A pox on Knox

January 20, 2015 § 41 Comments

I had been living on the peninsula for a month. The weather was spotless, polished, and shiny like Prez’s cherry ’62 Camaro that he refuses to drive except for that time he almost ran over a skateboarder and three pumps at the Chevron over by the old CBR course when he was showing off with a big ol’ peel out that almost turned into felony manslaughter.

I will never forget that beautiful day, sailing along PV Drive, headed out to the Switchbacks, 65 degrees in February, and not a care in the world, not even that bright red stoplight at Hawthorne, which was nowhere near changing to green at the moment that I whizzed through it. “Heck,” I thought, “there aren’t any cars coming.”

Officer Knox proved me wrong. There was a car coming, and it was his. Flashers going full twirl, he pulled me over, made me sit down on the curb, and wrote me a $350 ticket for my blatant moving violation. It was so unjust, being forced to obey the law and stuff, but one look at Knox and I knew that I’d better shut up, and when I got through shutting up I should probably shut up some more.

He stank of cop.

As the years went by, I learned that LA Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Knox was the biggest delta bravo on the peninsula. In addition to writing tickets to bicycle scofflaws, he wrote tickets to law-abiding cyclists as well. He wrote tickets everywhere, to everyone, all the time. One time he even stuffed and cuffed Roadchamp for having had the temerity to complain while being written up for a non-violation. He wasn’t just a mean bastard, he was a sadistic bully.

So when I read in our local Daily Breeze — a cycling-hating rag that is Motordom’s answer to Fox News — that Knox in Socks was retiring from his duties as hall monitor on the Peninsula, I was euphoric. Of course I’ve forgiven Knox for ticketing me after I ran that red light, but the reason the guy was such a plague is because he was either too stupid to understand the vehicle code as it relates to cyclists (possible), or was an asshole who intentionally harassed cyclists for the fun of it (highly likely).

As recently as November he was still citing cyclists for violating CVC 21202(a) on the Switchbacks because they were not riding as far to the right as practicable even though the law allows them to move over into the lane in order to avoid road debris, hazards, or the dangers of a substandard lane width. For any cyclist who ever got wrongly cited by this boneheaded cretin, his self-congratulatory line in the Daily Sleaze article about being “passionate about traffic safety because I don’t like going to crashes and seeing people that are injured or killed” is complete horseshit.

How do I know?

Because I know what an asshole looks like. Assholes are generally people who justify fucking with other people because they believe in “public safety” or “protecting people from themselves.” Good law enforcement doesn’t involve indiscriminate ticketing, and Knox’s career of writing an average of 14 tickets a day for 31 years proves what cyclists on the Hill knew: If this knuckledragger hadn’t written his quota and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you were getting a ticket. What other kind of person than an asshole would handcuff an angry, tiny little cyclist who was protesting a bogus ticket?

Knox’s incompetence and venal harassment of cyclists wasn’t limited to tickets, though. His hatred of bicycles made itself known in a much more offensive and harmful way: The Knox traffic investigation. This clown was known to twist the facts when investigating a car-bike collision to pin the tail on the cyclist whenever possible. I recall one case where a cyclist had been right-hooked on Hawthorne and Deppity Doofus still managed to find the rider at fault.

This type of bungling and prejudicial investigation made it much harder, time consuming, and costly for injured cyclists to obtain compensation, and reinforced what appeared to be Knox’s own personal world view, that might makes right.

Of course Knox always had plenty of stories with him playing the hero, and I got to see him toot his horn at an RPV traffic committee meeting once. He loved to talk about how he’d chased down someone “doing 120 in a 40,” and in truth he probably did ticket thousands of speeders who deserved it.

But like every other little mini-dictator, he lacked discretion, he misapplied the law, and he justified his crazy zeal for ticketing with indiscriminate enforcement of the law. How badly was he hated? Other police officers in Hermosa have confided to me that the guy was regarded by his peers as a 14-carat asshole. “He’s the only cop out there,” one guy said, “who enjoys ticketing other cops.”

Knox’s boss, Captain Blaine Bolin, was of course extremely proud of his henchman’s work, and called the general hatred and fear people had of this deputy “The Knox Effect.” Of course it’s true that as a result of bad police work and illegal ticketing people were afraid of him, and they probably did drive more carefully. But this shows the incompetent mentality at the top, which thinks that the ends justify the means. With Captain Bolin’s logic, we could get even better results by simply shooting people on the spot. And there’s a reason that Bolin and Knox prefer the “ticket everyone” approach: It’s easy.

What’s hard is to learn the law and apply it properly. What’s hard is to impartially deal with people you may not like. What’s hard is to realize that even though you carry a gun you’re still a public servant, and you work for us. What’s hard is to be a peace officer instead of a chest-thumping bully.

Of course there are excellent deputies out there, and the recent absence of Knox has been noticed. Police work is hard work, but not nearly as hard as mowing lawns, mining coal, or working in a meat packing plant. Plus, if you’re a cop it’s because you signed up for it, so do us all a favor and know the laws you’re paid to fairly apply.

So while RPV and the Lomita substation mourns the loss of a guy who gave other cops a bad name, of an unpleasant jerk who equated harassment with police work, of a pathetic, lonely, mean sonofabitch who instilled fear and loathing instead of respect and appreciation, I can say only this: Good fucking riddance, and I hope that in your retirement you take up bicycling. Because there are a whole lot of people who would love to take you for a little pedal around the Hill.

END

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§ 41 Responses to A pox on Knox

  • DangerStu says:

    Reading between the lines, did he tell you he thought you didn’t dope?

  • bob says:

    but how do you REALLY feel about him?

    • fsethd says:

      He is a pathetic creature. I believe that the mentality of “I am the law and you are shit” is what underlies seemingly ordinary people who go on to careers as guards a death camps, CIA interrogators, and the worst evils perpetrated on earth. It is the belief that “I am anointed” that underlies the terror in the Mideast, the crushing poverty in the world, and our overflowing prisons. Those guys and the people like him are the problem, at all levels of government. That’s how I really feel. No compassion, no intellect, no discretion, just the iron fist of the law.

  • Checkerbutt says:

    Oh, man! Imagine the irony if he did get into riding. Have Roadchamp take him out for a “little spin”…

    • fsethd says:

      He will find a nice retirement far from the lycra crowd. On a happier note, the deputies on the Hill now don’t appear to have it in for us. And no, PV hasn’t exploded into a haven for crime as a result. The “Knox Effect” was the same effect as a bloody hemorrhoid.

  • Brian in VA says:

    A guy like that would never get into cycling; he prefers to dole out pain rather than take it himself. Although the thought of seeing him as a baby seal does bring joy to ones heart, doesn’t it?

    • fsethd says:

      No, because if he ever saddled up I would introduce myself and try to help the sorry piece of shit. Converts are always better than enemies.

  • JF says:

    Nicely written obit for a piece o’shit. Your words are powerful. Office Martinez in Redondo is just a few petty tickets behind. #Whattafuggindickwad

    • fsethd says:

      Officer Martinez has pulled me over twice for blatant infractions and not cited me either time. I’ve seen him call out to riders on the PA as they prepare to run a stopper, “Show me your spokes!” I’m down with that kind of enforcement.

      • joninsocal says:

        In the spirit of balance I’ve also been pulled by Officer Martinez running a stop and he then explained that he thought cyclists should be able to roll through and I should ride carefully as others were out looking to issue tickets

      • fsethd says:

        Much as I hate fairness and balance, I’ve never been harassed by him, either.

  • Tom says:

    “62” Camaro ?

    • jorgensen says:

      The closest thing Chevrolet had to a Camaro in 1962 was a Chevy II 2 door coupe, or the sporty Corvair.

      • fsethd says:

        Check your manual. The 1862 Camaro came with oak wheels, a sporty leather top, a hand-carved box for the coachman, and the coolest ever brass thingy that held the whip.

    • fsethd says:

      1862. It was their best year.

  • dan martin says:

    Knox will never take up cycling. How do I know?…It’s because he lives by me and runs with his dog. Even though I know the guy, I know he’d write me up in a heartbeat. He’d write his own mother.

  • A-Trav says:

    “Show me your spokes”. You got to love a cop with a sense of humor.

  • Worldchamp says:

    When I read the line about his “passion”, I thought when I’m passionate about something I become obsessive about learning every detail of how it works, rules, etc. This guy skimmed the law books and is clueless on bike safety. He was only passionate about giving tickets. He may have thought that would reduce accidents, but that just shows his ignorance on the subject.

    • fsethd says:

      Yep. He was passionate about hating people and harassing them, and he developed it into an art form. Delta bravo all the way.

  • Phil Emup says:

    Reminds me of that which resides under my saddle on long rides. A complete tool bag….

  • channel_zero says:

    Hmm, I was probably ticketed by this guy on my bike at some point in the South Bay.

    The 20+ years of cumulative, generally negative, experiences with PD is why I don’t ride on the road if I have any other choice. Yet, I still advocate for multi-use streets from the safety of my cage. The inconsistency isn’t lost on me.

    • fsethd says:

      It’s okay to be inconsistent when you’re advocating for a public good while declining to use the public good yourself. It’s like advocating for Social Security benefits even though you choose not to use yours. The delta bravo aspect is when you claim to be helping other people but only do it by punishing them, often for things they didn’t even do.

  • Patrick says:

    I wonder if he was the one that turned around and tried to chase me down Via Del Monte. Too bad for him I was back in Redondo before he was able to get turned around.

  • +1, never had the unpleasantry of meeting the guy, but have met others like the a-hole. Really frustrating when their end goal is NOT for safer streets, but to be a pain in your ass!

    Sounds like things are getting better with the officers getting a feel for the law as applied to the cyclist. Things are better here from my experience.

    • fsethd says:

      The new crop of deputies on the Hill seem to be regular law enforcement officers, not martinettes with tiny wanker issues.

  • Eric R says:

    Now we get to pay his retirement after paying his salary. Nice.

  • Tom says:

    Knox is a 1st class dick, but we must also give credit to his station commander: Capt. Blaine Bolin (according to the daily breeze puff piece).

    Clearly Bolin had to be 100% supportive of Knox’s antics all these years … or Bolin was a complete wussy-pussy who didnt want to rock the boat, and just wait it out for what’s probably going to be a $200K, beleagured-taxpayer-guaranteed pension at age 50.

    • fsethd says:

      Bolin loved Knox because he could show value to his employers, the city of RPV who paid for Knox’s services. No one cared that Knox was an asshole or that he improperly interpreted the law and harassed cyclists.

  • Les.B. says:

    Guess I really lucked out. The sheriffs I’ve come across in PV seemed decent folk.

    The LA Sheriffs Department has historically been in hot water itself with the feds for various misdeeds. They have certainly improved over the years, but I suppose Knox hails from the era when the Feds had to enforce some major changes in the Dept. He was the schmutz hidden on the floor in the corner that got overlooked.

  • […] and wisdom of Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who figuratively dances on the grave of a retiring bike-hating sheriff’s deputy, and celebrates a successful bike ticket legal strategy that resulted victory over the absent […]

  • Liz says:

    Dan Martin, can you leave this blog on his doorstep?
    Glad I never ran into him. I’m no fan of power trippers!

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