Oregon Rider Kicked by Cop Wins Over $180k in Court

2012 police abuse case settled in favor of rider

If you're unfamiliar with the 2012 video above, take a minute now to check it out. At 1:03 you see the rider cross the double yellow lines to pass a car. The rider, Justin Wilkens, continues to ride above the speed limit while being pursued by the the police officer, Robert Edwards, until the officer runs into his bike, knocking him over. While the officer claims to have had his lights on, he did not activate his siren and Wilkens claims he didn't recognize the unmarked car as a police vehicle.

Rather than a demotion or being taken off of the street, Officer Edwards has since been promoted to Captain Edwards. The officer's defense team claimed that the hit from the car was due to the rider stopping too quickly, and the police vehicle's brake fade. This didn't stand up long.

The cars that the officer pulls up on seem to clearly recognize his car as a police vehicle and pull to the shoulder, but motorcycle mirrors are much smaller and often shaky when riding. Riders tend to be on the defensive side when it comes to crazy drivers. If I saw an unmarked car racing at me and didn't hear a siren or see the lights, you bet I would be speeding away from it as well. At 3:30, you see Wilkens seem to realize the car behind him is a cop, hang his head, and go to pull over. It's at this point the cop uses his car to forcefully remove the rider from his bike.

Wilkens suffered a broken collar bone and several broken ribs from the incident. If I had to guess, I would say the collar bone was broken from the kick and the ribs were broken by the officer's treatment of the rider on the ground. At no point was any threat presented that required use of this much force, or the need to draw his weapon. It looks like this cop watched one too many rap videos, holding his gun in proper "gangster" stance.

I will say the rider was not without fault. It's not hard to spot some flashing lights in your rearview if you take a second to look behind you, and the initial crossing over the double yellows was a blatant violation. Regardless of his violations, in no way did he deserved to be rammed, have a gun drawn on him, or receive the physical abuse that he did. Happy to see the courts rule in his favor, but I would be careful riding in the Eugene area knowing that Captain Edwards is still out there to "protect and serve."