Stueckle was creating a public disturbance, but the idea that the officer had to adopt some kind of hard-line stance simply because it was 'in front of people on the street' is just another form of the kind of macho posturing that in its fuller expression gets young men killed on the street over disrespect.


Posted by: Ned | March 19, 2009 9:20 AM

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue

Posted by: Mister Jones | March 19, 2009 9:57 AM

This nut job mouths off to a cop, tells him he has his head up his but and "doesn't remember" whether he called him and asshole? Pick a fight with a cop and call him names -- what do you think is going to happen?

Posted by: citizen | March 19, 2009 10:07 AM

WILLIAM
I was not there on the street to see what really did happen. As I see it bikes should be in the streets by all.

Posted by: citizen | March 19, 2009 10:15 AM

MISTER JONES:
Best comment yet. You are so right.

Posted by: Beansie's Mom | March 19, 2009 10:34 AM

I'm with MisterJones. Also, what kind of Pastor doesn't identify his church. Isn't the whole point for the Shephard to reach out to extend his flock. How do you do that if you have a secret church?

Yale Univ Police Department and East Haven Police Department are nothing alike.

Normally a police cruiser is driving on the street in the right (correct) direction.

Do you think law abiding citizens are upset when the cruiser is on the sidewalk b/c they have to stop one or more alledged criminals.

However, I'm certain that Yale's Police Chief will review bike riding with his officers. It wouldn't be bad idea if all the undergrad and especially the grad students and their spouses, have to take a New Haven bike safety class.
It annoys be to see Grad Students out on a Sunday riding down the side walk with their children in East Rock. Isn't that nice, the child with the helment and the training wheels.

How should children learn to ride a bike? I'm not suggesting that a toddler learn on a busy street. But maybe you should load the Car or SUV and take them to a park.

Posted by: Seth | March 19, 2009 11:13 AM

History has proven that there are a large number of offenses that don't apply to Police Officers. Go figure!

Posted by: robn | March 19, 2009 11:33 AM

A fundamental problem we have in New Haven is a (generally, with some exceptions) collective inability to be friendly and polite. I know its really really cold for half of the year and its an old city with lots of poverty,but maybe...just maybe...if everybody could just try to think before they open their mouth and speak politely and kindly about things, the bad things wouldn't hurt so bad. I'm probably public enemy number one on the subject of politeness, but I'm trying to change...because I'm finding that niceness is infectious.

Posted by: Marshell Rosenberg | March 19, 2009 11:33 AM

Stueckle and Yacono need some lessons in conflict resolution.

Granted, Stueckle didn't take the most appropriate avenue (or sidewalk) for airing his complaint about police officers riding on sidewalks, but is this how police officers are taught how to respond to citizens who are upset?

It's embarassing.

Posted by: Bruce | March 19, 2009 12:20 PM

ROBN, come to one of the summer concerts on the green and you will see the real New Haven. I disagree that people are generally unfriendly and impolite. This guy certainly doesn't represent the New Haven that I grew up with.

Posted by: robn | March 19, 2009 1:11 PM

BRUCE,

C'mon man...the citizens I see are a bit curmudgeony most of the time. I agree with you about the good vibe of Green festivals, but then festivals are about good vibe...and aren't really the problem I see...its every day interaction, including this citizen taking issue with this officer.

Posted by: fairhavendoc | March 19, 2009 1:22 PM

the argument between stueckle and yacono is only relevant because it is a clear demonstration of people not listening to each other to try to come to an understanding.

the real issue is with alderman brison.

mr. brison, a member of the city gov't, is blatantly disregarding city rules and regulations. without a mea culpa.

c'mon mr. brison. it looks from other articles on this website that you are up for reelection and it looks like it will be a tight race. follow the rules. there is a place for you and your bike in the city. walk your darn bike.

Posted by: Free Speech | March 19, 2009 2:42 PM

I am appauld at this nonsense. It sounds like Stueckle goes around town insulting police officers who rightfuly so should be on some of new haven's sidewalks in order to protect the community, its students and [him] ...I bet if there were ever an an incident in one of New Haven's alleys or one of its parking lots, the first thing people like Stueckle will shout is "WHERE'S THE DAMN POLICE". The police in New HAven don't stand a chance with the overflowing ungrateful residents it contains. Just like the Independnet can follow dummies like Stueckle around listening to his lies and dumb accusation about police ..., I certainly hope The Independant will follow the outcome of this case at the time of disposition in court to make sure Stueckle has to aleast pay a fine, hopefully not from the donations box from his "church".

Posted by: Steve Ross, Local | March 19, 2009 4:59 PM

Free Speech,

While I agree that Mr. Stueckle's approach was unwise (and his subsequent threats of litigation pointless chest-beating), I'd like to point out to you that police officers, like any force of authority, is and should be met with skepticism and a critical eye from the populace. Cops, government, religions, you name it. To question these things doesn't trivialize their importance, but serves as a means to regulate control.

Officers chose to be officers. If their brethren have earned themselves a bad name, they who follow them knowingly don this legacy.

That said, I've been more often treated kindly by more NHPD/Yale officers than otherwise ... I suspect that isn't the case for all of our fellow readers.


Posted by: Morris Cove | March 20, 2009 1:50 AM

Three fiths

Like always you seem to revert to New York, maybe you should blog the Daily News, or the Times.

Steve Ross your comments are just as silly , I have read about Doctors who steal scrips and are stone junkies, lawyers who steal from there clients, judges who are drunks, writers who plagiarize, priest who are pedophiles, should I go on. Do they all deserve the same skepticism, by your own account you have been treated fairly. I don't understand what your blogging the hypocrisy in your comments has me confused.

Posted by: Morris Cove | March 20, 2009 2:11 AM

Threefiths

Maybe you should blog in the New York Times section, or the Daily News, and why would I ask Frank Serpico what happened to him in the 70's...again in New York. maybe you should read the article, and the comments made by Mr.Stueckle, that he was not sure if he called the cop an asshole. As a citizen and a supposed family member of Law Enforcement dosen't that seem a bit out of line?

I'm not here to defend all cops, but it's clear that they don't get the support of this community that they deserve.

I mean there is corruption in all facets of life from the doctor who steals scrips to get high, the lawyer who steals from his clients, the priest who are pedophiles, the writers who plagiarize, the list goes on. It is the hypocrisy in some of these blogs ( Steve Ross ), that has me at a loss. Maybe it's me, I just don't get it.

Posted by: visitor | March 20, 2009 8:44 AM

i'm not commenting on the debate here (except to say that both men acted like children), but i wanted to say i really enjoyed this piece, great writing! "You've just breached everybody's peace" and "Pierre"...love it! Thanks for the laughs.

Posted by: Me Myself | March 20, 2009 11:20 AM

and Stueckle's what, a "real" pastor? he' nuts, and should ride a bike himself, by the looks of it

Posted by: Steve Ross, Hypocrite | March 20, 2009 11:38 AM

Morris Cove,

You make a good point. I believe that part of being a critical thinker is to regard everyone you mentioned with skepticism. That's why one consults more than one lawyer on matters of great consequence, why one gets a second opinion after one doctor's diagnosis, why a responsible reader checks writers' credentials and plumbs their citations, etc.

I mentioned my experience with police because that's the truth, and unlike yourself, apparently, I'm comfortable with ambiguity enough to at least interrogate it honestly.

If my own concept of active objectivity and ethical responsibility fits your definition of hypocrisy, so be it. We have different perspectives.

Posted by: Eddie | March 20, 2009 11:48 AM

This really demonstrates to me the damage a few bad cops on the East Haven PD (ahem, Lance) can do to the entire profession when they get caught lying on police reports.

My immediate impulse was to completely disregard the officer's version of events, since I now know that some cops simply concoct police reports in whatever way benefits them. You know what? Most of 'em probably don't. But I'll never be able to completely believe a cop's version of events in a police report again.

If I were a cop, I'd be gunning (figuratively speaking, of course) for those jerks in East Haven, because they just make my job more difficult and more dangerous. Way to go.

By the way, regardless of whose version of events is correct in this case, it sounds like our Yale police could use somewhat thicker skins. We pay them, arm them with guns and give them the power to arrest. I think it's fair to expect them to be able to shrug off belligerent loudmouths like Stueckle.

Posted by: Jason | March 20, 2009 1:17 PM

Is it just me or do they both sound like a$$holes? They both should be ticketed.

Posted by: ParkStTaxPayer [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 20, 2009 1:40 PM

When the police enforce the law, they must also obey the law. This cop was clearly violating the law by riding on the sidewalk.

The manner in which Stueckle engaged the police officer shows he was trying to pick a fight. Police officers should be treated with respect, and clearly Stueckle took an antagonistic stance when he threw insults and curt statements at him.

Cops who turn on their warning lights just to drive through red lights, who talk on cell phones while driving, who have one headlight out, who speed on the highway are all breaking the law. There is no authority that polices THEIR behavior though. That is a problem and should be addressed through the proper channels.

I don't have a lawyer. I certainly don't have a lawyer's number on my cell phone. This whole exchange is fishy and I'd imagine this man is just looking for attention.

Cops and "us regular folk" - when on bicycles - are obligated by rule of law to ride in the street. Vehicles cannot traverse pedestrian right-of-ways. The food cart guys rightfully push their carts through the street. It is against the law for them to push it on the sidewalk. "not knowing the law" has NEVER been an accepted argument.

Ride safely in the road, follow the rule of law, and everyone will be happy. This man was clearly looking for a fight, and he lost. Boo hoo.

Posted by: lance | March 20, 2009 3:18 PM

"Pierre". lol

Posted by: Ralph Ferrucci | March 20, 2009 3:45 PM

The Ordinace (not law) allows cops to be on bike but no one else. This is the same as with the cellphone law. The law allows cops to be on a cellphone while driving but I cannot.

Personally I believe that officers of the law should set an example. If I cannot ride my bicycle on the sidewalk or talk on my cellphone while driving than a police officer should not be allowed to do either.

We have laws and ordinaces in place for a reason and no officer should be above the law. If we allow them to do what they want on certain laws, then where exactly do we draw the line?

As for Stueckle, he did have a valid arguement but crossed the line when he started to argue with the officer. He would have been better off asking the officer why is it I cannot ride my bike on the sidewalk but you can?
Ralph Ferrucci

Posted by: Edward_H | March 20, 2009 5:36 PM

According to the report, Stueckle twice called Yacono an "asshole" during their conversation.

Nice lanquage pastor! I imagine your sermons must be quite inspriational.

Stueckle said that he couldn't recall whether or not he had used the term.

A bit too much of the holy wine perhaps?

Posted by: Edward_H | March 20, 2009 5:41 PM

Jason

Is it just me or do they both sound like a$$holes?

It's not you. They are both a$$holes, big ones too ,by the sound of this article.

They both should be ticketed.

If the city ticketed everyone for being an a$$hole the city would be bankrupt just from the cost of ticket paper alone.

Posted by: Speaking OUT [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 20, 2009 5:51 PM

Ralph,

There are emergency situations in which I feel should allow cops to ie. ride on side walks, go through red lights with sirens carefully, etc. I also agree about the cell phone issue.


Officers, or at least Supervisors or Shift Commanders have cell phones. They should be able to use the department issued cell phones when needed.

As for officers using cell phones to call home or personal stuff. I can only suggest: Set an example. Pull over and make the call. You practice what you preach?????????

Posted by: THREEFIFTHS | March 20, 2009 6:11 PM

Morris Cove
I do sometimes Blog on the New york Times And Daliy News and most of the time it is not about Law Enforcement. As far as my family members on the force They see what goes on in the department and share there story with me,In fact they have told me that they are call rats and snitches for turning Officers in who violate the law they are sworn to enforce.I will say it again I hate Crooked Cops!!!!!!!,Do you know that crooked cops cost the taxpayes big money in lawsuits. It seems to me that with your statement you defend all cops.Last Rember it is the police who are to be held up to a high standard then the people who they are sworn to protect.Last your are right Forget NYPD,I forgot the good old Madsion police
department,They love there seafood and there woman
at night,You know what I am talking about!!!!!!

Posted by: Morris Cove | March 21, 2009 12:51 AM

Threefiths

I don't know what article your refering to, because I didn't read anywhere in this article about a crooked cop, but maybe you confused it with the Daily News, try rereading this article and make a valid point.

I also don't condone bad cops, but I do support the good ones like the two who recently caught the guy wanted in a shooting, try reading it in this same online paper, on the left side...I'm sure you missed it.

Posted by: free speech | March 21, 2009 6:04 PM

Ross,
My point here is "saftey." Police Officers should with out any doubt should be allowed to ride on certain streets in New HAven Especially the downtown (dt) district. There are many areas in DT that the average eye would not see if you are riding your bike on the street. I personally would feel horrible if i picked up the paper one morning and read that you or someone i care for was assualted or mugged at for example, in the alleyway on chapel, in one of the parking lots in DT. When it comes to crime, i would think any police department should be proactive not reactive to crime. However, i completely agree with regulation control, but you need to pick you battles, and this one is not one. Just because there are some bad apples in some police department does not mean they are all bad, that issue is getting old.

Posted by: laststraw | March 21, 2009 9:42 PM

Every time we see a cops are good vs. cops are bad argument on the NHI, spelling and grammar go out the window. What up wit dat?

Posted by: Free speech | March 22, 2009 12:02 PM

Last Straw,
I nominate you to be the grammar police.

Posted by: laststraw | March 22, 2009 10:31 PM

Ha!
FS, job accepted!
I once held a job that involved close work with a few local-level police departments. This job required the writing of reports and the review of police reports. The police reports were usually rife with misspellings and poor grammar. I used to joke with my co-workers that it was because, "old jocks become cops". The responses I read on NHI regarding "police matters" lead me to believe the summation was true, and that, "old cheerleaders become NHI cheerleaders of bad cops".
That said, I will be the first to admit that the majority of cops, especially in New Haven, have their shizz together, but unfortunately, their supporters never do.
Want me to believe the "pro-cop" contingent is in the right? Pay attention to those little red lines that show up under the words you type.
Just sayin'.

Posted by: JMS | March 23, 2009 9:05 PM

http://www.igotnewsforyou.com/images/swiss_cow.jpg

Posted by: Dr. Wednesday | June 13, 2009 5:26 AM

1.) I've never heard of a pastor calling anyone an "asshole." That actually kind of shocks me, and if I were to know that this guy were a pastor and used that kind of language, I would applaud any officer for citing it as breach of peace. Plus, I didn't see anywhere in the article where Mr. Stueckle called Alderman Bisson an a-hole while riding his bike... so maybe he has a personal issue with officers? 2-6-1-2.

2.) As a pastor, should he not be one of the first kind to be so forgiving of others? Just because he had one run in with a police bike, he therefore has to assume the worst of ALL bicycle cops?

3.) Bicycle police are and should be allowed to ride on the sidewalk. They have to pass a safety course for bicycle riding, so I'm pretty sure that police officers on bicycles aren't the reckless kind that would be running into people just for sport. If ever the chance came where a police officer on a bicycle comes close to a pedestrian, I would first think that the officer may be trying to respond to a call as quickly as possible; I wouldn't just assume he's specifically targeting me because I'm walking on the sidewalk.

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