New York City’s cycling community expected Patrick Pogan to receive a harsher sentencing during a New York State Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, July 14 for his role a critical mass ride altercation.
Cycling activists believe that Judge Maxwell Wiley’s decision to not punish the former officer for pushing a cyclist off his bike during a Critical Mass protest and falsifying records is seen as a green light for the NYPD to continue harassing bike riders.
Barbara Ross is a longtime participant of the Critical Mass protest rides and a volunteer of Time's Up! The environmental group promotes the Critical Mass demonstration that was held in Time Square the night Pogan shoved cyclist Christopher Long off his bike.
“While we weren't expecting jail time, the Judge giving him a sentence lighter than even requested by the defense attorney was another signal to the NYPD from the judicial system that it's okay to continue their harassment campaign on cyclists that has been going on for over 10 years,” Ross said.
“The prosecution of Patrick Pogan didn't cause anything to change for the Critical Mass participants and we didn't expect any sentence to have any significance,” she added. “Mr. Pogan has been held accountable for his behavior; he lost his job. Until the higher-ups at NYPD are held accountable for fostering an environment of harassment and intimidation of cyclists in NYC nothing will change.”
The incident between Pogan and Long took place at a Critical Mass cycling demonstration held on July 25 of 2008 in New York City’s Time Square. Pogan claimed that Long steered into him with his bike and knocked him down.
However a video taken by a Florida tourist surfaced on YouTube showing Pogan pushing Long off his bike. Long, who was charged assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest at the time, received a $65,000 settlement from the city.
Pogan was later charged with assault and harassment along with filing false police records. He was a rookie officer at the time and resigned from his position last year.
After a two-year battle, jurors acquitted Pogan of harassment charges in April. On Wednesday, he walked away from his second sentencing with no punishment for lying about the incident, despite the defense lawyer requesting probation and community service.