Criminal Justice

Bicyclist who didn't outfit baby with helmet says cops choked him and forcibly took the boy away

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A bicyclist who took his baby along for a short trip to Trader Joe’s claims in a lawsuit that San Francisco police choked him unconscious and confiscated his infant son after he questioned the need to outfit the baby in a helmet.

Prosecutors did not charge Takuro Hashitaka after his Dec. 13 arrest, report the San Francisco Chronicle and Courthouse News Service. He says he spent the night in jail, however, and suffered injuries to his neck and hands, the Courthouse News Service says.

According to the lawsuit, Hashitaka was carrying his 10-month-old son, Moku, in a “Baby Bjorn” carrier against his chest when police stopped him.

Hashitaka says the police car nearly hit him when it pulled close, and he gave the officers an “annoyed” look. The officers asked over their loud speaker why the baby wasn’t wearing a helmet. Hashitaka said he wasn’t aware of a baby helmet requirement and asked the officers “what the authority was for this,” the suit says.

Officers turned on the squad car lights and stopped Hashitaka at a gas station, the suit says, where they grabbed Hashitaka by the wrists. Other officers arrived and they forced Hashitaka to the ground, choking him until he became unconscious, the suit alleges.

Officers cut Moku out of his carrier and the “terrified baby” was taken to Child Protective Services, despite Hashitaka’s entreaties to call his wife to pick up the child, the suit says. CPS found no evidence of child neglect, and found both parents to be loving and caring, Hashitaka says.

According to the Chronicle, California law requires children to wear bike helmets and to be restrained in their own seat or in a trailer towed by a bike.

Hat tip to @RadleyBalko.

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