Critical Mass Cyclists Get Almost $1 Million From City; Police Still Watching the Ride
The Village Voice
April 8, 2011
By Graham Rayman
Even though our friends at City Hall recently had to fork over $965,000 in taxpayer money to Critical Mass riders arrested by the NYPD under questionable circumstances, police keep monitoring the rides.
Last month, only 10 cyclists showed up at Union Square for the monthly ride, but they were monitored by 20 police officers, including a captain, says Time’s Up! spokeswoman Barbara Ross.
This week, the city finally sent out settlement checks to 83 Critical Mass cyclists who had sued the city for false arrest between 2004 and 2006. (The lawyers representing the riders got $550,000 of that money.)
In all, the NYPD campaign against the rides has cost the city $3 million in settlements, NYPD personnel costs and court costs, according to an analysis by ride advocates.
And yet, the monitoring of the rides continues, though at a more muted pace probably because fewer riders show up in the colder months.
“How can the NYPD continue to justify deploying a police detail twice as large as the number of ride participants when the Mayor announced last Friday that they will need to be reducing the size of the police force?” says Ross, a plainpng and Critical Mass participant.
The NYPD has long cited public safety and traffic issues when explaining its focus on the event.
(Critical Mass, for those of you not from the East Village or Williamsburg, is a monthly ride held to promote bicycle transportation.)