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by Peter Moskos

July 29, 2008

Officer assaults bicyclist (2): Let Them Ride

Ray Kelley, the commissioner, just came on the radio and said he "couldn't fathom" why the officer, Pogan, did that.

That means the officer is officially being fed to the dogs... hung out to dry... you might even say thrown under a bus.

And since the officer is still on probation... well, it's time to dust off the resume.

You can read the lying officer's report at the smoking gun.

And my previous post here.

One comment asked a good question: what should police do?

Three simple words: Let them ride!

As much as it pains a few particular people in the NYPD, you can't control hundreds of people on bikes. Especially if they're willing to get arrested. Police have to work with Critical Mass, just like police do in many other cities. Provide an escort. Join the fun.

That means that once a month, yes, bikes go unrestricted through the streets. Yes, it might slow cars down. But so do double parkers and the 4th of July Parade.


Zora said...

Saying he 'couldn't fathom' it also means he's trying to pretend as if the NYPD hasn't encouraged a rather cavalier attitude toward bicyclists over the past four years.

PCM said...

I doubt Ray Kelley ever gave the order to tackle bicyclists and knock them to the ground.

But he may have given orders to "stop those damn bicyclists."

And then underlings have to try. And act like there's a way that police can stop them. Hence, very real frustration.

David said...

I'm curious what you think of the statement from the PBA President defending Pogan (and criticizing the cyclist). I know that the PBA's purpose is to represent and support officers, but when you defend actions like Pogan's, aren't you hurting the vast majority of officers who actually practice the "Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect" that is advertised on the side of NYPD cars? It makes people like me think that maybe a lot of cops actually approve of Pogan's actions. By defending Pogan's outrageous behavior, the PBA pres. seems to be doing a disservice to reputations of all the other officers he represents, by implying that actions like Pogan's are considered appropriate by officers in general. Here is the statement from the PBA's Pat Lynch, as reported at NY1.com:

The police union is coming to the defense of that officer. President Pat Lynch of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said Officer Patrick Pogan “took action” when he observed the rider creating a “hazardous situation for the public.”

Lynch, who was unavailable for an on-camera interview, issued a statement saying the video shows the rider did not stop, like "any reasonable person" when approached by the officer.

PCM said...

Do you think less of defense lawyers when they say guilty people are innocent? It's their job.

So what do of think of the union saying such a thing? I think it's their job.

David said...

I guess I see the role of a union president and a defense lawyer as slightly different, since a defense lawyer's job is represent the interests of the individual, while the union president's job is to represent the entire membership. Usually that does mean representing the interests of the individual members, but in a case like this, the interests of Pogan and the interests of NYPD cops in general seem to diverge, since Pogan's actions will inevitably (and unfairly) give a bad name to NYPD cops in general. By staunchly defending Pogan's actions, rather than just calling for due process and no rush to judgment, Lynch may actually be acting contrary to the interests of the majority of officers, by implying that they endorse or condone unprovoked attacks on citizens.

I certainly think the PBA should ensure that Pogan has legal counsel, and ensure that he is given due process by the department. But making a public statement saying that Pogan's actions were justified, when almost everyone believes that's not true, has the effect of damaging the credibility and reputation of all the professional, respectful cops that Lynch represents. The union could have defended Pogan's rights without so strongly defending his specific actions in this incident.

PCM said...


I think you're right.

Thinking about it, I think the public defense was more a favor to Pogan's dad than the Pogan, junior.