Rick Buckheit, a Front Runner when he is not an investigator with the
Manhattan D.A.'s office, write...
I am hoping you might be able to assist me. I'm not sure if you are participate in the critical mass demonstrations or maybe you know people who do. I am trying to locate anyone who may have witnessed a hit and run accident that took place during the critical mass demonstration of August 27 of last year. The accident took place at the corner of Houston and Mercer Streets and may have involved an SUV owned by Foxy Brown. At least two riders were hit by the SUV. Do you happen to know anyone who witnessed any part of the incident? If not would you mind asking around to see if anyone saw it. The incident was in the papers so I would imagine it stuck out in the mind of anyone who witnessed it. Thanks.
Senior Investigative Counsel
New York County District Attorney's Office
One Hogan Place, OCU
New York, NY 10013
For those of you who need to jog your memories, here's the story the
Times ran about that particular Critical Mass:
PREPARING FOR THE CONVENTION: PROTESTERS; 100 Cyclists Are Arrested As
Thousands Ride in Protest
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD; COLIN MOYNIHAN, WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM AND JUDY
TONG CONTRIBUTED REPORTING FOR THIS ARTICLE. (NYT) 1256 words
Published: August 28, 2004
Thousands of cyclists rode through the streets of Manhattan last night
in an anti-Republican, pro-environment display of bike power that ended
in more than 100 arrests by the police after the ride blocked some
Despite tension over police warnings to obey traffic laws against
blocking traffic and running red lights, the cyclists -- numbering
5,000, the police say -- did just that in a meandering course that
started at Union Square and wound its way to the West Side, Central
Park, Midtown and the East Village.
As of 11 p.m., Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, said that officers
were still processing people who were detained, but that he expected
more than 100 people to face charges, mainly for disorderly conduct.
The arrests, two days before the convention starts, seemed to herald a
busy period for the police, who must patrol a stream of demonstrations
large and small, several each day. The police on Thursday made
22-convention related arrests, more than three times the number during
the entire Democratic National Convention in Boston.
The police apprehended riders in several spots, including more than 50
on Seventh Avenue at 36th Street near Madison Square Garden, where the
Republican National Convention will be next week. Riders had chanted
''No more Bush'' as they passed, and participants in the ride, a
monthly fixture for several years, said that many more people than
usual took part, out of animosity toward the convention.
The two-hour ride began about 7:15 p.m. in Union Square with a
cacophony of bells, whistles, hooting and howling, and the police
seemed to tolerate it.
An hour and a half into the ride, the police patience appeared to grow
thin, as helmeted officers dragged netting across Seventh Avenue and
14th Street to block the ride.
Hundred of cyclists at first gathered by the net and then most turned
west on 14th Street and south on Greenwich Street and kept riding
toward the East Village.
As the ride backed up, the police arrested dozens of people on Seventh
Avenue near the Garden on charges of blocking streets, saying some
riders had stopped traffic on side streets to let the larger mass
More arrests took place at the end of the ride in the East Village,
including along Second Avenue outside St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery Church,
where cyclists gathered for a celebration of the ride and shouted abuse
at the police who were arresting their companions.
''Ninety-five percent of the ride was beautiful,'' said Bill DiPaola,
executive director of Time's Up!, an environmental group that
participates in and promotes the monthly ride. ''People were cheering
us on the streets, but at the end it was difficult to funnel people off
and it was very clear the police were upset at how well the ride
The ride is known as a Critical Mass, a bike ride that claims no
organizers and simply materializes, thanks to leaflets and Internet
messages, on the last Friday of every month. The rides have been held
in New York for the last several years, and are usually tolerated by
the police, who in the past have cited only a few riders for traffic
violations and have sometimes even escorted the group.
The rides are meant to protest cars and their pollution, but the ride
last night was advertised as the R.N.C. Critical Mass, and scores of
riders wore clothes or carried signs with messages against the
convention and President Bush. Others wore fanciful attire, like a
woman who rode in a peach wedding dress. One woman pushed her friend in
a shopping cart.
Abby Lublin, a 28-year-old schoolteacher from Brooklyn, decorated her
bike with a bust of Mr. Bush, hanging by a rope and attached to a milk
Dick Camacho, a photographer, wore a rainbow cape with the message,
''We the people say no to the Bush agenda.'' But like most riders, he
emphasized the desire to send a message to motorists.
''Its a rush to see bikes take over the streets,'' he said.
Before the ride began, police officers distributed fliers outlining
traffic laws related to biking, and a commander had sent a letter this
week to a leading bicycling advocacy group expressing concern about the
growing size of the ride and increasing violations of traffic laws.
Several police officers trailed riders in the front of the pack, which
broke up into at least three masses shortly after the ride began. .
Bicycles could form a pivotal part of the coming protests.
Apart from the ride last night, Time's Up! has called for a Bike Bloc
tomorrow in solidarity with the large Midtown antiwar march organized
by United for Peace and Justice. The group suggests riders meet at
Union Square before the march for details.
The group also plans to ride around ground zero tonight during Ring
Out the Republicans, a protest expected to draw people ringing bells,
and on Tuesday, a day expected to be devoted to civil disobedience.
Time's Up! has also prepared several bikes to be used by ''street
medics,'' legal observers and food servers during convention protests.
''The main thing we are pushing is that bikes need to be thought of as
an integral part of how people get around,'' said Brandon Neubauer, an
organizer with the group. ''We are just trying to raise awareness in
the city that bikes need to be looked at and respected.''
In the past few weeks the group has been operating a makeshift
workshop in a storefront at 49 East Houston Street, strewn with bicycle
parts, fast-food containers, anti-convention posters and leaflets and
T-shirts with messages like ''One Less Car.''
Mr. Neubauer said he did not believe bicycles block traffic, ''because
we are traffic.''
''We are reclaiming public space,'' he said.
The Police Department warned yesterday that it was illegal to ride in
a procession on public streets without a permit, or to ride outside of
designated bike lanes.
Earlier in the week, Michael Scagnelli, chief of transportation at the
department, sent a letter to Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy
group promoting bicycling, walking and public transit, warning that the
police would not tolerate lawbreaking.
But organizers of the rides said that most people were law-abiding,
and suggested that the police chose to crack down because the ride last
night was expected to be larger than usual.
Critical Mass rides began 12 years ago in San Francisco and have since
spread to more than 300 cities around the world, organizers say. Rides
have been organized for the last eight years in New York, and only
occasionally have riders received tickets, participants said.
''Most of the time the police accommodate us,'' Mr. DiPaola said.
Paul Steely White, of Transportation Alternatives, said he believed
the growing size of the rides had aroused police concern because of the
''We saw it coming as the rides have been growing,'' Mr. White said,
adding that he found it paradoxical that any crackdown on riders would
come at a time when the city's Transportation Department has advised
people to use bikes as an alternative because of the heavy traffic
expected near convention sites.
Photos: Bicyclists protesting next week's Republican National
Convention headed north on the Avenue of the Americas at 10th Street
last night.; Some of the cyclists were arrested on Seventh Avenue at
13th Street. (Photographs by Michael Kamber for The New York Times)(pg.