The Los Angeles District Attorney has officially ruled that cops can legally text and drive, and will not be charged even when they kill someone. We know this because of the Milton Olin Jr., a former Napster executive, former entertainment lawyer, former bicyclist, and former living person. Here is his picture from his Linkedin account as published by Yahoo! Finance:
Olin was riding his bicycle on a designated bike path when he was fatally struck by L. A. County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Wood. According to the Daily News,
“Wood entered the bicycle lane as a result of inattention caused by typing into his (Mobile Digital Computer),” according to the declination letter prepared by the Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney’s Office and released Wednesday. “He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed. Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.”
The law does not prohibit officers from using an electronic wireless communications device in the performance of their duties, according to the letter. Furthermore, prosecutors said it was “reasonable” that Wood would have felt that an immediate response was necessary so that a Calabasas deputy wouldn’t unnecessarily respond to the high school.
So, while the non-police residents of California can be punished for texting and driving, it is all right for a “law enforcement officer” to keep driving while he types away on his keypad.
Did anyone in California knowingly sign up for this kind of system? Are we really going to claim that it is OK for police to respond via text while driving? I don’t think replying about the fire investigation was worth risking Olin’s life. Wood could have found a place to stop and then type, rather than typing while driving.
I’m not saying that the officer is a bad man. I’m saying that he should be held accountable to the same standards as any other driver in California. I don’t understand why “official duties” give anyone the right to drive in a dangerous fashion that endangers others.