Tuesday, August 02, 2005

July Critical Mass pissed people off

new, originally uploaded by Green Biker.

So this person is mad about Critical Mass and wants people to know:

From: John Huntington
Subject: I Was Almost Arrested At the Critical Mass Ride Tonight

I did the Critical Mass ride tonight, and I narrowly avoided arrest. I
have long been a big supporter of the NYPD, but I was appalled by the
tactics of the police tonight. They are not arresting a bunch of
crazies--they are arresting >anyone< on a bike in the vicinity of one of
these rides, regardless of what they have done. It's clearly a tactic of
intimidation and it is out of control.

I am so pissed that I've just written the letter below to the Mayor and
Police Commissioner.

Normally, I would consider these guys to be pretty radical and advise
taking everything they say with a grain of salt, but it all pretty much
matches what I saw myself tonight:

Please contact the Mayor and the police commissioner via mail or by



Here's the text of the letter I'm sending:
29 July 2005
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
CC: Police Commissioner Kelly
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
In 2002, with your approval ratings low, I wrote simply to compliment
on your excellent work as Mayor. I still have your signed reply to that
letter, and I have continued to be one of your most ardent supporters.
However, that has all changed tonight, because I was almost arrested for
simply riding my bike on a city street. Had I not run away from the
police like a common criminal, I'd be in custody now and my bike would
likely have been confiscated.
I last did a ?Critical Mass? ride about 10 years ago. It was a large and
peaceful event, and the police rode with us and even helped ?cork? side
streets to keep the group flowing smoothly and minimize the ride?s impact
on motorists. It was great to ride in the safety of a large group of
cyclists, since we risk death or serious injury at the hands of motorists
on a daily basis (my cycling route to work passes a memorial for Elizabeth
Padilla, who only a few weeks ago was crushed to death on her bike by a
truck). Since the Critical Mass ride last August, I had heard that
arrests had been made, and that bikes had been confiscated. Seeing your
statements to the public, I assumed that to warrant a reaction that extreme
from the NYPD, those arrested must have really gotten out of hand. But
lately, I have heard troubling things regarding the prosecutions--such as
the police getting caught doctoring evidence--and I wanted to see for
myself what was really happening.
So, I joined the ride tonight, and what I witnessed was simply appalling.
The part of the ride group I could see was very peaceful and followed
every traffic law and any and all police directions to the letter. Then,
suddenly, someone ahead yelled ?turn back, it?s a trap? and I saw police
detaining cyclists a block away. The group turned down a side street,
turned down another avenue, and then a few blocks later at 14th street, I
heard another rider yell ?look out!? No more than fifty feet away, I saw
police on scooters run into the middle of the intersection, and, without
any warning, scream at and tackle cyclists who had not been acting
inappropriately in any way or even violating any traffic laws. In fact,
the police only arrested people as they moved forward when the light turned
green! Only by running away from police officers--something I have never
done in my life--did I avoid arrest. Riding home, I talked to several
other cyclists who were not even on the ride who happened upon those
intersections and narrowly avoided arrest themselves. All of this was even
more shocking since the police were present in large numbers at the
pre-ride rally and I never saw any of them say a word to anyone, dictate
any terms or conditions for the ride, or warn anyone they would get
arrested for simply riding their bikes on the city streets for which their
tax dollars pay. And, these stupid tactics actually served to maximize the
ride?s impact on motorists, since they forced the large group to disperse
over a large area, blocking traffic, and causing maximum disruption to the
I supported you during the Olympic bid; I supported you on the west side
stadium; I supported your efforts to bring the RNC here; I have supported
virtually every action you have taken in your tenure as mayor. But this
preposterous anti cyclist policy has now forever changed my opinion of you.
I am 41, and have never attended a protest in my life. My politics do
not match those of the Critical Mass ride organizers in any way, but I have
sent money to three groups tonight. Two payments went to groups supporting
those falsely arrested, and those suing the city over these shameful
anti-cycling police tactics. The other payment went to your opponent C.
Virginia Fields, who sent a representative to the pre-ride rally and vowed
to abolish these ridiculous police tactics. Until tonight, I would never
have even considered supporting Ms. Fields. I voted for you last time and
I want to vote for you again in the upcoming election. But I can only do
so in good conscience if you renounce and put an end to these ludicrous,
dangerous, wasteful tactics which harass ordinary citizens and attempt to
intimidate them. The tactics are ineffective--I am so angry now that I
will be sure to do another Critical Mass ride.
Tonight, I lost a tremendous amount of respect for you and faith in our
police force--the finest in the world. This absurd policy is seriously
damaging police/community relations, wasting enormous amounts of tax money,
and is permanently doing damage to the reputation of our city throughout
the world, and not just with radical anarchists. What must tourists think
when they see peaceful cyclists wrestled to the ground by large groups of
helmeted police? What about those, like me, who are just regular people
who love this city and ride bikes? One of the first people to get her
baseless cycling arrest overturned worked for the Wall Street
Journal--hardy some anti-globalization radical.

You should proceed with this stupid policy only at the risk of losing
election. It is alienating one of your core constituencies: people like me
and the 50 or so other voters to whom I am forwarding copies of this
John Huntington

Ok...So if you were arrested during RNC and want to be part of a class action lawsuit here's how:

August 2, 2005

Dear RNC Arrestees:

If you think your constitutional rights were violated when you were arrested during the Republican National Convention last summer, and you want bring your own individual lawsuit for money damages, and do not have a lawyer, may we offer you the following information.

If you have questions about your rights or your potential claims you should contact a lawyer. If you need help in locating an attorney, you can contact one of the Guild attorneys listed below. We recommend that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible as there are filing deadlines to be met to preserve some of your potential claims

As you may know, a class action lawsuit seeking to represent all RNC arrestees has already been filed in federal court, alleging three classes of claimants who were:
1) unlawfully arrested;
2) detained for an unlawfully long period of time; and
3) subjected to inappropriate detention conditions, especially at Pier 57.

However, the federal court must first “certify” each of the three proposed classes, i.e., that each alleged class meets lawful criteria to be a class claim. If the court certifies a class and you meet the definition of that class, you may eventually recover money damages as a member of that class. However, if the court does not certify a class, there will be no recovery.

For example, if the court does not certify as a class all of those claimants unlawfully arrested, then the class action lawsuit will not be able to seek money damages for unlawful arrests. Thus, you would have to file a timely individual lawsuit to seek damages for your unlawful arrest.

Also, the federal court may not decide which class claims to certify until after some deadlines for state claims have passed.

For more information regarding the class action lawsuit, contact the law office of Moore & Goodman at (212) 353-9587 or email to jbadalu@gis.net.

Attached are two tables. Table 1 is a list of attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild who are presently representing RNC arrestees in individual lawsuits arising from various RNC arrest locations. They are available for consultation regarding possible representation in a civil suit. Table 2 identifies the locations of arrests for which these attorneys are currently representing, or are prepared to represent, RNC arrestees.

If you have any questions regarding individual lawsuits, please contact us as soon as possible.


RNC Mass Defense Project
National Lawyers Guild, NYC Chapter
212-679-6018 Ext. 20


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am mad too!!
I wasn't going to go on the ride last week being that i am pregnant, but after going to the rally and seeing very little police presence i thought it would be peaceful, like the many rides throughout the years that i have done with my teenage daughters, we are all avid bike riders.
I have been a NYC bike rider for many years (over 25) , I dont consider critical mass as a political event, it is about my love of bike riding in my own city and my chosen form of transportation. I do not drive.
Well.... I went on the ride and obeyed all the traffic laws , stopped at all the lights, which was horrible!! it stopped being a united ride about 10 minutes in and small groups of 10 or less were mingled in with traffic.
I was arrested at 14th street after stopping at the light , I saw the cops riding the wrong way into traffic and even though i stopped at the light and even got of my bike i was tackled visciously by a pollice officer in a white shirt, I was cuffed manhandled and taken into custody .
I have never been arrested in my entire life and still cant believe this happened.
What the hell is happening in this city.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous jim palmer said...

CM July

John's letter to the Mayor echoed my sentiments to the T. On every point I too supported the Mayor, and for the life of me cannot fathom the policies of his administration as they pertain to CM.

I have been riding CM since '96; my very first ride was an incredible experience. The pure joy of riding through the city I was born and raised in, amongst a happy group of people is difficult to explain.

Friday night was important to me because I finally had been able to convince my best friend to join in - he had a blast. Thankfully he survived, but friday night was the closest I've come to arrest in my life!

A scooter cop was no further than 20 feet away from me, barreling in head on with an outstretched arm hoping to wrangle me down! As they say "I rode it like I stole it" and managed to get away only by breaking the law for the first time that evening!

It is absurd to think that for 2 hours a month this city can't find a way to support this group and it's peaceful activity.

This won't change until the mayor changes the policy of NYPD. Start writing!!!!

3:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home