FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Barbara Ross 917.494.8164
Judy Ross 917.405.1544
New York, NY (September 5, 2008) – The Manhattan District Attorney has dropped all charges against Christopher Long, the cyclist shown on a video being aggressively knocked off his bike by Officer Patrick Pogan while cycling through Time’s Square on the July 25, 2008 Critical Mass ride. Since the release of the video, support for cyclists has been growing, as evidenced by the large number of bystanders cheering cyclists during last Friday’s Critical Mass (8/29/08.) Members of the City Council have also joined the chorus of indignation, calling for the Manhattan District Attorney to drop the charges against Long and to investigate the NYPD’s policies toward Critical Mass rides.
“Time’s Up! is thrilled by this victory in court and we remain positive that this decision will convince the Mayor and the NYPD to treat the Manhattan Critical Mass ride in non-violent and sensible matter similar to how they currently treat the monthly Critical Mass Ride in Brooklyn.” said Judy Ross, Time’s Up! spokesperson. “Time’s Up! also demands that Mayor Bloomberg immediately instruct the NYPD that bicyclists are part of every day traffic and that the increase of bicycling is a positive trend that the city recognizes and is accommodating.”
In court documents, Officer Pogan claimed that Long deliberately drove his bike into him, sending both of them falling to the ground. Christopher Long’s charges included attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. As is the case with many incidents captured by videotape on past Critical Mass rides, the police officer’s account described in the court documents did not match what was on the tape.
“Although I am pleased with District Attorney Morgenthau’s decision to dismiss the charges against cyclist, Christopher Long, the D.A. now needs to bring perjury & assault charges against this police officer,” states civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel. “This will send a strong message to prevent future police misconduct and bring more accountability for police behavior.”
Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of non-polluting transportation, which takes place in hundreds of cities around the world. Critical Mass and other group rides have contributed to the increase in cycling and safer streets.