FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Barbara Ross 917.494.8164
Judy Ross 917.405.1544
$1.5 MILLION SUIT IS FILED AGAINST THE NYPD FOR ASSAULT OF CYCLIST BY POLICE OFFICER DURING JULY 2008 CRITICAL MASS
Lawsuit is just one of numerous suits filed against NYPD’s continual violation of cyclists’ constitutional rights and falsification of court documents.
The City is being sued for $1.5 million for trying to cover up the attack of Christopher Long, who was violently thrown off his bicycle by police officer Patrick Pogan while riding through Times Square during a July 2008 Critical Mass ride. The police report filed by Pogan claiming that Long deliberately drove his bike into him and sent both of them falling to the ground during the July 25th Critical Mass Ride was proven false when a video was posted on YouTube showing Long peacefully riding through Times Square when grabbed by Pogan. Numerous other lawsuits have been filed by other cyclists whose civil rights have been violated as a result of the NYPD’s harassment campaign against group bicycle rides
A second lawsuit filed on March 2, 2009 describes circumstances that closely mirror the assault of Christopher Long. Cyclist Richard Vazquez was also violently thrown off his bicycle, this time by NYPD Sergeant Horohoe, while riding peacefully through Times Square during a March 2007 Critical Mass Ride. Vazquez was then shoved against a nearby garbage can, handcuffed and arrested. The police report claiming that Vasquez intentionally stopped and “placed his bike and body in crosswalk impeding traffic,” was also proven false when a video of the incident was released on YouTube The NYPD has taken no action against Sergeant Horohoe even though the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) substantiated the charge that he used excess force and intentionally made false official statements to the CCRB. Other plainpngs in the lawsuit include Joyce Lin, Jordan Groh and Christian Gutierrez who were arrested that night while trying to document police harassment of Vazquez and other cyclists in Time’s Square.
Other pending lawsuits against the NYPD include a case involving more than 100 plainpngs suing for unlawful arrests made during Critical Mass rides and a case filed by the Five Borough Bicycle Club regarding the NYPD’s selective enforcement and other civil rights abuses of cyclists participating in group rides.
“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,” said Critical Mass cyclist & Time’s Up! volunteer, Liane Nikitovich.
PENDING LAWSUITS AGAINST NYPD’S VIOLATIONS OF CYCLISTS RIGHTS:
1) Christopher Long vs. NYPD, et al
Video showing Long being thrown off his bike in Times Square July 2008 by Officer Pogan
2) Richard Vazquez, et al vs. NYPD, et al
Video showing Vazquez being thrown off his bike in Times Square March 2007 by Sergeant Horohoe
3) Cyclists unlawfully arrested on Critical Mass vs. NYPD, et al
Court documents filed by the plainpng’s lawyer, David B. Rankin, responding to the City’s unreasonable set of interrogatories and requests for production of documents, including a request for each plainpng to sign a blank authorization for release of employment records for the past 10 years.
4) 5 Borough Bicycle Club, et al vs. NYPD, et al
The trial completed 5/14/2009 and the plainpng’s are now awaiting the Judge’s decision. The 5BBC has posted the court documents on their website. 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 to prepare for this lawsuit.