Letters to the Web Site
England, Israel, Australia, Canada, the US
It was sad to look at all those photos and to read the story of your July 25th Critical Mass ride. We have started Critical Mass in Tel-Aviv only 2 months ago, with wishes to make it a regular event, and a massive one.
Although we're in Israel, somewhat far away from SF, I'll put a link to your site (http://www.brasscheck.com/cm), soon.
Eitan Lahat - Israel
We here in Sydney have seen the evidence of police brutality in SF. We know that the people who attend the CM rides are sensible, well motivated, and responsible. I think I can speak for the Sydney CM when I say we are OUTRAGED by these events. We ALL wish to support the riders in SF. Don't be frightened. You are close to getting real focus on the issues cyclists want to raise all around the world. Our Mass here is small by comparison but we are with you. Our experience here is that police intervention creates more trouble than it solves. Critical Mass is NON-VIOLENT DIRECT ACTION. This is a powerful weapon. You have the numbers. We wish you the strength and determination which Ghandi showed in the struggle for justice. We hope that as the cases of the arrested riders are tired in court the TRUTH will emerge.
Steve McMaugh - Sydney, Australia
I am in the progress of rounding up all stories pertaining to Critical Masses in the last six months from Toronto, as well as info concerning killed or injured cyclists.
My fiancee is a criminal lawyer and I have her looking up any relevant Canadian case law or precedent cases. Let me know if there is anything specific you need -- you are probably busy on your end, so give a shout and I will do my best.
I have been circulating details about the travesty among friends and I believe some of the Toronto weeklies will be running stories concerning the topic next issue.
Violence and brutality has no place in a civilized society, especially when it comes from those who are paid to serve and protect us.
Paul Adams - Toronto, Canada
An excellent exposition of events. I am a CM regular here in London, England, and we're pretty shocked about what happened to you all. Here anti-cyclist rhetoric is fairly common in the media, but has been retreating in the political sphere. I'm just amazed about your mayor!
We are used to police violence off-camera during direct actions here, but such a blatant and public crackdown is a relative rarity. Well, come to think of it, we have had similar/worse police riots at events like the anti-poll tax rally in 1990, and during a recent march for social justice this year.
I'll spread the word about your site, and return for updates. I hope the Mass continues in strength.
Trevor Parsons - London, England
Your use of photographs and the web to put forward a documented charge of abuse of power by the police is one of the most encouraging things I've seen in a long time. The "official media" is frequently either "not curious" or otherwise distracted from what people view in their daily lives.
The police attacks on cameras and photographers is telling, in particular. We see many harbingers of the government's interest in chilling the use of the web for "people's publication", as well.
I congratulate you on your use of the web and personal photography to bring this abuse to public knowledge.
I am a southern, conservative, 50+ guy, and you might think such folks would not be on your side. I can argue with western, liberal, young people, and we'll get along just fine and buy one another a cup of coffee or a cold brew. What I'm worried about is when people have great power (such as the power to smash your head in), are armed, operate as a gang, and have impugnity from anyone checking their power. That, unfortunately, describes today's police too often. What you describe brings back pictures of Selma Alabama police turning fire hoses on marchers and sending attack dogs on peaceful marchers.
Just as we have a legitimate reason to fear gangs, we have legitimate reasons to fear police when they operate as a "gang". To maintain respect for the law and for police, we must prosecute gang behavior by police whereever it occurs.
You've done a very good thing, on historic par with the Greensboro, NC lunch counter sit-ins of the 60's. I salute you. I hope the cylclists and others in SF will stand up for what is right, and bring this police riot to court action. If it can happen with SF police, which I would expect to be among the most enlightened and tolerant in the nation, imagine what can happen elsewhere!
Subject: Marion Barry's looking pretty good right now....
WOW! I've had some cops give me a hard time riding my bike before but this is crazy. Keep me posted on what's really happened. I will share your story with friends here...the USA Today story circulated, but I felt it made cyclists look like nuts...and I think we all know who the real maniacs are... Hang in there!
Tom Maggio - Washington D.C.
Please send me updates on the Critical Mass story. Thanks for publishing this info on the web; it's a great example of the power of the internet.
Please add me to the list to receive updates on what's happening. I can't believe this has happened in America. I witnessed police abuse like this (against cyclists, no less) when I lived in Germany in the early 80's, and I was always grateful that I was an American.
Please keep me informed of the events around Critical Mass. Seeing the pictures gives me flashbacks of Chicago and many war related events.
from Richmond, Virginia
After reading about the events which occured in San Fransico at critical mass; I am appauled at the way that the police treated the cyclists and the bystanding pedestrians. It is hard to believe that they can have so much power and the ability to control and arrest innocent people for no real reason! I am very concerned that such an event could take place without a large media response to inform the community of what happened, but then again the police probably had a lot to do with covering up the whole event.I live in Sydney and am in total support of cyclists as not only is it a much cheaper and healthier alternative but it is also much much much better for the environment.I hope that a positive outcome comes from this in terms of unity within cyclists-who although do not have a lot of control over the police actions can be certain that there are people all over the world supporting their cause.
THANKYOU FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU!
from Syndey, Australia
Please send me e-mail updates on the follow up to the critical mass "riot" in S.F.
We have been considering a move to S.F. from Austin, TX. Perhaps we should reconsider.
R.L. Davis - Austin, Texas
We won't share your address with anyone else and
you can remove yourself from the list easily any time.
Currently, we are the only source of info on this story