A Bronx cyclist claims he suffered nerve damage to his wrists after he was detained by cops for running a red light last weekend. "I believe that the amount of force used on me was extremely excessive and totally unnecessary, and it seems that this sort of behavior is starting to become a bit of a trend when it comes to how the police treat cyclists," Jorge Crespo wrote us.
Crespo was stopped by cops while riding north on the Grand Concourse around midnight on Sunday, October 6th. He admits he ran the light after stopping ("there weren't any cars at the intersection"), but he says the officers were "extremely hostile and offensive" off the bat. Among other things, they mocked his weight (“If you are a biker you should be in better shape”), threw his bike on the ground, and subjected him to a stop-and-frisk: "Not sure why this happened since you don't get frisked or get your belongings tossed around when you get a ticket while driving a car. I guess cyclists are just such a big threat to society that extra precautions need to be taken."
Because he argued with the officers over how they were treating his bike (he claims they kept knocking it to the ground even after he tried to put it against a nearby wall), Crespo says he was handcuffed and taken to the police station during a painful ride: "My cuffs were extremely tight and my arms quickly started to cramp up. When I told the officer that I was in pain he just smirked and told me, 'They are not designed for comfort.'"
He ended up being given two summonses—one for the red light and one for not “complying.” As he was leaving the station, he noticed his hands were swollen, but he was more concerned at the time with his bike being damaged. The next day, however, he realized his hands were worse than he thought:
I noticed that my right thumb was numb and I had lost some dexterity on my right hand. I became very worried and decided that I would go to the ER if my hand did not feel normal by the end of my shift. After a few x-rays the doctor told me that I have nerve damage and also may have a broker bone on my wrist. As far as nerve damage goes it “should” heal over time but I need a follow up to get more x-rays done in a week or so to see if the bone is broken or not. I am wearing a cast and can't work for 10 days until I follow up and make sure nothing is permanently damaged.
Obviously this isn't the first time police have tightened an arrestee's handcuffs to the point that they caused pain and even injury. In 2004, the NYCLU sued the city [pdf] over unlawful arrests during the Republican National Convention; some of the plaintiffs who were detained during the protests claimed their handcuffs were fastened brutally tight. Crespo, for his part, says that after the arrest he "spoke to the Lieutenant and filed a complaint with internal affairs for the poor handling of my bike."