The Lafayette Police Department has apologized on behalf of an officer who wrongfully ticketed and detained a bicyclist for riding through a crosswalk.
"Police officers are human just like everyone else, and they do tend to make mistakes from time to time," Lafayette police Chief Rick Bashor said. "In this case, the officer made a mistake. He misinterpreted a state law."
The incident took place last week at the corner of Minotaur Circle and South Boulder Road in Lafayette, when officer Sean Jenneiahn stopped a male cyclist — listed on Facebook as Vince Marten, of Louisville, but whose name and age police have not confirmed — for not dismounting at the crosswalk.
Marten couldn't be reached for comment.
In a video recorded by the cyclist, which has amassed more than 4,000 shares on Facebook, Jenneiahn says, "You have to walk your bike. That's what the law says."
"We can do this one way," the officer continued, after the cyclist refused to identify himself. "You can give me your information, or I'll take you down to the police department."
"Are you having a bad day?" the cyclist asked. "Are you taking it out on me?"
According to Bashor, the cyclist was detained but never formally arrested.
"He never left the roadside," Bashor said. "The officer found a phone number and learned his name from his grandfather, who explained to the officer that the young man had anger issues. The officer then issued the summons and released him at the scene."
Bashor said that, prior to the run-in, Jenneiahn had been on the scene for a minor accident between a car and a bike. While the officer was investigating that incident, the cyclist apparently came down the sidewalk and rode through the crosswalk.
According to Bashor, Jenneiahn's decision to write the cyclist a summons came from the officer's misunderstanding of section 1412 of Colorado's Model Traffic Code, which stipulates, among other things, that every cyclist "shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this code" and "shall be subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles."
Section 1412 lists no punishable offense connected to an individual safely biking through a crosswalk.
Bashor confirmed that the summons will be dismissed and said he has instructed Jenneiahn to write a letter of apology to the person he detained.
"It was a mistake. We've done some remedial training on that law, and making sure (Jenneiahn) understands the law, which he now does," Bashor said. "We've gone over this and are continuing to go over this with officers, to make sure everyone understands the law as it is written."
Aside from the letter of apology, Bashor said, the officer will not be further penalized.