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Game Changer? LAPD to Join Next Critical Mass Bicycle Ride

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Photo by digablesoul via Flickr
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The face of Critical Mass in Los Angeles could change next week when the LAPD takes part. Yesterday, they announced to cyclists that they would join the June 25th ride. "The Department will support the rights of all persons to peacefully gather and bring attention to their cause," a flyer read. "LAPD officers will be present to ensure the safety of all those who lawfully participate and will take enforcement action against those who violate the law or the vehicle code."

Sgt. David Krumer, the LAPD's main bicycle liaison, said the move was based on cyclists asking the department at a recent meeting stemming from last months' Critical Mass where officers allegedly used force against cyclists for no reason. One of the incidents was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube. The videographer was apparently tackled and later filed a claim against the city. In response, an Internal Affairs investigation was launched and Chief Charlie Beck promised better police-cyclists relations.

Krumer says the LAPD still does not have a good strategy for large bike rides, so next week's ride will be both an opportunity to "facilitate the ride and discourage elements that are really taking advantage of Critical Mass for their own purposes."