Photo by Steve Amster
Last week, Steve Amster, owner of Garden State Bagels in Encinitas, confronted a Sheriff's Dept. motorcycle traffic officer positioned in his store's parking lot at 191 N. El Camino Real.
After seeing the officer point the radar gun at passing motorists for several minutes, Amster said he approached the officer and asked what he was doing. According to Amster, the officer responded that he was raising money for the City of Encinitas.
Amster said he then asked the officer who gave the him permission to be on private property. The officer reportedly responded that the business's driveway wasn't on private property. Amster said when a car backs into one of his customer's vehicles in the multi-business parking lot, the Sheriff’s Dept. won't respond, claiming the parking area is private property.
Then Amster pointed out to the officer that he was parked against a red curb in the driveway, and part of his motorcycle was blocking the sidewalk. He asked the officer to leave. According to Amster, the officer responded that he must not want deputies to come to his bagel shop. Amster said he then told the officer, “Your fat ass has never been in my bagel shop. You're eating at the donut shop.”
I asked Amster if he thought it was okay to say that to a guy with a badge and a gun.
“I can say anything I want to him as long as I don't touch him or threaten him.” Amster then told the officer that as long as the officer remained there, he was going to stand in front of the deputy’s radar gun, blocking the beam so his friends, neighbors, and customers wouldn't get expensive tickets. After a few blocked attempts to measure the speed of oncoming motorists, the officer left the area.