Silverthorne: Woman sues state patrol over bike case
summit daily news
Silverthorne, CO Colorado
What started out as an uneventful bike ride through Silverthorne in July ended up with Lory Weissman face down on the pavement under restraint by a state trooper ” and a tangle of lawsuits to sort it out.
On July 10, Weissman was preparing to cross her bike at the Wildernest Road crosswalk near Stephen’s Way after returning from a ride up Loveland Pass, and an oncoming vehicle came to a stop when it noticed her approaching.
Troopers Ryan Boone and Brian Reid with the Colorado State Patrol were parked near the crosswalk, and, when they noticed the oncoming car stop abruptly, Boone pulled Weissman over for obstructing vehicle traffic.
“I had no idea why I was being pulled over,” Weissman said. “I live in Wildernest. I have crossed that crosswalk many times before.”
Boone believed Weissman was violating a state law that does not afford bikers the same right-of-way as pedestrians, but the law was amended several years ago, giving bicyclists the same protections in crosswalks as
“I felt like her actions were a safety hazard,” Boone testified at a jury trial Feb. 12. “It looked like she was going to ride through the crosswalk … even though she stopped.”
Boone approached Weissman on her bike and asked her for her name and identification, to which she replied that her last name was “Smith.”
“I did admit that I gave them the wrong name,” Weissman said outside the courtroom. “But, I was so scared. I wasn’t in my right mindset.”
As Boone and Reid began walking back to their patrol vehicle to verify Weissman’s identity, she thought she was free to go, even though Boone and Reid both testified that Boone told her to “hold tight” before walking away.
When Weissman began to pedal away, Boone and Reid gave chase and pulled her over a few feet down the road.
“They thought I was running away, but I was going slow,” Weissman said.
Weissman was still on her bike when Boone grabbed her arm and began to execute a maneuver known as a “straight-arm bar takedown,” twisting her arm behind her back while taking her down to the ground.
“When he went up to her, he should have verbally commanded her off the bike,” said Heather Beattie, Weissman’s attorney. “Police adhere to a force continuum for a reason, and verbal orders come before any contact.”
Weissman began screaming and flailing when Boone placed her on the ground, and she received cuts and scrapes on her elbows and knees.
Despite Weissman refusing medical treatment for financial reasons, the troopers were required to call for an ambulance, and she was taken to St. Anthony’s Medical Center, where she made sure photographs were taken of her injuries.
“The whole thing was horrendous,” Weissman said. “I was just going out for a bike ride, and I ended up getting assaulted.”
The following day, Weissman called the district attorney to file charges against the trooper who used force against her, but she never got a call back.
Some time later, when she decided to find her own attorney, she was surprised to learn that she had been charged with obstructing justice, resisting arrest and false reporting.
“She gave a false name and lied. We take lying to the police very seriously,” said District Attorney Mark Hurlbert. “She was also combative. If you are cooperative with police, then they will give you the benefit of the doubt. But if you are abusive, then it is a different
A jury acquitted Weissman on the obstruction of justice and resisting arrest charges after the day-long trial Feb. 12, and the false-reporting misdemeanor charge resulted in a little over $300 in fines.
In early January, Weissman and her attorney filed their intention to sue the Colorado State Patrol over the use of force during the encounter.
The incident sparked an internal investigation at the state patrol, and an administrative action was taken against one of the troopers, according to Colorado State Patrol Capt. Ron Prater.
“As far as police go, I am deeply disappointed and upset about this while thing,” Weissman said. “I never received an apology or any real admittance that they were in the wrong.”
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