Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"To protect and serve," my ass

Fuck the police.

Some of the story about the video via Gothamist:
Another Critical Mass ride, another stunning display of police brutality. Watch as one of New York's finest violently shoves a cyclist off his bicycle, launching him through the air to the curb at 46th street and Seventh Avenue during Friday night's monthly Critical Mass ride.

Although a judge ruled in 2006 that the monthly Critical Mass bicycle rides could proceed without a permit, the NYPD's stance remains somewhat adversarial. Though the city has not been enforcing the controversial parade permit law when it comes to Critical Mass, police have been ticketing cyclists during the ride for such infractions as not having the required lights.

A representative for TIMES UP! tells us that the cyclist in this video was arrested, held for 26 hours, and charged with attempted assault and resisting arrest. One other cyclist was ticketed Friday night for riding outside the bike lane, which is not actually illegal and often necessary, considering how popular bike lanes are for double parking.

UPDATE: MyFoxNY has it that the police officer in the video – 22-year-old Patrick Pogan – has been stripped of his badge and gun and the NYPD has "placed the officer on desk duty pending the outcome of a department investigation." The cyclist, Christopher Long, has not commented, but his lawyer said, "The video speaks for itself."

UPDATE 7/29: More details here, including how Officer Pogan is apparently a third-generation cop and Long is described as an Army veteran who works as a grocer at the Union Square Green Market.

And the details from the 7/29 update at Gothamist:
The cyclist who was videotaped being body slammed off his bike in an apparently unprovoked attack by an NYPD officer during Friday night’s Critical Mass ride has been identified as Christopher Long, a 29-year-old resident of Bloomfield, New Jersey who works at the Union Square Greenmarket. His boss tells the Daily News that Long is an Army veteran and "mild-mannered environmental activist." Craig Radhuber, 54, was riding behind Long Friday night and describes incident: “All of a sudden the cop picked this kid out and bodychecked him. I couldn't believe what was going on. [The officer] body-slammed this kid off the bicycle so hard that he went from the lane to the curb.”

The officer seen in the video, rookie Patrick Pogan – a third-generation cop and the son of a retired New York City detective who worked on the Joint Terrorism Task Force – wrote in his police report that Long was observed “forcing multiple vehicles to stop abruptly or change their direction to avoid a collision.” Radhuber, the witness, tells the Times that “there was no traffic behind us – there was no traffic to weave in and out of. The police officer looked to see who he was going to pick off.”

According to Officer Pogan
, Long rode his bike straight into him, knocking them both down and causing a “laceration” on his arm. This account would seem to contradict the incendiary video, shot by a tourist. Long was arrested for attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, and, apparently Officer Pogan wrote in his report that Long told him: “You are pawns in the game. I’m going to have your job.”

Bill DiPaola, a director of Time’s Up, told the Times he arrived just after Long went down. “He got up and was dazed. They put their knees on top of his head and were smashing him into a phone booth.” Long, who was not wearing a helmet, was bruised but not hospitalized, and spent 26 hours in jail. After the video surfaced yesterday, Pogan was stripped of his gun and badge pending an investigation. But his father defended him to the Daily News, saying, “You gotta do what you gotta do to make an arrest.” And in discussing the video with the News, an unidentified NYPD source says, "The video is bad - what can you say?"

It's been almost four years since Critical Mass bicyclists and the NYPD clashed during the 2004 Republican National Convention (cops arrested over 200 people). Since then, the city and bicyclists have argued over whether the "unorganized" rides can take place--culminating in a judge's 2006 decision that prohibits the city from barring the ride and the NYPD creating "parade rules" for groups of 50 or more. Last year, a cop explained how they gear up for Critical Mass and in May, the Reverend Al Sharpton rode with Critical Mass, reminding bicyclists that people of "all ages and all backgrounds and all races" need to stand together, or else the plice will try to "play one community against each other [and] they get through the middle."
Oh, and the ever so classy police union naturally stands behind the perp:
That video depicting a rookie cop bodyslamming a cyclist to the curb in Times Square? Just routine policework, according to the president of the police union.

Apparently 22-year-old rookie Patrick Pogan was simply acting "under direct orders” when he spotted cyclist Christopher Long “creating a hazardous condition for the public and took action," union head Patrick Lynch told reporters yesterday. See, the video actually proves Pogan was just doing his job:

Instead of slowing down or stopping as any reasonable person would when an officer approached, this rider dropped his shoulder in an attempt to avoid arrest by plowing into the officer's chest, which resulted in the officer pushing him away.
Sort of like that time Amadou Diallo wouldn't stop taking out his wallet and got in the way of all those bullets? Pogan’s been stripped of his badge and gun pending an investigation, but he’s got nothing to worry about – not only is he the son of a respected retired detective, but just look at this photo of the High School football star the Post dug up! Boys will be boys.

Still, Pogan pere better be calling in all his favors, because Mayor Bloomberg does not see eye-to-eye with the police union on this one. Yesterday he described the video as "totally over the top. Inappropriate is a nice way to phrase it. Let's let the police commissioner conduct his investigation." Commissioner Ray Kelly is baffled by the incident. "I have no explanation. I can't explain why it happened." Sources in the NYPD tell the Daily News that the charges against Long will likely be dropped and Pogan will “almost surely be fired.” And for the cop-bike-bodyslam completeist, Smoking Gun has the police report.

That's not the only videotape of police brutality to surface this week. It goes without saying that police brutality is endemic. Just pick up a few books and check out the history - Political Policing by Martha Huggins, A Peoples History by Howard Zinn, Murdered by Capitalism by John Ross, should get you started.

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