Racing YouTube Motorcycle Cop Forced To Resign. Then Gets Reinstated.

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Cop Drag Race

An Alabama motorcycle cop who was forced to resign last week after a YouTube video of him drag racing against another rider went viral has now been reinstated. This is the latest YouTube motorcycle cop saga.

Montgomery resident Lee Spillers captured the footage using a helmet-mounted camera while out riding his Honda CBR600RR on Sunday. He drew up alongside police officer Carlos Rogers on his police-spec Harley Davidson Electra Glide.

In the video, Spiller begins talking to the police officer while both are stopped at a traffic light. He then asks the cop if he wants to race.

The officer responds by saying his bike has a turbo.

Spiller replies by saying: “Let’s see.”

In the ensuing footage it’s evident that Spillers and the police officer race for several minutes with the cop on the Harley-Davidson appearing to outpace the Honda rider. It’s not clear if speed limits were broken but at one point they appear to be going a lot faster than other traffic.

Shortly afterwards, Spillers posted the video to YouTube causing Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy to step in and dismiss the officer saying: “When a member of the Montgomery Police Department fails to adhere to our core values of honor, duty and loyalty, it is my duty to ensure they will not represent the MPD, or serve the citizens of Montgomery any further. The officer in question no longer wears the badge of the Montgomery Police Department.”

However, Spillers who filmed the incident began an online campaign to get and Roger his job back. At the end of last week the officer was reinstated.

Following this latest development, Murphy said that social media had no influence on the reversal of his initial decision.

“In as much as what happened, but then how it came out, is part of this story,” said Murphy. “And it’s a powerful story because what can happen in Montgomery, Ala., can go viral and be on the other side of the planet in 10 minutes.

“It will not be the last time,” he said. “We’re going to continue to see social media having a greater impact on our culture, and the fact remains that we have to be cognizant of that as police officers.”

Murphy added that it was an experience for the whole Montgomery police department and that had received numerous calls and emails, both positive and negative, regarding his latest decision to reinstate the police officer.

What do you think? Was the officer in the wrong here? Should he have been reinstated?

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  • chad west

    He seems like a cool cop, but i understand why he was fired. Im happy he got his job back though

  • Ben Barbeau

    There’s no concrete evidence they were racing beyond the speed limits. Sure they LOOKED like they were going faster, nothing to prove it though. I saw this story last week and that Chief just really put me off with his script like response. The cop knows what wrong he did or didn’t do, but his firing was uncalled for. More public friendly cops like this are needed.

    • Sam Bendall

      ummmm…if you look at the CBR speedometer there are times where it reads: 53mph, 68mph and 64mph and the Harley is clearly keeping up or doing one or two miles faster. If this road is considered and interstate I could be ok but something tells me its not. Both looked like they were accelerating responsibly and were not dipping between cars.

      • Ben Barbeau

        All in all, only the cop knows what wrong he did or didn’t do, it’s great to see a MC cop that doesn’t feel the need to act like he’s part of SOA or Hells Angels.

    • Yaw Anokwa

      See http://i.imgur.com/k8V7xIL.jpg for the evidence that he was speeding. Even if he wasn’t, depending on the state, just accelerating quickly can get you a ticket for an unsafe start or excessive display of speed.

      • Ben Barbeau

        Your screen shot can be taken out of context in the manner of your example. It is the speed of the bike, or is it the speed of the bike at the time of the picture while still accelerating, is it the speed of the bike and the cop. It can’t be used as evidence against the cop as it is not that of the police bike, just circumstantial as it pertains to the 600rr who just happens to be next to the police bike in the instance the screenshot was taken.

        • Matt Mason

          unless the cop was passing him at that point

        • modette99

          Yep because the sportbike could of been passing the cop so the speed would be greater anyways and does not mean its the cops speed. Plus the 10% to 20% speedo error. Check a good rag like Motorcycle Consumer News all motorcycles are off. So lets say it was 70mph reading, that could be 7mph to 14mph OFF in other words 63mph or even as low as 56mph. That screen shot is so out of context. I watched the video nothing crazy happened…no cars right in front of them, they did not split lanes, or use the shoulder or go around anyone. It looked pretty tame. Not sure who gave you a negative Ben as you are 100% right a picture from a video can be misleading.

      • Justin McClintock

        Couple of points here.

        1) What’s the speed limit there? Four lane divided….even with traffic lights, it may very well be 55 or 60 mph.

        2) How optimistic is that speedo? Almost every sportbike ever built has a wildly optimistic speedometer. Most seem to be around 10%.

        So…if the speed limit is 55 or 60 mph and the speedometer is 10% optimistic….he’s going roughly 5-10 mph above the speed limit. Hardly worth calling for his head over.

    • Ben Barbeau

      I didn’t see a speed limit sign…..
      excessive display of speed/unsafe start is in the perception of the issuing officer, not based on facts.

  • Twin Verb

    Heck, you can barely get a MC cop to be friendly much less get a drag race out of them. I really wish they were better ambassadors to the MC community.

    • Chris McKendry

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m so tired of the constant intimidation factor too. If we’re at a light and I give you a nod and a ‘What’s goin’ on?’ theres absolutely no need to give me a scowl-ish stare. Get over yourself. I’ve done nothing wrong and am just out for a cruise. Sheesh!

      • zion

        Not sure where you are located, but in my area (southeast) other than highway patrol motor officers, you’ll always get a nod or wave out of a motor cop.

        • Chris McKendry

          Gotta love southern hospitality aka basic manners, haha. Im in Long Beach, CA…probably not the best place to expect happy-go-lucky officers.

          • Roger Howard

            I’m in Long Beach too – and actually have a very different experience… I know several LBPD motorcycle officers only because I ride, and have never had any of them act like dicks on the road. Grew up here too, so am not exactly inclined to trust our local PD, but its not the mc cops I’m wary of in Long Beach.

            CHP is another story. I commute to Irvine (30 miles) on my bike and have never felt anything but the glare of a predator from them.

  • Bill White

    Seems like a good dude & genuinely stoked to have a turbo charged Harley as his work vehicle, so good for him. That he’d openly ‘race’ a civilian on city streets was kind of surprising– but what really surprised me was that he’d race someone who just told him they were on ‘a friend’s’ bike and who then proceeded to ‘race’ with his turn signal on for a couple of miles. Whatever, glad the guy didn’t lose his job.

    • normax004

      anybody really think that’s a turbo?

  • metric_G

    Kind of unrelated, I’m still amazed how cops in the US are allowed to ride with no proper gear. Most European motorcycle cops are in full gear with hi-vis colors, etc.

    • Ben Barbeau

      It is pretty crazy, U.S. police are the most prevalent worst examples of motorcycle safety gear. Always wearing black/dark color, regular uniform pants, open face helmets, an occasional jacket but they usually look unarmored and or just a plain department jacket.

      • Slacker

        Albeit cops aren’t allowed out in bikes unless it’s over 40 degrees (Fahrenheit of course) and between 6 am and 7 pm. Dark colors make it a bit easier to avoid detection while radaring and they won’t be riding at night.

        • dead_elvis

          Those limitations about time & temps must be local to you. Ever been in a major US city? Motorcycle cops are out in Boston & NYC in winter. Seattle PD & Washington State Patrol bike cops are out all year.

          • Slacker

            I’lladmitit’smaybealocalrule.Ofhavetoconfirmstufflikethatwithfamilyandfriendsbutmotorcyclecopsoutallyearseemslikealargeliabilitytotakeforcityorstateemployees.

          • Brian

            add to that list in the DC Metro area, US Capitol Police, US Park Police, DCPD, Uniformed Division Secret Service, and several surrounding county municipalities in MD and VA as well.

        • modette99

          Your probably right about the bright colors sadly because American cops its about the money vs. the safety aspect. If they could be spotted people would naturally slow down thus it could be a safer environment. And say a brightly colored motorcycle cop in England or say France has no issues in still finding people to pull over…LOL

      • Glenn Rueger

        For motor officers the ability to carry out the job of policing takes precedence over personal safety.

    • Adam

      I had a CHP (California Highway Patrol) officer pass me splitting lanes while texting on his handlebar mounted iPhone.

      • Justin McClintock

        Not that there’s any way to excuse that, but many officers are exempt from texting laws while they’re on duty. I know in NC they are. Otherwise the computers they use to pull info would qualify and they wouldn’t be allowed to use them. Just found that one out last week.

        So while he’s still a dumbass for doing that, he may have technically been within the law to do so.

      • aergern

        In 2003 I saw a CHP reading a newspaper that was sprawled out across his steering wheel while doing about 80mph up Hwy 101 near SFO. So … yeah. Ya gotta love it. :/

    • kentaro

      Most if not all of the motor police I know want to wear more gear, but they’re required to wear what they do because that is the “uniform” for motor officers.

      • Thomas Whitener

        Here in Italy, the moto-Polizia wear full gear (Dianese, I think…I’ll need to look next time I see one) that is just colored like the normal uniforms. They have their badges, rank, etc., but the Jacket is a textile, well armored jacket. They look very official, and quite intimidating, though I never known any of them to be other than really cool guys and gals.

        They generally hate the moto-guzzi’s that they ride though. Say they are always breaking down, and are too heavy to do the low-speed riding they have to do every day comfortably.

    • Scott Jones

      I used to wonder about this too. I got to spend about 30 minutes with a motor cop today and he was actually quite armored. He was wearing a custom set of uniform pants with kevlar abrasion panels and full lower body armor and heavy tactical style uniform boots. He was also wearing a bullet proof vest and had good gloves. Granted he had a 3/4 helmet and a short sleeve shirt, but there was way more protection there than I ever gathered from a cursory glance at a stop light.

      • UnPirataOra

        Were you waiting for his buddy with a car to pick you up?
        I crack myself up.

        • Scott Jones

          LOL, no. I was waiting on a tow for my bike after a car decided to change lanes into me.

  • Justin Henry

    I’m not a fan of speed limits, so I thought this was awesome.

  • Armin Pelkmann

    Seems like a really nice cop. I think the guy who recorded it should have not uploaded this video which got a nice cop that enjoyed his bike safely into trouble.

    • modette99

      I agree, or at least blur out his face and bike number. It be like filming a cool cop saying “hey I clocked you at 115mph but only writing you for 10mph over the 70 limit” and you posting that video. That is a real example that happened to me. I would never share such a video, the cop gave me a HUGE break why would I want him in trouble?

  • Scott Jones

    We need more officers who are approachable and act like normal people. I’m glad he got his job back, today’s society is way too punitive for relatively harmless minor infractions. An appropriate response probably would have been to pull the officer from traffic duty and make him ride a desk for a few weeks/months or put him back in the patrol car.

  • AEH_Toronto

    great story, glad he was reinstated. Cudo’s to the Honda rider for putting the effort in to help the friendly cop.

    • modette99

      By not posting the video would of been the first thing to do to a cool cop.

      • AEH_Toronto

        agreed.

      • pedro

        Maybe, but I think he was just trying to show a Cop engaging on a friendly play, he didn’t thought on the consequences.

  • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

    Only in Alabama will you find people with names like Lee Spillers. Love it.

  • Mykola

    Bully for the cop, but here’s the real question: Did he, or did he not in actual fact have a turbo?

    • Brian

      I have never seen a turbo fitted on a police spec Harley, so I seriously doubt it.

      • criminalenterprise

        The only viewable offense worthy of reprimand was for fibbing about a turbocharger. Probably the maintenance guys were telling him about a performance “turbo” muffler or “turbo” intake.

        • Michael Howard

          Probably the cop has a sense of humor and was joking.

  • Scott Pargett

    That was awesome. Totally harmless.

    I’ve had some spirited lane splitting jaunts with LAPD through rush hour on the 405N. All in good fun, loved it. Always ends with a wave and a thumbs up.

  • William Connor

    Police officers can be friendlier and more approachable without breaking the law they are paid and sworn to uphold. The officer was wrong to race, period. He should not have been fired, simply reprimanded and disciplined for his transgression. Police are supposed to uphold and set the example, not break the laws.

  • Chris Cope

    Thanks to the helmet cam and Google maps, it appears these two are “racing” along a section of the Atlanta Highway in Montgomery. Searching what appears to be the same section of road using StreetView I’ve found a posted speed limit of 45 mph on that road. The speedometer on Spillers’ bike shows him going roughly 50 mph through that section.

    Admittedly, the camera moves around and the picture blurs at points, but the highest I see Spillers’ speedometer go is 57 mph, toward the end of the video. But at that point, the road appears to have become freeway (note that Spillers follows a sign marked “Exit” onto a feeder road right at the end), where the limit would be at least 55 — and the internet says urban freeways in Alabama can often be 65 mph.

    So, these two never appear to go even 10 mph over the limit. I don’t know the law in Alabama, but in MN that would be well within “officer’s discretion,” meaning you won’t necessarily get a ticket.

    I think the worst that should have happened is that the officer be the subject of ribbing from his colleagues for being silly enough to not spot a helmet camera.

    • Benjamin Reynolds

      Another thing to consider is most bikes speedometers tend to be about 10% optimistic.

      • Kamenashi

        What about people who went with a smaller sprocket?

        • dead_elvis

          The status quo is maintained.

          Take a look – from where does your bike’s speedo get its input? If cable driven, what’s driving it? If you have something more modern, where’s the electronic pickup getting its signal from? (Hint – not a chain sprocket)

          • el_jefe

            Take a look again, @disqus_KBrir9Jxbm:disqus Many bikes take the speed reading from the rear wheel via the transmission counter shaft. That shaft always turns as a function of final drive. Change the final drive gearing and the calibration will be off.

            • dead_elvis

              News to me! Thanks. Got any examples of such?

              I’m guessing that front-wheel driven speedo cables & pickups far outnumber other styles, but I’ve been wrong before…

  • weeeezzll

    Glad to hear he got his job back. I could understand a suspension, but loosing one’s entire career over a moving violation is beyond absurd.

  • grahluk

    Jeebus. People getting bent out of shape over this?! If he didn’t ask him “do you want to race” I would hardly have figured there was anything going on. Cop was cool but probably not smart to even entertain that sort of conversation with another motorist. The motorist/rider can get the wrong idea and take it as license to really go for it. This wasn’t that. Just some friendly smiles and a little engine revving between stop lights. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • Dana Pellerin

    The officer was obviously wrong…. but it’s not like he was selling crack or something. Slap him on the wrist and put him back out on the street.

  • chupa

    What about the cop that rear ended the motorcyclist in that other video? Did he get fired? If he didn’t, he should’ve. Like many others have said here – it was stupid but good natured fun. A minor talking to by the captain and get back out there.

  • Ryan Carman

    he should get a stern talking to, then be made an ambasador/liason to local mc groups. He clearly can relate to other riders, I can’t know what his communication skills are like but it stands to reason he would be a good way for the local pd to influence safe riding.

  • LS650

    Good grief – talk about heavy-handed. The chief couldn’t just tell the cop “Don’t do that again?”

  • Bones Over Metal

    Guy left his indicator on the whole time between changing lanes!
    ha

  • pdad13

    Spillers should have never posted the video. Really dumb move.

    I appreciate his efforts to get the cop reinstated, and I’m sure he was just trying to share a suprising and pleasant encounter with a P.O., but people need to think before they act. Once it’s out in the social media universe, you have no control over it. Social media can be an awfully bad thing for privacy.

    I once had a motorcycle cop pull me over just because he wanted to check out my new bike–and he was frustrated that he was stuck in a car for the day. Also had a NY State Trooper–and R6 rider–help me out when I got a flat in a very precarious spot on the Northern State Parkway.

    Those are really positive stories that people need to know about. But we should be very careful about what we share and how we share them.

    • Michael Howard

      And any of the few LEOs who might be tempted to have a little good-natured fun with the public will now think twice, not wanting it to show up on YouTube.

  • Smitchell

    Spillers should have his license revoked for losing this race.

  • Totts Adam

    A police officer finally not glued to his damn cellphone, and they wanted to fire this man. So sad how a once honorable profession has been perverted for the cause of collecting revenue.