"Cyclists here already face enough obstacles," said New York City Councilman David Yassky. "Law enforcement shouldn't be one of them."
A New York City police officer has been placed behind a desk after being caught on tape deliberately pushing a man off of his bike during a Friday Critical Mass event in Times Square.
Patrick Pogan, a 22-year-old rookie cop, former football offensive lineman and son of a retired NYPD detective, claimed in court documents that 29-year-old Christopher Long of Bloomfield, New Jersey was "forcing multiple vehicles to stop abruptly or change their direction to avoid hitting the defendant." Pogan also alleged that Long knocked him to the ground after deliberately aiming the bicycle towards him.
Video uploaded to YouTube appears to contradict that claim, showing Pogan moving in front of Long as he attempted to ride past the line of officers, and shoving Long to the ground. The footage, the New York Daily News noted, "clearly shows Long trying to dodge Pogan, who appears to have remained upright the entire time."
"The police officer looked to see who he was going to pick off," said witness 54-year-old Craig Radhuber. "All of a sudden the cop picked this kid out and bodychecked him...I couldn't believe what was going on."
"If it wasn't caught on video people would not have believed it," rider and documentary filmmaker Christopher Ryan added. "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."
Long was charged with attempted assault in the third degree, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. He was held for 26 hours.
"The video speaks for itself," Long's attorney told Gothamist. Norman Siegel, civil rights attorney and former counsel for enviromental activist group TIME'S UP!, added his opinion that the video footage showed "unacceptable illegal behavior by this particular police officer."
"I'm proud of my son," said Patrick Pogan Sr., retired NYPD detective and former Joint Terrorism Task Force member. "He's a good kid."
Video of the Friday incident is embedded below.
The accompanying report was broadcast on WCBS on July 28, 2008: