Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cop Lies, The spirit of Critical Mass Dies.

Cops Lie? What? I know its hard to believe that our fine men and woman in blue would do such a despicable thing...but its true...come on, we all watch SVU, the wire, CSI New York. Its part of police work, part of getting the "bad guy."

We've speculated on what motivated 22 year old officer Patrick Pogan to pull out a defensive move from his high school football play book that sent cyclist Christopher Long crashing to the sidewalk. All kidding aside, this third generation cop did what he did because he didn't think anyone would catch it on video tape, and even if they did, he could always lie about it.

How do we know this? Besides, my own experiences at dozens of protests across the country and tireless hours of scrambling to get video footage to the press to prove the point, its happened again on this current case from a youtube video which now has over 1 million views.

Back in 2005, Jim Dwyer of the New York Times did a story on how police lied about RNC demonstrator Dennis Kayne, being so erratic that it took 4 officers to haul him away. Video footage turned up a different story, showing Dennis, agitated but clearly walking away on his own.

Its a common story, and again Times Reporter Jim Dwyer had an article in yesterday's times about how low cost video cameras are telling a different story than the police.

Without this video footage, taken by a random tourist in Time's Sqaure and without 1 million views of it on youtube...the assumption is the police would be sticking to their story that Christopher Long was weaving in and out of traffic, endangering pedestrians and eventually knocked into the officer, sending him to the ground. The video shows a different story.

I witness video, an organization set up to monitor police and capture video footage of their behavior has been following this story on their blog.


Here is a link to the NYTimes blog explaining how the video tape of the Time's Square incident was acquired. From cityroom

The bigger picture here are the lies the police continue to spin about the critical mass ride itself.

1) that is is violent with the sole purpose of blocking traffic.
2) that it was fine for 10 years, to the point of the RNC (2004) when it was taken over by anarchists.
3) it has a leader, and Critical Mass is a group of people.

Like the recent tale from the police on last Friday's ride. All Lies.

Time's Up, also wanted me to include this press release about this recent affair:

New York, NY (July 29, 2008) - The body slam of cyclist Christopher Long by an NYPD police officer while Mr. Long was riding his bicycle through Times Square on July 28, 2008 was not an isolated incident. Civil rights activists and cycling advocates have long seen a pattern of excessive force and harassment against cyclists from the highest ranks of the NYPD. The event on July 28, 2008 was the third such example captured on video in Times Square alone.

On March 30, 2007, Richard Vazquez was riding in a Shared Use Lane on Broadway and 43rd Street in the Critical Mass ride. Without clear or reasonable direction, Sgt. Horohoe, violently pushed him off his bicycle to the ground in a dangerous and harmful manner. Among his other injuries, the fall to the ground resulted in a deep gash on Mr. Vazquez's hand. The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) investigation resulted in a finding of 'substantiation' against Sgt. Horohoe for excessive force being used against Richard Vazquez. Mr. Vazquez is represented by Wylie Stecklow, (212) 566-8000.

On February 24, 2006, Adrienne Wheeler, was riding on the Critical Mass as a legal observer for the National Lawyers' Guild. Ms. Wheeler was riding on 43rd Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue when she was grabbed by the bicycle chain around her waist and pushed to the ground by the then-NYPD-Assistant-Chief Bruce Smolka. Ms. Wheeler's civil rights case against The City of New York, Asst. Chief Bruce Smolka and Lt. Caneco arising out of the incident was settled earlier this year for $37,000. She was represented by Jonathan Moore of Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP, (212 ) 277-5850. Assistant Chief Smolka announced his retirement from the NYPD in January, 2007.

"Unfortunately the July 25, 2008 incident is part of a pattern of targeting Critical Mass bike riders. This hostility and selective enforcement of the laws needs to stop immediately. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly need to provide the necessary leadership to confront and resolve this issue." states Civil Rights attorney, Norman Siegel.

more links, video and pictures here.