The Division of Public Safety is investigating an incident of a Penn Police officer allegedly using excessive force against a woman riding her bicycle on campus.
After the bicyclist, Sarah Rodriguez, ran a red light as she was riding through the 36th and Spruce intersection, a Penn Police officer who had been waving for her to pull over collided with her and caused her to fall sideways near the intersection of 38th Street and Woodland Walk.
According to Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush, Rodriguez was “barreling” through the intersection and nearly hit multiple pedestrians when the Penn Police officer got on his bicycle and followed her.
The situation escalated soon after Rodriguez and the police officer began talking. According to a video of the incident on CBS’s website, Rodriguez saw a can of pepper spray in the officer’s hand and asked, “You’re going to pepper spray me? Holy (expletive). ” The officer responded, “Yeah , holy (expletive).”
Rodriguez eventually called 911 and the officer called for backup. When a second officer arrived at the scene, he used gay slurs while demanding that Larry, the person recording the incident, stop, Rodriguez told CBS.
DPS is currently enforcing its Share the Road campaign, which the division institutes every so often to encourage pedestrian, bicyclist and driver safety. The campaign includes stopping bicyclists who violate the law, educating them and handing out tickets.
“It is not easy for officers receiving abuse from bicyclists who decide they’re not going to stop at a red light or not going to stop at a crosswalk,” Rush said. DPS is investigating both the alleged excessive force and the alleged use of gay slurs.
At the end of her encounter with Penn Police, Rodriguez received a ticket for running the red light, but she still felt that the officer’s actions were unnecessary and utilized “excessive force,” she told CBS.
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