A Queens firefighter took his son for a motorcycle ride — and the trip spun out in a war of words with a cop who accused him of “playing dumb” about rules of the road.
Jonathan Logan, a lieutenant assigned to the Fire Department’s 46th Battalion, was riding his Harley Davidson on the jam-packed Belt Parkway Friday with his 8-year-old son in the back.
Having seen rear-end accidents along the stretch, Logan said he didn’t want that happening on his son’s first-ever motorcycle ride.
So Logan, 39, moved to the right-side shoulder to get to a safer spot.
Within seconds, he passed Officer Mark Gaiardelli, who promptly flashed his lights and stopped him.
Logan had mounted a camera on the visor to chronicle his son’s first ride, and the device caught the ensuing argument, which Logan posted online.
When Gaiardelli asked why Logan was riding the shoulder, he replied: “Just trying to make sure I’m not in the, you know, in the line of traffic with my son, that’s all.”
“It’s not a HOV lane,” Gaiardelli responded, standing off camera.
About 30 seconds into the recording, Logan asked: “Are you okay? It seems like you’re a little upset right now.”
“I’m not upset, because you’re playing dumb with me,” the officer said.
Then the encounter veered in a whole new direction.
“Excuse me sir,” said Logan, a father of three who is married to a police officer, “I’m here with my son. And I would appreciate you giving me a little bit of respect, okay?”
“Well, don’t play dumb with me then,” Gaiardelli replied.
Gaiardelli denied calling Logan “dumb,” and said he was saying not to “play dumb with me.” There’s a difference, he maintained.
Gaiardelli wound up calling his supervisor at Logan’s insistence.
The YouTube clip ends with Logan comforting his crying child.
But the full, roughly 27-minute recording continued as both patrol supervisor Sgt. Elizabeth Mero, and Logan’s wife along with their two daughters, arrived.
Logan ended up with tickets for riding the shoulder, having a dirty license plate and an expired inspection.
The original plan was to ride over to Logan’s parents in South Ozone Park. Instead, father and son went to the 113th Precinct to file a Civilian Complaint Review Board action. They finished the night playing the video for an Internal Affairs Bureau detective.
Days later, Logan was still fuming.
“This guy felt empowered to speak to me like I was some hoodlum. It was just a bad situation that went sideways,” Logan told the Daily News.
Logan says he’ll fight the tickets.
The tab looks to be around $300, but Logan said he’s focused on the principles involved.
He said he wasn’t seeking special treatment — just a chance to explain the circumstances without accusations of “playing dumb.”
“These are not isolated incidents. This happens hundreds of times every day within the confines of New York City. When police officers speak to people like this it must be exposed,” said Logan, who’s a member of Queens Community Board 13 and vice president of the Cambria Heights Civic Association.
Logan was stopped just blocks from where he grew up, and he said there’s still a way to go with “neighborhood policing.”
“It’s still an us vs. them mentality. There’s no vested interest in the cops that work the neighborhoods. They’re under tremendous pressure to meet their quotas. And if they don’t? They’re going to be on a foot post in the cold. I can’t get respect in my community. If I look a certain way then I’m a problem. This is the conversation we need to have.”
The NYPD has said it does not have any quota policy.
Gaiardelli, 42, and the Police Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2007, the News reported Gaiardelli was one of several police officers with eyebrow-raising internet activity.
His onetime MySpace page showed a picture of two women baring their breasts in front of an NYPD cruiser.
“Love being the NYPD,” the photo caption boasted.
Logan said Gaiardelli’s old social media posts didn’t come as a shock.