Cop’s ‘pot’ shot
New York Post
April 19, 2010
By Laura Italiano
Last Updated: 5:12 AM, April 19, 2010
Posted: 3:48 AM, April 19, 2010
Pot-smoking bikers, bad; misunderstood cops, good.
Opening statements are slated for today in the case of ex-cop Patrick Pogan, who was caught on video two years ago violently shoving Critical Mass cyclist Christopher Long off his bike near Times Square.
Lawyers for Pogan, who was a rookie at the time of the 2008 incident, are poised to attack Long’s credibility by grilling him on the stand about everything from his history of marijuana use to his lawsuit against the NYPD and allegedly reckless bicycling.
“Maybe you have a witness who likes to smoke pot,” defense lawyer Stuart London asked a prospective juror during selection last week. “Would that affect his credibility?”
Long, London told a reporter, received a general discharge from the Army in 2001 for pot smoking and had rolling papers on him when Pogan arrested him.
“What if he brought a lawsuit for money?” the lawyer asked the prospective juror, referring to Long’s federal lawsuit against the city, settled for $65,000.
“Would that be a factor in judging credibility?”
Muddying up the victim won’t work, said Bill DiPaola, director of Times Up!, the environmental group that promotes Critical Mass, a monthly city bike-ride demonstration.
“The video speaks for itself,” DiPaola noted.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, has insisted that Pogan had instructions to stop dangerous riders — and that Long was weaving through traffic while steering with just one hand.
Ultimately, Pogan hopes to convince jurors that, with just 11 days on the job, he was only following orders as best he could, London said.
The most serious charge against Pogan is falsifying the complaint against Long — a felony.
But Pogan never laid a hand on that paperwork, London claims, adding that it was drafted by a superior officer.
Whoever wrote it, the now-dismissed criminal complaint — which accused Long of resisting arrest and attempted assault — was based on Pogan’s sworn statements, prosecutors have said.
Pogan is also charged with misdemeanor assault.