32-year-old ‘stunt biker’ of Brentwood was arrested recently for evasion of a CHP officer, marijuana cultivation, and having a firearm nearby while cultivating marijuana. It seems that a California Highway Patrol Officer attempted to stop a group of approximately 50 motorcyclists who were travelling on Highway 680 in San Jose on October 11th of this year. The officer believed the motorcyclists to be both driving irresponsibly (popping wheelies and standing on their bikes while in motion) and going over the posted speed limit. Perhaps the cyclists were simply having too good a time together or perhaps they did not take the officer’s warnings seriously, but the officer has stated that they simply waved him off, ignoring him completely.
This incident sparked what reports are calling a full on “hunt” to find motorcyclists who accompanied the stunt biker, who recorded the entire thing on his head-mounted camera and then posted it on social media sites, on the now infamous ride. For the stunt biker, this has meant that officers obtained a warrant to search his home; they found a loaded rifle and about 90 marijuana plants at the residence.
There are two things that stick out about this particular story. First, the law concerning ‘obstruction’ or ‘delay’ of a peace officer is very vague (CA Penal Code 148) often known as ‘resisting arrest.’ This law is meant to protect citizens from having law enforcement officials’ course of duty delayed or obstructed. Certainly, when citizens need police presence, they should be able to do their duty without being unduly kept from it. However, as seems to be the case in the above situation, the officer decided to subjectively view the stunt biker and his companions’ behavior as ‘disrespect’ or ‘obstruction.’ Conviction of a violation of CA PC 148 means facing misdemeanor penalties, including up to 1 year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. In addition, he faces felony drug charges of marijuana possession, cultivation and sale (CA Health and Safety Code 11357 – 11362)