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Cyclist speaks, countering officer’s spin on slam

Old 09-19-08, 08:41 AM
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Cyclist speaks, countering officer’s spin on slam

https://thevillager.com/villager_281/cyclistspeaks.html

Cyclist speaks, countering officer’s spin on slam

By Jefferson Siegel

A firestorm of protest erupted after a disturbing incident during the July Critical Mass bike ride, when a police officer, seemingly unprovoked, tackled a cyclist right off of his bike. A damning video of the event cost the officer his badge and gun and, advocates say, cast a harsh spotlight on police accountability.

Near the end of the ride, cyclist Christopher Long, 29, was arrested by rookie Police Officer Patrick Pogan in Times Square. In a sworn statement, Pogan said Long had deliberately aimed his bike at him and caused Pogan to fall. Long was charged with attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

As Long sat in jail for 27 hours, members of the environmental advocacy group Time’s Up! and the Glass Bead Video Collective tracked down a home video of the incident. The video contradicted the claims Pogan made in his arrest report. The tape showed Pogan walking toward Long and intentionally knocking him off his bike, while Pogan remained on his feet.

The videographers posted the 30-second tape on YouTube and within a day it was the lead story on local TV news and in newspapers. After seeing the tape, Mayor Bloomberg said of the officer’s actions, “It looked to me to be totally over the top.” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly echoed, “I have no understanding as to why that would happen.”

On Sept. 5, prosecutors dropped the charges against Long.

On Sept. 8, Long gave his first interview on the incident.

VILLAGER: First and foremost, how are you — physically, emotionally?

LONG: In the incident, we documented bruising and abrasions and things of that nature. I had an injury that was irritated by the incident, but I wasn’t really hurt all that much, fortunately.

Emotionally I’m O.K. Things are progressing. I’m happy that the charges are dropped, obviously. I’m really upset with the blatant police brutality, harassment, chilling of First Amendment rights and freedom of assembly. I’m also upset with the lies of the Police Department. They really feel confident to just lie in sworn statements. That’s extremely troubling. You have to ask: How many other police reports have been boldfaced lies? I’m certainly angry.

VILLAGER: What happened before Pogan hit you? According to his sworn statement, you were weaving in traffic, forcing multiple vehicles to stop abruptly or change their direction. Do you think he targeted you specifically?

LONG: There were really no motor vehicles in the street at that time. As I crossed 47th St. and proceeded down the avenue, I could see the police officers milling about in the street. He made eye contact with me and I could see that he was going to target me.

What was I doing? I was riding my bicycle, I was just going down the avenue, both hands on the handlebars. I think that he targeted me because I was one of the last riders and he was losing his opportunity to arrest somebody. It wasn’t anything personal. It wasn’t anything so premeditated, other than the 30 to 90 seconds of “I’m losing my opportunity; I’ve got to pick one.” He picked me.

VILLAGER: One witness on the ride said you were holding your arms high and laughing and cheering.

LONG: That was on Eighth Ave. That was long before I was in any eyesight of Pogan.

VILLAGER: You weren’t doing anything that would particularly call attention to you?

LONG: At that point, being in the back of the pack, they were getting away from me. I’m sure that I was trying to stay with the ride. I remember, specifically, having both hands on the bars.

VILLAGER: Did you say anything out loud?

LONG: No.

VILLAGER: After he brought you down, he claims you said, “You are pawns in the game. I’m gonna have your job.”

LONG: When he was making the arrest, I told him, “You’re assaulting me, I’m gonna have your badge.” When they put me in the van and we were on the way to the precinct is when I told him that he’s a pawn in their game.
After he knocked me off the bike, he stood over me with his thumbs in his belt loop and he looked down at me and said, “Did you think you were going to go right through me? Do you wanna try that again?” I think it was pretty much random.

VILLAGER: How do you feel about the police now?

LONG: It’s not really personal. He [Pogan], unfortunately, is going to be a scapegoat in this situation because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If he had a little more insight and more wisdom, he wouldn’t have done what he did. I think that the department really helped him do what he did, because he felt safe to act that way. That’s the department, culturally. The department set him up for failure. He committed a crime, he assaulted me. He didn’t do that by himself.

VILLAGER: How did you feel when you learned there was a video exonerating you?

LONG: There’s nothing like seeing that video. That video is amazing and I have a lot of people to thank for their hard work in making sure that video made it to the public eye.

VILLAGER: Have you and your attorney had any discussions about pursuing any legal action against Officer Pogan, the Police Department or both?

LONG: We are going to sue, definitely.

(Long’s attorney, David Rankin, said he would be working with Jonathan Moore of the law firm Beldock, Levine & Hoffman on the lawsuit. “We haven’t filed anything yet but everything is pointing in that direction,” Rankin said. On Sept. 8, Rankin also learned that an unknown individual had filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board against Officer Pogan over the Long incident.)

VILLAGER: Do you think you’ll ever ride in Critical Mass in New York City again?

LONG: Oh yeah, oh yeah. As long as the police come out, we’ll be out. Until the police leave us alone, there’s definitely a reason to ride.

VILLAGER: Would you consider yourself a bicycle activist?

LONG: Things like bicycle activism only happen in New York City. We have 130,000 daily bicycle riders, and yet we still feel like we need bicycle activists? I think bicycles are inherently empowering because they’re inexpensive and they’re a reliable mode of transportation. I would consider myself someone who advocates the use of bicycles.
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Old 09-19-08, 09:55 AM
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Just insane. I'm torn between wanting to see the officer have to payout a fortune and live his life in disgrace or have to pay out a fortune and live out a substantial chunk of his life in jail for assault and perjury convictions.
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Old 09-19-08, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by canonizer View Post
Just insane. I'm torn between wanting to see the officer have to payout a fortune and live his life in disgrace or have to pay out a fortune and live out a substantial chunk of his life in jail for assault and perjury convictions.
I'm pretty sure none of that will happen. The officer will eventually get his badge and gun back. Then the officers union will work with the city to stall the lawsuit so long his lawyers will have to settle for some tiny settlement that the officer won't have to pay for. It happens all the time.
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Old 09-19-08, 12:53 PM
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why aren't public officials outraged? is the police union that strong?
I mean, Most NYPD live outside the five boroughs and can't vote in NYC elections.
maybe times have changed in that the number may have declined but I highly doubt
it with the cost of living in NYC. besides they don't want to live with the scum they patrol.
so going after the officer through civil court is the only way? or will his union protect him of that, too?
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Old 09-19-08, 12:57 PM
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Because he might get sued for an action that was committed while on duty, the union will supply him with legal help. His actions were considered negligent but not criminal. At least not unless he is charged and convicted, which he wont be. However if an officer commits a crime while on duty, extortion, murder etc.. then they are on their own and the union abandons them. Remember the NYPD own the night, and yes they will protect each other way more than they will the public.
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Old 09-19-08, 12:59 PM
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This was one of the more embarrassing non-fatal nypd moments i can remember. There has been public outrage. Both bloomberg and the police commissioner condemned the officer immediately after seeing the video. Personally, since he was a rookie, my guess is he was doing it at the behest or the other officers there on duty, and they should share any responsibility for the actions.

I honestly do not believe, union or no, that this person will be associated with the nypd 6 months from now. Whether he serves jail time is different story.
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Old 09-19-08, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TiberiusBTkirk View Post
why aren't public officials outraged? is the police union that strong?
Yes, the union is very strong. I don't think this got a lot of press -- let's face it, the victim is giving an interview to a small neighborhood paper, not the NY Times or Daily News.

Plus there is a Byzantine system that handles complaints against the police department, so it can be difficult for a citizen to get action.


Originally Posted by TiberiusBTkirk
so going after the officer through civil court is the only way? or will his union protect him of that, too?
I believe the officer is facing assault charges, so that covers the official action(s). It's possible the union will pay for his legal fees in the civil suit, but maybe not. I'm not sure if they usually do that, or if he'd lose that in the event of a conviction.
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Old 09-26-08, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by nycwtorres View Post
However if an officer commits a crime while on duty, extortion, murder etc.. then they are on their own and the union abandons them.
Isn't assault a crime in NY?
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Old 09-26-08, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
Isn't assault a crime in NY?
Only if the DA presses charges. One would think that in this case there was a crime commited. The biker was cleared of all charges. That leaves the cop.

FYI, I keep trying to find out what happened to Officer Patrick Pogan. Does he still have his job? Strange how they just tuck him away and out of the press. I know nothing. If I hear anything I'll be sure to update this thread.
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Old 09-26-08, 04:01 PM
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Ok here's an update that just came in today.
https://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/110657

So far nothing has happened to Officer Patrick Pogan

"The NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney say they're still investigating Officer Patrick Pogan, who remains on desk duty. And the lawyer for Christopher Long says they intend to sue the city for assault and wrongful arrest. The next Critical Mass takes place this evening."
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Old 09-26-08, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nycwtorres View Post
Only if the DA presses charges.
Doesn't NY law allow a private citizen to lay a complaint before a Grand Jury?
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Old 09-27-08, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
Doesn't NY law allow a private citizen to lay a complaint before a Grand Jury?
I don't know the details of the process but yes I'm sure. However, you can't make a monetary settlement on a grand jury argument. So this guy will just sue.
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Old 09-27-08, 11:58 AM
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I'd like to see him win something like 30 million dollars and then offer to forgo the monetary decision if the department eases up, treats CM the same in Manhattan than in Brooklyn, stop harrassment, stop parking in bike lanes, and a few other things.
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Old 09-27-08, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by nycwtorres View Post
I don't know the details of the process but yes I'm sure. However, you can't make a monetary settlement on a grand jury argument. So this guy will just sue.
What do you want? Do you want the guy to go to prison, or do you want cash?

If it were me, I'd want both, but I'd take either one.
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