San Francisco Police Beat Man for Using Navigation App on Phone

Carlos Miller

San Francisco police beat and pepper sprayed a man riding a bicycle, accusing him of texting while riding.

But Donovan Reid said he was only using a navigation app while trying to deliver a burrito for a company called Postmates.

It does not appear as if the burrito ever got delivered because Reid ended up hospitalized.

The incident took place on January 3, but it was only in the last few days that local media began reporting on it.

Reid started recording the traffic stop, but told local media that the cop ordered him to stop.

We have reached out to Reid to ask for the full video but for now, we’re posting the video that was posted on CBS San Francisco, showing an officer telling him, “you can’t talk on the phone …” apparently while biking.

The cop then asks for his identification but Reid tells him he does not have one on him.

Then the cop can be heard saying, “you know I can go through your pockets.”

“You don’t have the right to,” Reid tells him.

“I do, put your hands behind your back,” the cop tells him.

“You don’t have the right to search me, sir,” Reid says.

The cop then calls for “another unit.”

And as the CBS reporter explains, “at this point, Donovan’s cameras goes off. For minutes, there is no video record.”

And that was when the cops began beating him.

This is how he explained it on his Facebook page the day after the beating.

As he was being beaten, a witness walks up and begins recording, capturing a cop swinging a baton at his legs while he is down on the ground screaming in pain. His legs appear to be moving after each swing of the baton, confirming his statement on Facebook. The 16-second video is posted below.

He was on his phone, riding his bike. Didn’t have ID.
— Katherine Jarvis (@kej_v) January 4, 2016

In his interview with CBS San Francisco, Reid comes across as a passive man. On his Facebook page, he comes across as a man who is passionate about skateboarding and music. And in the video before his camera turned off, he comes across as a man asserting his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful searches.

But during those minutes his camera was off, police say he turned into a vicious man who attacked police, leaving them no choice but to viciously beat him, according to SF Gate.

The alleged offenses were listed as disobeying a traffic order, battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest, as well as three traffic infractions of using a phone while bicycling, riding without brakes and riding without a visible rear reflector.

Reid has set up a Go Fund Me account to raise money for legal expenses but it has been since been removed, probably a result of San Francisco police telling them that he is a vicious cop beater that deserves no support. Some commenters on the SF Gate are arguing that there is no law against texting while riding a bicycle but according to the California Bicycle Association, the laws for bicyclists are no different than the laws for motorists.

San Francisco police say the case is being investigated by internal affairs and that usually amounts to nothing, so he definitely needs proper legal representation.

Below is a photo of an x-ray he posted on Facebook which he says shows a chip knee as a result of the beating. Also below is the CBS news segment on the incident. Click here if you can’t view it.


Citizen Journalism