- (Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Blackwell)
"Did he get tased?" asks pedicab operator Daniel Blackwell standing alongside the road in front of the Natural History Museum on Sunday afternoon, March 25, as a crowd gathers to stare at one of his fallen colleagues. "Did anyone see if he got tased? Did they slam him on the ground? Was he resisting arrest or anything?"
Two Park Police officers bend down to look at another groaning black-haired pedicab operator, his face against the grass and lying on his stomach on the National Mall. They talk into their radio. On the street is a little green pedicab, abandoned. One officer fastens handcuffs on the young man, a manager at National Pedicabs.
This pedicab operator calls himself Oskar Mosco and is the same one who was arrested last fall and formed the D.C. Pedicab Operators' Association to advocate for operators amid the evolving regulations and allegations of harassment that have come up in the last year. He was last arrested in November but the case was dismissed earlier this year. The National Park Service controls the pedicab territory of the National Mall, and Park Police enforce the rules. Yet the NPS is still developing its formal pedicab regulations, which will apparently mirror those the District Department of Transportation released last year. The Park Police note that D.C. traffic regulations apply, however, and regularly write tickets to the region's pedicabbers.
"You all right, man?" a Park Police officer asks Mosco. After moments of semi-conscious writhing, the operator has begun to sit up. "It was very clear. You disobeyed every order I gave you and then you resisted arrest."
Mosco attempts to ask what orders he disobeyed.
"We are no longer discussing this," the Park Police officer tells him. "You are under arrest."
The two officers pull Mosco to his feet and escort him to a police car, in which a second pedicab operator sits, as Mosco shouts that he was arrested for videotaping the police. "You should not get arrested for videotaping a police officer!" Mosco yelled to onlookers in front of the Natural History Museum. "This is a free country, not a police state!"