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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Claims Filed for Bicyclists Detained During Convention

October 12, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for 71 bicycle riders arrested and eventually cleared of misdemeanor charges during the Democratic National Convention filed claims Wednesday against the city and county alleging false arrest.

One of the attorneys, Timothy J. Midgley, said the claims were a procedural step before the riders could sue the city for the arrests and the county for the way the riders were treated at Twin Towers jail. Some of those arrested said deputies held them in jail for as long as five days--a penalty they said was excessive.

At a news conference in front of Los Angeles police headquarters at Parker Center, Midgley and several of the riders said the police gave them no reason for the arrests. One rider, USC assistant professor Christopher Weare, said he was hit three times one LAPD officer's bike.

Another rider, Michelle Mascarenhas, 29, said LAPD officers used threatening language to intimidate the riders, some of whom were members of Critical Mass, a group that organizes large bike rides to promote alternatives to cars.

Representatives of LAPD and the Sheriff's Department declined comment Wednesday. At the time, police said the arrests were made because the riders were just one of the protest groups causing havoc on the streets during the convention, an assertion many of the riders deny.

The riders were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a public way, resisting arrest and reckless driving, but those charges were eventually dropped.

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