Sunday, June 30, 2002
Arrest of two bicyclists sparks protest outside Jefferson jail
Cyclists said they had the right to ride in the road and noted it is illegal to ride on the
By Nancy C. Rodriguez
The arrest of two bicyclists on Bardstown Road prompted a 30-person protest
outside the Jefferson County jail last night, with friends of the cyclists claiming
Louisville police used excessive force.
Police, however, say the bicyclists were creating unsafe traffic conditions yesterday
on Bardstown Road and Eastern Parkway.
During the protest outside the jail, protesters held signs reading ''Cycling is not a
crime'' and ''No police brutality.''
Cyclists who said they had been riding with the two people who'd been arrested
acknowledged they were slowing traffic by riding in the road. But, they said, they
had the right to ride in the road, and noted it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk.
Police charged David Zoller, 19, of New Albany, Ind., with disorderly conduct,
resisting arrest and traveling too slowly for conditions. Kenny Baker, 18, of the 700
block of Rubel Avenue, was charged with failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.
The two were expected to be released last night, police said.
According to Maj. Michael Dossett, commander of the 1st Police District, police
received two calls between 5 and 6 p.m. reporting a group of 30 to 40 protesters
were blocking traffic on Bardstown Road. The second caller told police one of the
cyclists had hit a car, and the group was creating a large disturbance.
When an officer arrived he found a large group of people in both northbound lanes
of Bardstown Road. ''They were impeding the flow of traffic. They were traveling
between 3 and 5 miles an hour and the first officer on the scene asked them to
disperse and allow normal traffic flow,'' Dossett said.
Dossett said officers saw pamphlets at the scene containing information about
cyclists' rights. The pamphlet, from a group called Critical Mass, refers to ''a bicycle
ride in which a large number of cyclists congregate on a city street in order to
promote bicycles' equal access to the road. The large numbers are effective in
protecting themselves from automobiles.''
Friends of the two teen-agers disputed police accounts.
Jenine Bressner of Providence, R.I., who was one of seven people riding bikes with
Zoller and Baker, said police used profanity and were unnecessarily violent. She said
Zoller was trying to talk calmly to police when an officer dragged him off his bike
and wrestled him to the ground. During the scuffle, Bressner said, Zoller gashed his
head on some glass on the sidewalk, and was bleeding.
''He threw him around like he was a rag doll. It was really frightful, really horrific,''
Others who were riding bikes with the two men gave similar accounts.
But Dossett said he has no report of excessive force being used. He said Zoller did
scratch his head while resisting arrest, but the cut was minor and did not require
Dossett said bicyclists have the right to ride in the road, but must follow the same
laws as other vehicles.