D.A. is investigating officer’s assault on cyclist
August 06, 2008
By Jefferson Siegel
A videotape of a police officer knocking a bicyclist to the ground in Times Square during the July Critical Mass ride dominated local media for several days last week.
At first posted anonymously to the video Web-sharing site YouTube, it was subsequently revealed that the video was obtained and uploaded by Time’s Up!, the environmental advocacy organization, and the Glass Bead video collective.
Late last week, several members of Time’s Up! received phone calls from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
“They were incredibly polite,” said Bill DiPaola, Time’s Up! director, who was asked by D.A. officials about the incident.
Judy Ross, the group’s outreach volunteer, also received a call.
“She asked if I might be able to help in the investigation. She said she was investigating the incident,” Ross recalled.
Ross told the caller she didn’t witness the officer’s action.
When contacted by The Villager this week, Alicia Maxey Greene, a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office, would only say, “The investigation is continuing.”
Civil-rights lawyer Norman Siegel said on Tuesday, “I’ve told the district attorney that Time’s Up! will co-operate.” Siegel, who is representing the environmental group, spoke with the D.A.’s office several times. “I was assured the rights of whoever came in would be respected and protected,” Siegel said, adding that so far no witnesses to the incident had come forward.
In a letter to the D.A.’s office dated last Friday, a dozen city councilmembers, including Manhattan members Rosie Mendez, Alan Gerson and Gale Brewer, called for charges to be dropped against the cyclist and asked for an investigation into police tactics during Critical Mass rides.
The cyclist in the Critical Mass ride, Christopher Long, was tackled and knocked to the ground by rookie police officer Patrick Pogan as the procession pedaled through Times Square. Pogan claimed Long veered into and collided with him. Although Long was arrested and faces a variety of charges, the video resulted in the officer being removed from active duty and placed under investigation.