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Update: Redmond Police 'Have No Policies' on Recording Officers

The Seattle cyclist who posted a video to YouTube showing a dispute with a Redmond officer says he's not planning to pursue legal action at this time.

The currently does not have any policies in place regarding a person's right to record officers, Lt. Charlie Gorman, a department spokesman, told Redmond Patch on Wednesday morning.

“We have no policies. Basically, there’s no statute stopping someone from taping an officer when they’re in public view,” Gorman said.

The question came to light after a Seattle cyclist about a dispute he had with a Redmond police officer last Saturday. In the video, Officer Bill Corson threatens the cyclist with arrest for using a cell phone app to record their interaction during a traffic stop.

The cyclist, Stephen Kent, said in an email to Redmond Patch that he is no longer considering legal action and is glad the Redmond Police Department appears to be taking his complaint seriously. Police Chief Ron Gibson saying the department has launched an internal investigation, which is expected to take 30 days.

This is not the first time Kent has recorded police officers in the line of duty. Several months ago, he said he recorded Redmond police officers responding to a fistfight between two homeless individuals outside the on Redmond Way.

"I record all police interactions (which are fortunately infrequent) using Qik, which streams live to the internet for the unlikely event that my phone is confiscated or destroyed," Kent wrote in an email. "It's the best protection for all parties involved in case someone alleges misconduct or something that didn't happen."

Kent, who is in his 20s and rides his bike every day, said he used to live in Redmond when he worked at and was riding from a friend's apartment to the when he and two other friends were stopped on Cleveland Street.

Although two of the three cyclists in his group were riding abreast in the right lane, in his Reddit post Kent said he does not believe this violates state law because the one-way street has two lanes going in the same direction, enabling vehicles to pass the group in the left lane. Kent received a warning for being in violation of RCW 46.61.427 and RCW 46.61.425.

"I ride a bike every day in Seattle (it's my car), and I'm very familiar with the bike laws," said Kent, who currently works as a software engineer for a small company in downtown Seattle. "Officer Corson was really condescending, not to mention incorrect, when he wrote me the warning. I don't think there's any further action on the warning itself, although I hope Redmond PD will familiarize itself with both the bike laws and bike safety guidelines as well."

Gorman said the City of Redmond does not have any codes concerning bicyclists riding side by side in the roadway. Cyclists are responsible for adhering to the same laws that govern motor vehicles, such as signaling while turning, he said. 

Although Gorman said he is not familiar with the reasons why Kent was stopped, he said he believes a cyclist who occupies the entire right lane on a two-lane, one-way street would be in compliance with state law, just as a motor vehicle would.

“Bicyclists are subject to the same laws that a vehicle would be subject to on the roadway,” Gorman said.

Chalen Maarten May 31, 2012 at 04:15 AM
I love living in a city where this is news! Multiple homicides in Seattle today.
Orin June 03, 2012 at 04:50 AM
RCW 46.61.770 overides both RCW 46.61.427 and RCW 46.61.425 in this situation and the officer was wrong. RCW 46.61.770: (1) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe except as may be appropriate while preparing to make or while making turning movements, or while overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway or highway other than a limited-access highway, which roadway or highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near to the left side of the left through lane as is safe. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway may use the shoulder of the roadway or any specially designated bicycle lane if such exists. (2) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

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