SF Cops Refuse to Pursue Hit-And-Run Case

December 16th, 2009 by hughillustration


A couple months ago, blogger JWZ witnessed a hit-and-run:

Monday around 6pm, netik and I were biking West on Harrison on the right side when a car passed me on the left, within a few inches. I had enough time to think, “Hey, that was close”, look forward, and yell “Look out!” before the car’s mirror hit netik’s handle bar from behind and sent him tumbling. The guy kept driving. I chased after the car, pulled up to his window and said, “Hey! You just hit that guy!” He look at me and said, in a calm deadpan, “Really? That’s just terrible.” And then he drove off.

JWZ collected witness testimony, grabbed a photo of the driver’s license plate, and filed a complaint with the police. Standard operating procedure which should have led to, as JWZ noted, loss of “driver’s license, loss of insurance, $1,000 to $10,000 fine, and possible jail time.”

Well, JWZ has now heard back from the SFPD, and it ain’t pretty:

John called SFPD, went down to the police station in person and filed a report (case 091-062-114), and after several followup phone calls over the next few weeks was told:

“No action has been taken on your case, but you can call the DMV and get the person’s plate if you want to file a civil suit.”

The fact that the SFPD can’t muster the energy to go after a well-documented case of a hit-and-run comes as no surprise to anyone who has experienced the disdain that many SF cops have for bicyclists and bicycling generally. In my experience, the view of many police is that motorized vehicles are the real legitimate traffic on city streets, and that pedestrians and bicyclists are simply interlopers temporarily borrowing access to a scarce resource. Check out this recent post on Streetsblog for further testimony of a police bias against cyclists.

One Response to “SF Cops Refuse to Pursue Hit-And-Run Case”

  1. bodzin says:

    i had a similar experience when i was hit and run a few years ago. a few being about 14 now. it was quite annoying at the time, in part because i felt like this guy was obviously a crap driver, and was at risk of killing someone in the future.

    still, there is the issue of police resources. the sfpd, like all california agencies, is stretched thin. a friend’s ex was found dead in his apartment with many signs of homicide and the sfpd never got around to investigating. (see http://huguesdelaplaza.blogspot.com/ ) obviously you have the right to kvetch, but if they aren’t even doing the most basic investigation of homicide, you can’t probably expect much from them on an accident where nobody died.