2009-05-10 Kelly Allegations Against CM Contradicted


Contacts:   Barbara Ross 917.494.8164
                  Judy Ross 917.405.1544


After two years of litigation, the 5 Borough Bicycle Club’s complaint against the NYPD’s attempt to classify group bicycle rides as “parades” is scheduled to go to trial on May 12th.

New York, NY (May 10, 2009) – A trial addressing the NYPD’s attempt to classify group bicycle rides as “parades” is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 12 after Commissioner Raymond Kelly, NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne, and over 15 other NYPD officers were deposed on their roles and knowledge of the policing of the Critical Mass rides. Testimony in the depositions prove that Raymond Kelly’s allegations against Critical Mass bicycle riders, published repeatedly in major press, were made without credible evidence, based on information from unknown sources and used to rationalize the NYPD’s multi-million dollar campaign to follow, ticket, and intimidate Critical Mass bicycle riders every month.

For years cyclists have disputed the allegations against Critical Mass bicycle riders made by Raymond Kelly and Paul Browne and published in the NY Times, the Associated Press and other mass media. Kelly said that the Critical Mass ride was “hijacked by groups of cyclists intent on disruption” in an Op-Ed article published by the Daily News on 10/28/2004 and then repeated the allegation in another Op-Ed published in the New York Post on 7/21/2006. In their depositions, Kelly could not name a specific source to back up the hijacking allegation and Browne, who drafted both Op-Eds, could name only one source – NYPD Transportation Chief Michael Scagnelli. When questioned in his deposition, Chief Scagnelli admits that he cannot recall any of his sources. Testimony from officers who were assigned to Critical Mass detail for years directly contradicts Kelly’s hijack assertions.

“The depositions raise serious and substantial questions regarding NYPD’s allegation that the Critical Mass ride was ‘hijacked by cyclists intent on disruption.’ It appears that there is no adequate basis for this troubling assertion,” says Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel.

“We hope that the revealing evidence in these depositions will be heard by the public, and especially Mayor Bloomberg,” said Critical Mass cyclist Liane Nikitovich. “Cyclists ask the Mayor to direct the NYPD to stop the continuous expenditure of precious resources on controversial practices and over policing and instead work with the cyclists to return to the more sensible police tactics used prior to the Republican National Convention.”

The plainpngs are represented by the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton.

Tanscripts of nine depositions, including Kelly, Browne, Scagnelli, and Wagner

Excerpts from depositions of NYPD personal regarding “hijacking” of Critical Mass


Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of non-polluting transportation. Critical Mass and other group rides have contributed to the increase in cycling and safer streets

Press Releases