NYC: indictment in police assault of Critical Mass cyclist

From Times Up!, Dec. 16:

NYPD Police Officer Patrick Pogan, who was caught on video aggressively knocking cyclist Christopher Long off his bicycle during the July 25, 2008 Critical Mass bicycle ride, has been indicted on five charges, including Falsifying Business Records and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, both Class E felonies, and Assault in the Third Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. The felony charges stem from the false arrest report and criminal court complaint that Police Officer Hogan allegedly filed about the incident. Officer Pogan’s aggressive behavior and subsequent falsification of official documents are not isolated events in NYPD’s dealings with cyclists.

“This indictment is an important first step in the process of achieving accountability over some NYPD officers who continue to violate the civil rights of Critical Mass bicyclists. Perhaps, the indictment will send a strong message that it is no longer acceptable for police officers to take the law into their own hands vis-a-vis Critical Mass bike riders,” states Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel.

Since the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, civil rights activists and cycling advocates have long seen a pattern of excessive force and harassment against cyclists from even the highest ranks of the NYPD. Just last year, Richard Vazquez was thrown off his bike by NYPD Sergent Horohoe as Mr. Vazquez was riding through Times Square on the March 2007 Critical Mass ride. The NYPD took no action against Sergeant Horohoe even though the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) substantiated the charge that Sgt Horohoe used excess force and intentionally made false official statements to the CCRB.

The public outcry leading to this indictment was sparked by a bystander’s videotape of the 7/25 incident, which was released on YouTube by the Time’s Up! environmental group and Glassbead Video Collective. “We hope that with this indictment, Mayor Bloomberg will now direct the higher-ups at the NYPD to discontinue their pattern of excessive force and dangerous tactics against cyclists and instead work with cyclists to make the ride safe and encourage non-polluting transportation.” states Judy Ross, spokesperson for Time’s Up!.

See our last posts on New York City and the global Critical Mass struggle.

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  1. Justice in Critical Mass assault… maybe
    From The Villager, May 5:

    Patrick Pogan, the former rookie police officer charged with assault for pushing a Critical Mass bicycle rider to the ground near Times Square in July 2008 and filing a false police report on the incident, was declared not guilty of assault but guilty of filing a false report on Thurs., April 29. Pogan, who resigned from the New York Police Department soon after the incident, faces up to four years in jail at his June 23 sentencing, but he could get no jail time at all. In his December sworn complaint about the incident, Pogan said the rider, Christopher Long, purposely ran into him. The pushing incident was caught on video and seen by millions on YouTube. Long sued the city for false arrest and the city settled the case for $65,000.