Davis Man Complains about Not Being Allowed to Do Ride Along

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Editor’s note: Mason Harry came by the Vanguard office on Tuesday and showed me a four-year-old video of a routine traffic stop – and by routine, it was as routine as it could get.  He was pulled over for making some sort of illegal turn, and he said it ended up getting dismissed by the courts.  He was a bit reluctant to open the window which convinced the officer to have him step outside of the vehicle, but the officer was professional and the situation resolved itself quickly. 

Unfortunately, the incident became a reason for denying Mr. Harry a chance to do a ride along.

Mason Harry went to the council on Tuesday evening and delivered the following comments.

I’ve come here to ask the council why it is acceptable for the police department to deny a ride along to an innocent man.

I had a ride along scheduled Saturday and when I arrived Watch Commander Kim stated that due to my “criminal background,” a term used to describe someone who, again, has yet to be convicted of so much as a parking ticket in Davis, the police quote was they “don’t feel comfortable having me in the car,”

Now she cited two incidents. Both ending in dropped charges and occurring over four years ago, so why are they grounds for disqualification now?

Well let’s address the elephant in the room, last time I was here, in a long scientific way I stated that essentially government is pointless because what happened to Officer Corona can happen to anyone in this room or outside of it any day, and no amount of laws, taxes or boots on the ground will change that reality and that we all, government and citizens alike, are essentially sacrificing our freedom and desire for nothing.

Now I’m not the only person in opposition of the police. The last one as we all know chose to use violence, and the others choose to only speak from their own safe spaces and echo chambers with covered ears.

But I scheduled the ride along to not only give them a chance to rebut my claims and tell their side of the story but to show me the errors of my way.

Yet in these times of division they slapped my olive branch to the ground.

But I can’t blame them, because I do sound a bit like a mad ideologue with a personal vendetta.

But I am no ideologue, I’m a scientist.

And in that spirit I have not come here for rhetoric, I’ve come for results.

I don’t not want an apology, written or verbal, from any member of the Davis government.

The beauty of science is that it is not the business of making requests, it is the business of making examples.  And the best examples make themselves.

I have spoken to the press about my non-existent criminal background – the biggest impact is on the other side.  The police’s actions have shown that they are only willing to engage in dialogue on their own terms, adding fuel to the fire for the PR struggle they’re going through.

While I purposefully reached out to them first, it’s time to reach out to the other side.  In time, I will extend the same olive branch again.

In the meantime we get to see DPD’s true colors.

Will they jam me up and harass me for opposing them, or will they give me the results I desire and work with me to bring together a divided community?

But either way, I hope the lesson is learned that when someone who opposes you gives you an opportunity to have a dialogue, you take it.


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14 thoughts on “Davis Man Complains about Not Being Allowed to Do Ride Along”

  1. Alan Miller

    I’m left with questions from reading this, not informed.

    Was “criminal background” actually stated.  That seems nonsensical if stated as in article. Was the DPD asked about this statement?

    Why is the person ‘opposed’ to the police, and in what way is he ‘opposed’?  This isn’t clear

    What is the purpose of the ride along?  What is the scientific evidence to be gathered and for what purpose?

    Now I’m not the only person in opposition of the police. The last one as we all know chose to use violence,

    If the note found was indeed written by “the last one”, then he didn’t seem opposed to the police so much as wanting relief from the signals he thought they were transmitting that were causing issues with his hearing — and he was batsh*t certifiably insane.

    and the others choose to only speak from their own safe spaces and echo chambers with covered ears.

    True dat.

  2. Edgar Wai

    Hmm…
    1) I am not sure if ridealong is a good a mean to talk to (debate with) an officer. The officer is actually on patrol. So there should be some discretion there.
    2) Criminal background: this should be quite black and white. Either the police was following the law or not. If not, they should be pointed out.
    3) Who is the author of this? Is Mason reading this? If so, thank you for posting.
    4) Criminal background and ridealong: what is the problem? Don’t police put suspects in the back anyway? If a criminal wants a ridealong, they could stay in the back as long as they are not being too distracting (?)
    5) Is it legal to just drive around following a patrol car?
    6) What happened to Corona would not happen to just anyone. The shooter was targeting an officer.

  3. Edgar Wai

    So I was reading about the intended function of ride along. It is basically for those trying to get into law enforcement to see if they really want to do it. According to that intended function, it would make sense for an officer who would normally allow ride along to deny someone who is ideologically “hostile”. And that is legal. 

    One thing that sets patrol work apart from most other types of work is that a patrol works in a combative environment. If we are not supposed to talk to a bus driver while they work, we probably shouldn’t be discussing or debating existential issues of the police force with the driver of the patrol car. There is probably another setting that would make more sense, such as when the officer is not on-duty.

    1. David Greenwald

      “So I was reading about the intended function of ride along. It is basically for those trying to get into law enforcement to see if they really want to do it. ”

      That’s a very narrow view of one possible use for a ridealong. More broadly, it is a way for a citizen to see what the police do, what it is like to patrol etc. For instance, I go on five to six ridealongs a year at various agencies to see what is going on, talk to the officers and learn more about policing. From that perspective, it would have been a good idea for Mason to go on one and get to witness what police officers deal with.

    2. John Hobbs

      ” One thing that sets patrol work apart from most other types of work is that a patrol works in a combative environment.”
      Huh? Why/how is patrol a combative environment when just patrolling? Davis has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Tedium would be the greatest foe most cops will face.
      “it would make sense for an officer who would normally allow ride along to deny someone who is ideologically “hostile”.”
      It would make more sense to let the citizen see the manner and mode of normal policing, unless there really are “issues” that the police are trying to cover up.
      Since you are apparently not acquainted with police work and have no “hostile” ideologies, you should apply for a ride-along.

      1. Edgar Wai

        I meant in other jobs, the employee does not need to worry about being attacked as part of their job. Similar difference between boxing versus playing golf. If I remember correctly, weren’t you (John) a retired officer or something?
        It appears that many officers don’t want to have a rider because they feel that they need to entertain them, so it just make the job harder. Did you give a ridealong?

        1. John Hobbs

          Never a police officer, but I do have family in law enforcement.
          ” I meant in other jobs, the employee does not need to worry about being attacked as part of their job.”
          Taxi drivers/chauffeurs suffer the highest murder rate of any occupation, more than double the risk of police officers.

        2. Bill Marshall

          “Attacked” is an interesting word… as is “as part of their job”… many other employees face very real risks of being seriously injured or killed ‘as part of their jobs’…

          CalTRANS and other State, County, City, etc. employees, and many in the private sector [PG&E, other private utilities, surveyors, etc.] face those risks whenever they are in the public right of way, doing their “jobs”… errant motor vehicles (actually errant operators of the vehicles), in particular…

          We fly flags @ half staff when a public safety employee dies [in violation of the flag code, more often than not.].. not so for other public employees killed ‘in the line of duty’…
           
          “all public workers are equal, but some are more equal than others”… paraphrase from ‘Animal Farm’…

          Under CalPERS, public safety (fire/police) folk’s survivors get pretty generous benefits… not for the others…

        3. Edgar Wai

          Re: John
          I gave the comparison to explain why ride along on a police car is different from job shadowing in most other occupations. In that regard, ride along on a taxi is probably quite similar to ride along on a patrol car. The driver would want to know why the rider wants to ride along and feel comfortable that the rider is not going to mug or attack them. 

          On the point you try to make, I still see a difference between a taxi driver and a patrol officer. The taxi driver has incremental incentive for each passenger they pick up. A patrol officer does not incrementally gain anything for each incident they go to. Then the next logical question is, are officers compensated too much already for the type of risk that they take. I think that is a valid question but I have no data. If the conclusion is that taxi drivers overall takes much more risk to serve the community but are much less appreciated, then those who are more appreciative to the police than taxi driver should be more appreciative to taxi drivers. 

          If there is a taxi driver who just drives around at night and gives rides to people for free so that people are safe. Then I think we would agree that driver is a hero because it is obvious that they are serving the community. I don’t know if taxi drivers do that, but I think there are anecdotal stories that the police does that.

          Re: Bill
          I am not familiar with the context of utility workers being killed. A criminal/gang member has an incentive to kill a police officer. But why kill a utility worker? Could you elaborate?

  4. Alan Miller

    I reread the article again, and I still don’t get it.  No offense subject of article in not writing you, as your statement is the article.  What I don’t get is why this particular public comment was elevated to an article.  The article doesn’t shed any light on several things such as:  what does ‘opposed to’ mean to this person, why do the police not want him riding?  (has the Vanguard asked?).  Does his scientific claim have merit?  This seems no more important than someone commenting that there is a basketball hoop that annoys them in their cul-de-sac.  There seems to be an implication by this being run  as one in five articles that there is an important issue here, but it isn’t explained, and I don’t see it.

    1. Sharla Cheney

      I went on a ride along when I was 20 years old as part of a research activity for school.  I found it illuminating.  The officer was much more observant than I was and demonstrated a heightened familiarity with the comings and goings of people in the community.  It is not clear what Mason’s purpose is.  Perhaps he just wants to feel more comfortable around Davis police officers after his uncomfortable interaction.  Does this really need to involve riding around in a car with a cop?Maybe Mason can start by attending public events that allow interaction with Davis Police, such as “Coffee with a cop.”   Have a cup of coffee and chat.

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