The Palos Verdes Peninsula now has three cycling fatalities since March. The most recent person to die on a bicycle was John Bacon, age 68, a guy many of us knew from his old-school, dark green steel Eddy Merckx.
The facts surrounding his death are unclear. Immediately prior to his demise a surveillance camera shot video of a white pickup trailing him very closely. Here’s the pic:
The PV Estates Police Department is well known for its aggressive policing of property crimes, which makes sense in this super-rich, highly white, greedily exclusive enclave whose unofficial motto is “Don’t Touch My Shit.” A recent burglary caused law enforcement here to call in a helicopter, with all hands on deck by the police, and they fully cordoned off neighborhood.
Because you know, someone’s jewelry might get stolen.
One on one the officers here are professional and polite, but they take direction from their boss, who takes direction from the City Manager, who takes direction from the City Council, who takes direction from the Don’t Touch My Shitters. And cyclist deaths mean little or nothing to the wretched excuses for human life who run city politics here.
The police put out an all points bulletin for the white pickup and they put up a couple of signs going up and down Granvira Altamira requesting information. That, folks, is what a suspicious death of a cyclist merits in PVE. Two flashing signs.
What do you think they would have done if a couple of kids from Compton had rolled into town and shot someone?
The only real detective work done on the case was by outraged cyclists who identified a truck the following day at a construction site near the death scene that was extremely similar to the one in the video. After phoning in the information to the PV police, the caller waited for forty-five minutes for someone to come.
No one did, and the truck left. Because, donuts and coffee.
Imagine if an upstanding white property owner in PV had been gunned down at Malaga Cove and someone called in a tip that the African-American shooter was a few yards away the following day. It’s easy to imagine the response that would have gotten, and the hailstorm of lead that would have rained down.
Eventually a person did voluntarily appear at the police department for questioning, but he didn’t match the physical description of the person of interest in the APB, who was a heavyset white male. The PV cops decided that due to “minor differences” in the two vehicles, a running board and a tinted window, that it was definitively not the car in question.
Of course these are items that can be quickly added to a car to change its appearance, and there’s no indication that they did a detailed investigation of the front of the truck, which could still have had paint transfers or other evidence of hitting John if that’s in fact what happened. What’s even stranger is that the cyclist who called in the tip later talked to the person who appeared to be the owner of the truck, who was in fact a heavyset white male. It seems that the person who went in for questioning may not have even been the owner of the truck.
Later that day on Friday the 20th, the police put out another bulletin saying that thanks to a phone tip they had finally found the driver of the vehicle they were seeking. The report didn’t say whether it was the same truck that the cyclist had phoned in, and an NBC reporter couldn’t get the PV police to confirm, but it’s hard to imagine who else it could be.
If it turns out that the “person of interest” who has notably not yet been charged or arrested is the owner of the truck called in by the cyclist, it will only underscore what we already know: When it comes to doing police work regarding dead cyclists, the PVE police have more important priorities.
If it turns out to be someone else, it still doesn’t explain the police department’s lethargic response to this epidemic of death on the peninsula. What makes it worse is that after John’s death no less than four cyclists reported being previously buzzed and harassed by a white pickup and driver matching this vehicle’s description. The environment of hostility and hate towards cyclists in Palos Verdes has a parallel with the local surfing gang known as The Bay Boys.
Don’t touch my waves, don’t touch my shit. Even when the ocean and the roads aren’t mine.
Stay tuned …
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