DECEMBER 15, 2008, 4:35 PM
Officer Is Indicted in Toppling of Cyclist
By JOHN ELIGON AND SEWELL CHAN
Christopher Long, a cyclist, took part in a Critical Mass ride over the summer. (Photo: John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times)
Updated, 5:13 p.m. | A police officer who was caught knocking a man off his bicycle in Times Square over the summer in a video that was distributed widely on YouTube has been indicted by a grand jury, according to lawyers involved in the case.
The officer, Patrick Pogan, has been instructed to report to State Supreme Court in Manhattan for the unsealing of the indictment, his lawyer, Stuart London, said.
David Rankin, a lawyer for the bicyclist, Christopher Long, said the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, informed him around 3 p.m. that a grand jury had voted to indict Officer Pogan. Mr. London and Mr. Rankin both said they did not know the specific charges, and Mr. Morgenthau’s office declined to comment.
It is believed that prosecutors were seeking felony charges of filing false records in connection with the police report that Officer Pogan filed after arresting Mr. Long. Officer Pogan, who was stripped of his gun and badge in July after the video emerged, also could be charged with a misdemeanor count of assault.
“My client denies any wrongdoing in this matter,” Mr. London said in an interview Monday afternoon. “I would have people withhold judgment until all the evidence comes out about the bicyclist’s actions prior to my client taking action.”
Mr. Long was taking part in a monthly ride, called Critical Mass, that often draws hundreds of riders. In a criminal complaint against Mr. Long, Officer Pogan said that the cyclist rode straight into him. But the video, which was shot by a tourist and posted on YouTube and on the blog Gothamist.com, showed Officer Pogan lunging toward Mr. Long.
Officer Pogan arrested Mr. Long on charges of attempted assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but the charges against Mr. Long were dropped in September.
The monthly rides have been a source of tension for the police since shortly before the Republican National Convention in 2004, when a large number of officers arrested more than 250 riders on charges that included parading without a permit.