That wild biker was ready to hit me: officer
New York Post
By Laura Italiano
Last Updated: 6:46 AM, April 24, 2010
Posted: 1:40 AM, April 24, 2010
He was about to attack me — with his shoulder!
Strapping ex-cop Patrick Pogan insisted yesterday that he violently shoved a Critical Mass rider to the ground because the scrawny cyclist was brandishing something dangerous.
“He was threatening to use that shoulder against me,” Pogan told a Manhattan jury, giving for the first time publicly an eyebrow-raising account of the notorious July 2008 cop-on-biker takedown.
“I told him to stop,” the former rookie, who at the time of the arrest weighed 260 pounds, recalled on the stand.
But 150-pound Christopher Long — a kooky cycling activist who testified this week that he gets stoned every day, believes bikes have more right to the roads than cars and finds the NYPD “beyond reform” — bared down, according to Pogan.
“We locked eyes,” an earnest Pogan remembered of the moment his and Long’s fates intersected at the Crossroads of the World.
The collision of bodies and egos that came next was caught on a snippet of video that became an instant YouTube classic — and a prime piece of evidence against Pogan in his trial on charges of misdemeanor assault and felony false filing of a police report.
“I saw him going toward the sidewalk,” Pogan testified.
“He’s either going there to go around me or he’s going there to stop,” he told jurors.
“I took a walk to the side,” he remembered. “I see him rise up on his bike. I see him crouch down his shoulder as he’s coming toward me . . . At this point, I know he’s going to try to use that shoulder against me.”
Long had told jurors that he had turned his shoulder to Pogan at the last minute, to brace himself.
But Pogan testified that Long moved his shoulder, “maybe to scare me or use that shoulder to come through me.”
Pogan insisted that he then paused to mull his several “force” options.
“I could have used my Mace, but that would have cost the city more than $65,000” — the amount the city paid to settle Long’s federal lawsuit — Pogan told jurors, explaining that nearby tourists would likely sue the city themselves if he had unwittingly spritzed them.
“Maybe I’ll use my baton,” Pogan said he then wondered. “But the baton was useless at that point. There was no way I could have used any of the tools at my disposal.”
Finally, he said: “I prepared myself for a hit. He was coming toward me. I braced for impact. I lowered my shoulder. There was a collision. I used my arms to get that bicycle away from me.”
Pogan conceded to Stuart London, the defense lawyer questioning him, that Long’s arrest report and criminal complaint — in which Pogan claimed Long had knocked him to the ground — was “not true.”
“I did not go down at that moment. I went down two later times in that incident,” Pogan averred.
Barbara Ross, a spokeswoman for Times Up, which promotes the Critical Mass ride, said she was “dumbfounded” by the cop’s story.
“It’s clear on the video that Christopher Long is avoiding [Pogan], not coming toward him.
“He’s flipping reality upside down.”