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by Peter Moskos

July 29, 2008

Officer assaults bicyclist

Luckily somebody was filming. Uh, officers, you should always police like people are filming. Especially when you know they are.

As a former cop and current bicyclist, I don't get is why the NYPD is so hellbent against Critical Mass. Other cities manage just fine. Police escort. A little traffic disruption. A lot of bicyclists have a good time. Nobody gets hurt. Nothing so wrong in that.

Here's the article in the New York Times.

As a police officer, I'm willing to cut police a lot of slack for aggressive behavior in aggressive or chaotic situations. I'm also willing to cut police officers a fair amount of slack for honest mistakes. I also don't think a few seconds of video clip taken out of context should ruin an officer's career.

But the context here is clear. The officer, Pogan, is guilty of unprovoked aggravated assault. And as a New York City taxpayer, I don't want to pay for lawsuits from bad policing. I don't like it one bit.


Dave H. said...

Holy shit!!! Looks like someone had a case of the Mondays. Seriously, what would possess an officer to do something that stupid in Times Square in front of a ton of people. Does he think the badge makes him immune to battery charges (well, sometimes it looks that way) And to go ahead, make an arrest and act like the guy was guilty of something. Smells like intimidation and vengence to me Real nice NYPD.

marty said...

Why was this guy picked? There were other riders. Was anything done up the block by the rider out of camera range?

No excuses for the stop, I'm just wondering why the picked on this one guy.

Did another cop try stoping him up the block and he refused? Did he ride over somebody?

I hope we cna see the NYPD video at soem point used at many of these events.

Marty said...

of course this is no excuse for the cops behavior. The cop should be dealt with.

PCM said...

I'm pretty sure there was no other significant action up the block and out of camera range because had there been, it would have been mentioned in the officer's report. Instead the report was filled with lies.

As it was, according to the NY Post:

"In court papers, Pogan accused Long of purposely swerving his bicycle to block traffic and then using it as a weapon to run down the officer, knocking him off his feet and causing a "laceration" on his forearm."

"Pogan has been on the force for just three weeks since graduating from the Police Academy on July 2."

"If it wasn't caught on video people would not have believed it," said Christopher Ryan, who rides with Critical Mass and is filming the monthly protests for a documentary. "The video just shows what the cyclists have been saying all along, that the police are still harassing and intimidating them from doing group rides," said Ryan. "An officer assaulted a cyclist for no reason. It's just crazy."

PCM said...

Ray Kelley, the chief, just came out and said he "couldn't fathom" why the officer did that.

That means he's hung out to dry. And still on probation? Time to dust off the resume.

Marty said...

Yea, does not look good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting on StreetBlog. After respecting the courteous ride I saw in Ottawa that was Critical Mass... I came to Philly to see that people on the rides can be real jack asses and actually try to impede traffic for no reason. So, without knowing the context of this ride I can't comment on that.

But, I think it's clear that while there is no doubt this officer is at fault, so is the NYPD for creating a climate where this officer thought it was okay. If the NYPD had a history of proper dealing with Critical Mass then this officer's actions would seem like an anomaly. Instead, if seems like a continuation of a policy, albeit, in a more extreme form. This goes to more than just this one incident and the police need to seriously rethink their policy of how to deal with critical mass.

Marty said...

What is the proper way to handle people riding all over with no regard to traffic rules and holding up my freedom, blocking my way.

Ignoring this icident how should the NYPD handle it?

PCM said...

Three words: Let them ride.

If you like freedom, you might notice how your freedom is actually almost always held up not by bikes, but by other cars! But I don't attack them!

Seriously, though. I think the previous post has the answer and I couldn't agree more.

As much as it pains a few particular people in the NYPD, you can't control hundreds of people on bikes willing to get arrested for their freedom to ride

You've got to work with Critical Mass, like police in many other cities do. Let them ride. Problem solved.

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