Contacts: Bill DiPaola 917.577.5621
Barbara Ross 917.494.8164, firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICER CAUGHT ON VIDEO KNOCKING CRITICAL MASS CYCLIST OFF BICYCLE IS INDICTED
Time’s Up! and civil rights activists demand an immediate end to NYPD’s campaign of harassment toward cyclists
New York, NY (December 16, 2008) – NYPD Police Officer Patrick Pogan, who was caught on video aggressively knocking cyclist Christopher Long off his bicycle during the July 25, 2008 Critical Mass bicycle ride, has been indicted on five charges, including Falsifying Business Records and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, both Class E felonies, and Assault in the Third Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. The felony charges stem from the false arrest report and criminal court complaint that Police Officer Hogan allegedly filed about the incident. Officer Pogan’s aggressive behavior and subsequent falsification of official documents are not isolated events in NYPD’s dealings with cyclists.
“This indictment is an important first step in the process of achieving accountability over some NYPD officers who continue to violate the civil rights of Critical Mass bicyclists. Perhaps, the indictment will send a strong message that it is no longer acceptable for police officers to take the law into their own hands vis-a-vis Critical Mass bike riders,” states Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel.
Since the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, civil rights activists and cycling advocates have long seen a pattern of excessive force and harassment against cyclists from even the highest ranks of the NYPD. Just last year, Richard Vazquez was thrown off his bike by NYPD Sergent Horohoe as Mr. Vazquez was riding through Times Square on the March 2007 Critical Mass ride. The NYPD took no action against Sergeant Horohoe even though the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) substantiated the charge that Sgt Horohoe used excess force and intentionally made false official statements to the CCRB.
The public outcry leading to this indictment was sparked by a bystander’s videotape of the 7/25 incident, which was released on YouTube by the Time’s Up! environmental group and Glassbead Video Collective. “We hope that with this indictment, Mayor Bloomberg will now direct the higher-ups at the NYPD to discontinue their pattern of excessive force and dangerous tactics against cyclists and instead work with cyclists to make the ride safe and encourage non-polluting transportation.” states Judy Ross, spokesperson for Time’s Up!.
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.
PHOTO OF VAZQUEZ’S WOUND FROM 03/2007