We were on TV yesterday on Channel 8 News Now. It was about my 56-minute handcuffing. The reporter, Colleen McCarty, did an AWESOME job covering the story. To get the police's side of the story, Sgt. Tim Bedwell, PIO, made himself available and insinuated that Dave and I were "baiting" police officers.
That's funny coming from Bedwell, since both Dave and I talked extensively to him and WARNED him that his Agency was violating people's rights by pulling them over to do helmet safety inspections.
Sgt. Bedwell has manipulated reporters in the past to promote helmet "propaganda."
Below is the email correspondence between Sgt. Bedwell and me. I've forwarded all of this to our Senators.
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Subject: SB177 - See News Clip from Last Night's Channel 8 News Now
Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 10:30:23 -0700
Dear Sgt. Bedwell,
In last night's Channel 8 News report, you had a lot of nerve calling people like David Stilwell and me, police "baitors." When NLV got a grant to pull motorcyclists over to inspect helmets this time last year, we gave you fair warning that the helmet law is unenforceable.
PROOF POSITIVE BELOW TO YOU ET AL, THAT WE ATTEMPT AT ALL TIMES TO SOLVE PROBLEMS THROUGH DIALOGUE AND EDUCATION BEFORE ANY OFFICER IS INVOLVED!
One of your officers gave Dave a helmet ticket despite that "warning." If an officer has "probable cause," he cannot be baited!
Dave not only proved to your agency that the helmet law is unenforceable and that there is no probable cause to give motorcyclists citations for their headgear, but in a nationally unprecedented judicial ruling, the City of NLV is now liable to pay Dave and his attorney all fees and costs.
Despite your attempts back then to keep a distance between your Mayor and me, it appears the City of NLV did stop detaining motorcyclists for helmet inspections, since I have received no more reports from my readers of helmet citations.
As for your contention that your officers were not focused on helmets, I'd like to draw your attention to the arbitrary and capricious citation given to Greg Dickens, published in the February edition of QuickThrottle Magazine. The case was dismissed, but only after a great deal of anxiety by a law-abiding citizen during the holidays.
"Which Nevada motorcycle safety “expert” advised the City of North Las Vegas that handing out of more helmet citations would prevent accidents?" Could that be YOU, Sgt. Bedwell?
David Stilwell continues to be available to discuss problems regarding the helmet law enforcement.
Las Vegas, NV
I don't ride to be safe, I ride to be free.
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 17:12:43 -0700
To: TigerLily <email@example.com
CC: CaseyJ@cityofnorthlasvegas.com; GoldsberryS@cityofnorthlasvegas.com; HamiltonJ@cityofnorthlasvegas.com; MoreyT@cityofnorthlasvegas.com
Subject: Re: Novely Helmet Crackdown
I saw you speak at the City Council meeting last Wednesday and intended to introduce myself. Unfortunately, I missed your exit.
Your statement contains opinions with which the department disagrees and one point that demands correction. Your comment that I am, "under the false impression that law enforcers have the authority to pull anyone over at “the police officer‘s discretion"" is inaccurate. I am under no such impression, so David misinterpreted what I said.
As for your question about supposed “recent and aggressive enforcement of novelty helmets” which you refer to as an “aggressive and unconstitutional initiative,” the department has not initiated any such program.
The enforcement activity you originally called me about was part of a continuing “Joining Forces” effort. That event, which took place Friday, June 18th, 2010, was focused on the following violations: speeding, aggressive driving, DOT approved helmets, illegal equipment and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to educating motorcycle riders, the Joining Forces team took enforcement action on vehicles that pose a hazard to motorcycle riders. In fact, the vast majority of the citations written that day were to automobile drivers for violations that most seriously affect motorcycle operators, i.e., speeding, failing to yield in a left turn, etc.
I hope this helps you better understand the department’s efforts to make our streets safer for motorcyclists.
>>> "TigerLily ." <firstname.lastname@example.org> 7/12/2010 9:44 AM >>>
Dear Sgt. Bedwell,
I would still like to know who initiated the recent and aggressive enforcement of novelty helmets.
And as a follow-up, I spoke to the City Council at their meeting last week. (Below is my statement - and it includes your comment to David Stilwell.)
I would also like to know officially if the City of North Las Vegas has reconsidered this aggressive and unconstitutional initiative. If not, how could I have the State's top helmet law expert, David Stilwell, speak to the person(s) responsible for this initative?
A courtesy response from you indicating you received this email will be appreciated, as deadline for me to submit my article is July 15th.
Thank you for your help,
Southern Nevada Account Manager
Mayor and City Council, thank you for the opportunity to speak. My name is Lily Gonzalez and I am a resident of North Las Vegas and a journalist for QuickThrottle Magazine, a magazine that advocates the interests of motorcyclists and businesses that support them. As such, when a reader called me to say that Chanel 8 News reported on June 18 that the City of North Las Vegas Police Department was about to target persons wearing novelty helmets, I became concerned.
Although everyone knows that Nevada is a “helmet” State, it is clear that the enforceability of this law is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible for anyone wearing just about anything that even closely resembles a helmet. That is why Nevada Highway Troopers have ceased to give helmet citations.
But the word has been slower to reach local municipalities. One who learned quickly was the Henderson Police Department who was unable to convict 56 helmet tickets and lost over $88,000 in fines alone, not to mention the administrative costs incurred to attempt to prosecute these 56 helmet tickets. If it would have been possible to get helmet convictions why, then, did the City of Henderson allow for loss of this astounding amount of revenue?
I sent my concerns to this administration and was helped by Ms. Juliet Casey. However, with the exception of Sgt. Bedwell, who is under the false impression that law enforcers have the authority to pull anyone over at “the police officer‘s discretion,” I have had no returned calls or emails from leaders in the North Las Vegas Police Department.
I question the authority by which any law enforcer in the State of Nevada can pull over a motorcyclist to ensure the legality of a helmet. Did you know, that the helmets used by your own North Las Vegas police department officers are not known to be compliant by the police department or the City of North Las Vegas? The City of North Las Vegas has admitted their officers have not been trained to determine the legality of helmets. When pulled over, bikers are cited and told to take it to court. Decent, law-abiding, citizens are then forced to decide whether to pay the $300 fine or risk losing their job to take time off of work to challenge the ticket.
My magazine’s network of biker activist consultants have identified seven North Las Vegas helmet citations and those cited are being educated by a man who has been publicly recognized as “the most knowledgeable helmet law expert in the State of Nevada.“ This expert is David Stilwell and he was key to getting the 56 Henderson helmet tickets dropped, and Mr. Stilwell also, received a helmet citation by your NLVPD.
I have been told that your City has suffered severe cutbacks in staffing. We are all hurting economically. But taking away $300 from a citizen who may need that money to pay their rent and feed their family to increase your city’s revenue is immoral and un-American, if you continue to do so while knowing that the enforceability of this law impossible.
Communities should be working collaboratively with law enforcers. But more and more, there is a climate of “us” vs. “them,” as evidenced by the stonewalling we have received by your City’s police department as they continue to ignore our concerns.
We respectfully request to know who authorized this aggressive crackdown of so called, “novelty helmets?” And we respectfully request a meeting between those persons and David Stilwell in order that Mr. Stilwell may shed legal light upon this concerning issue.