New York City Critical Mass cop cleared of assault

Former officer still faces up to four years in prison for giving false version of events

by Simon_MacMichael   April 30, 2010  

Gavel

An ex- New York Police Department officer caught on film apparently pushing a cyclist of his bike on a Critical Mass ride has been acquitted of assault.

Patrick Pogan, aged 24, was found guilty of on the count of offering a false instrument of filing, however, after earlier giving a different version of events to those that appeared on video footage, and could face up to four years in prison. It took the jury at Manhattan’s State Supreme Court three days to reach its verdict.

The incident took place in Times Square on a Critical Mass ride in July 2008 and attracted attention after a video was posted to YouTube, attracting more than 2.5 million views, apparently showing Pogan pushing the cyclist, 31-year-old Christopher Long, off his bike.

The bike rider was himself charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and attempted assault, although all those charges were subsequently dropped.

During the trial, Mr Pogan said that the incident had arisen because Mr Long failed to respond to a request to stop, and then looked as though he was about to “use the force of the bicycle” against him, according to a report in The New York Times.

Mr. Long, who had earlier received a settlement of $65,000 from New York City as a result of the incident, was subject to a lengthy cross-examination which focused on his habitual smoking of marijuana – although he told the court that he’d knocked the weed on the head until the trial was resolved – as well as his poor driving record.

That included causing the death of a pedestrian while driving in 2001, the same year in which he was discharged by the army for his drug habit.