After filing a complaint to university officials nearly nine months after she felt mistreated by two UCIPD officers, Dorothy Solinger, a professor of political science, recently found out that her complaint was dismissed by UCIPD following an investigation.
On April 26, 2004, Solinger rode her bicycle from the Anteater Recreational Center back to her residence in University Hills. Due to the amount of work she needed to complete that day, Solinger admitted that when she arrived at the red light at Periera Drive and East Peltason Drive, she stopped briefly and resumed to cross the street while the light remained red.
As soon she crossed the street, two UCIPD officers, Bismark Cara and Roland Chiu, stopped her.
According to Solinger, ‘Two young police officers stopped me after I had crossed the street and harassed me by lecturing over and over about the danger of what I had done.’
Solinger was aware of the fact that she broke the law and so she submitted to the ‘lecturing’ by the two policemen. She had hoped that instead of a citation, the officers would let her go with a warning.
‘I realized that, technically, what I did was against the law,’ Solinger said. ‘I also provided an answer to every query they asked and yet they continued to detain me for a lengthy time … in total, nearly 25 minutes.’
However, Solinger grew impatient with the lecturing from the police and felt that she was being unnecessarily detained.
‘I had answered all their questions and I was getting very impatient while the guy wrote everything as slowly as possible,’ Solinger said. ‘Since it truly appeared that I was done with giving the answers they wanted, I made a move to leave.’ When she attempted to do so, the officers handcuffed her immediately.
Although the two police officers were prevented from speaking on their behalf by department orders, UCIPD Chief of Police Al Brown explained that ‘[Solinger] attempted to leave prior to the officers being able to issue the citation and that’s when they felt that to keep her there for the sake of issuing the citation, they put the cuffs on her.’
After handcuffing Solinger, the officers proceeded to issue her a citation for ‘failing to stop at a red arrow.’
Solinger felt that it was inappropriate for the police to handcuff her. She thought that the incident displayed ‘unprofessional behavior.’
‘It is an embarrassment to the campus. It is a big disappointment,’ Solinger said.
She furthermore showed concern over what she believes is the mistreatment of tenured faculty by campus police, and how much worse treatment might be for students.
In response to Solinger’s complaint, Brown stated in a letter, ‘The investigation discloses insufficient evident to sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the employees.’ He added, ‘The investigation into this incident furthermore revealed the citation issued by the officer was in full compliance with departmental policy and/or state law.’
Brown was surprised when he first received Solinger’s complaint since the campus police has ‘never received any complaint in the last five years for any type of excessive force or the violation of the law.’
However, he added, ‘If you are out there doing your job, you go with the nature of the job. You can’t make everyone happy.’
The fine for Solinger’s citation was $326. When she contested her case in court, the judge reduced her fine to $20.