Maybe not all, but certainly a lot of them. This is my story of arriving in Barcelona on our recumbents.
After driving down the Gran Via towards the Plaza Catalunya, I had to wait for a red traffic light. I was checking Google maps on my iPhone and turned the screen off when the light turned green. I rode on my recumbent, behind another car, through the green light. That’s when I got stopped by a police officer. He wanted to give me fine for using a mobile phone while riding my bike. Which I obviously didn’t, so I got frustrated. I asked the man to produce this law that stated I couldn’t ride my bike with my phone in my hand. He kept stating this was the law and that I had to find out myself. If I wouldn’t pay the fine of 50,- they would take my bike. I decided not to fight this castle and asked where I could find a money machine. In the mean time a fellow officer arrived from across the street, noting me being upset, and telling me he saw me going through a red light and calling on the phone while riding! Two lies! Right there, next to his colleague, he pressed two extra charges based on lies. I got really frustrated about that and ranted to him about him lying two times in one sentence and that he must be corrupt. I also wrote down his badge number and asked for a police station to get proper help. I was then pressed again to get the money, or they would take my bike (I was later told by the top police people that any police officer can do as he pleases and that it is wise for me to stay low. Only afterwards can you complain about decisions made and hope to get rectification.)
So I went and got exactly 50,- out of the machine, since Corine and I have a split pot for everything, and I didn’t need more. But when I came back to hand over the money they said I also got an extra fine for going throught the red light! Another 50,- was charged, so I had to go back to the cash machine! I asked them if it would end at 100,- when I would return, because I did not trust them at all. But while walking to the cash machine I decided to walk to that police station to get help instead. I was later called by Corine that she had arrived at the scene (she had to get the keys for our appartement while I was in this situation), and that a tow truck had arrived and was uploading my bicycle. In the meantime I did my story at the police station, and was told that there was nothing they could do (ofcourse), even though the procedure was all wrong (which was all admitted to by the top police men):
- It was wrong to charge me 50,- initially, and later add charges;
- They also took all my luggage on the bicycle, which they were not allowed to do;
- My passport was not given back, even though I am not allowed to walk the streets without it.
Then the two-faced chief officer that was in charge of the brigade that confiscated my bike came in to bring back my luggage and passport. They were all sorry about the failures, but didn’t help either. I was told to pay 164,- at their storage facility to get my bicycle back. Pfff….
My logical deduction of all this:
If a colleague is handing out a ticket, and a fellow officer is trying to help him (or f*ck with me some more), by bringing in false charges, and all this is done under the assumption that the ticket writing officer is actually agreeing with that (and thus also corrupt), then I assume it is in the nature of these police officers to bring in false charges more often, and that this is done in all of their team. They might of course be just “the two” corrupt ones, but I doubt that.
Also, the two-faced chief in charge of these cops, must also be aware of all this (Corine was contacted on the street by a guy who said this happened to him recently, having to pay for fake charges, and showed her the fine). Not only this chief officer had such false eyes, but also the guy he was with (and the lying officer too, doh!). I immediately felt as if this had been going on for a while, but nobody is there to put a stop to it. Corine wants to write an article and take it to the papers here. It probable wont move any of these rocks a bit, but hey, we’re in it for justice’ sake.
Hell, lets put in an extra link to all this translated to Spanish, just for Google’s sake: this page translated in Spanish