2010-10-19 City Pays $965,000 to Cyclists Arrested on Critical Mass


Press Contact: Barbara Ross – 917.494.8164, press@times-up.org

LEGAL Contacts: David B. Rankin, 212.226.4507, Gideon Oliver, 646.263.3495


NYPD’S six-year multi-million-dollar harassment campaign continues despite costs to taxpayers and failures in court

NEW YORK, NY (October 19, 2010) – – The City of New York has agreed to pay $965,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by 83 cyclists who were wrongfully arrested by the NYPD during Critical Mass rides from 2004-2006.

The arrested cyclists spent hours behind bars, made numerous court appearances to fight the charges and had their bikes taken from them as evidence. The NYPD used huge amounts of resources at taxpayers’ expense during the 2004-2006 Critical Mass rides.  Detail Reports verify that large amounts of NYPD resources were used during the 2004-2006 Critical Mass rides, including the over 700 police officers assigned to follow the ride and 35 rolls of orange netting to trap cyclists as they rode down the streets.  Despite numerous losses in court, the NYPD continues to show up at the monthly bicycle ride with a disproportionate number of police officers specifically assigned to follow the Critical Mass.

“Dozens of officers on motorized scooters follow the ride for hours, says plainpng and Critical Mass participant Barbara Ross, who made 11 court appearances until all charges from her February 2005 arrest were dismissed 14 months later. “High-ranking officers and NYPD’s video team intimidate cyclists by driving closely behind in marked and unmarked cars. The number of police following the ride will often equal or exceed the number of cyclists on the ride each month.”

In addition to this recent nearly million-dollar lawsuit payout, the NYPD continues to spend huge amount of expenditures without any credible justification or oversight by the city council. Rosie Mendez and 11 other city council members have previously requested the DA’s office to investigate the NYPD tactics used at Critical Mass while Mayor Bloomberg continues to remain silent on the subject.

“Mayor Bloomberg’s tacit endorsement of Raymond Kelly’s anti-biking policing is out of step with Bloomberg’s administration’s stated support for a safe environment for cyclists,” says plainpng Brandon Neubauer.

“This settlement is a victory for a wide-range of cyclists who realize the potential for a safer, more bicycle-friendly city and keep on riding in the face of years of unjustified harassment and arrests by the NYPD,” says Bill DiPaola, Director of Time’s Up! Environmental Group.

Plainpng’s Legal Team: Attorneys Gideon Oliver, David B. Rankin, Rose Weber and the law office of Rankin & Taylor.

Relevant Links:

Detail Reports 10/2004 – 2/2006:

01/2005-06/2005Summary estimates of Critical Mass Detail Reports 10/2004 – 2/2006

Excerpts from Complaint filed with individual arrest stories

A Brief Primer of Critical Mass in New York City and its Historical Significance Critical Mass

Videos of Critical Mass rides 2004 – 2010

Video of former NYPD Asst. Chief Bruce Smoka grabbing plainpng during April 2005 Critical Mass:

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