Critical Mass bicyclist knocked over by NYPD

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346 Responses to “Critical Mass bicyclist knocked over by NYPD”

  1. hagbard says:

    Devil’s Advocate

    As someone mentioned above, perhaps the cyclist did something earlier, and he evaded other cops, who then called out his description over the radio.

    The fact that the cops use certain terms to justify bad actions doesn’t preclude their correct use, and we don’t have enough information to know which case this is.

    (though I must admit the takedown technique seems pretty likely to cause injury)

  2. Cpt. Tim says:

    “To each and every one who is claiming that the assaulted bike rider MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING to warrant a potentially lethal take down…

    Why wasn’t he charged with that alleged crime?”

    I assume because that the event happened in reality, in which more than one person witnessed the same event as the camera did, for a longer duration and from different angles. Based on that, since he hasn’t been charged i’m going to assume for now that he didn’t actually do anything wrong.

  3. EH says:

    SamF:
    I understand that riding a bike in traffic is difficult and that drivers don’t make it any easier, but committing crimes and unsafe, nearly suicidal acts in the pursuit of their cause is not the way to proceed.

    Suicidal? Why no mention of the homicidal acts of cars? This is the part you gloss over in saying “drivers don’t make it any easier.” Cars are deadly weapons, bikes aren’t. It’s this state of play that inspires Critical Mass: assuming cars are just doing what they do and bikes are crazy and all over the place. The bias here should be apparent.

    It’s not bicyclists’ fault that car drivers are inattentive and entitled, but then why lambaste bicyclists for the same behavior? It just reeks of hypocrisy.

    Jupiter12:
    Kudos to the NYPD for stripping the cop of his gun and badge. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

    This guy is a third-generation officer and just three weeks out of academy. Somehow he emerged from all of that thinking something like this was OK. The circumstances suggest it’s a bigger problem than one bad apple.

  4. AirPillo says:

    For the record, I myself am not not defending the officer per se, merely defending his right to innocence until proven guilty. Police are as entitled to that as anyone else.

    His conduct does appear to be clearly excessive, however he may have merely used a poor course of action to enact an otherwise legitimate detention for a legitimate reason.

    There’s simply not enough info in the video to say that this cop just decided to randomly single someone out and tackle them for shits and giggles.

    Police misconduct is very real and happens often, but it is still the exception, not the rule.

  5. Bob Doles Communist Doppelganger says:

    @197

    Is your comment saying essentially “If you were attacked you must have been doing something wrong” intended to be ironic, or was it unintentional?

  6. The Unusual Suspect says:

    If the victim had been a lone, random cyclist, the outrage would have been off the chart.

    But it seems that Critical Mass has created such a negative view of cyclists that we aren’t all jumping up and down in anti-authoritarian rage at what the video shows.

  7. hagbard says:

    Excuse me DMCK, I should have said Angel’s Advocate.

  8. jahknow says:

    Although a judge ruled in 2006 that the monthly Critical Mass bicycle rides could proceed without a permit, the NYPD’s stance remains somewhat adversarial.

    NYPD have long been known for their very “wide stance.”

  9. catbeller says:

    Lemme wrap this up:

    If a cop attacks you without warning, you’d better have a good reason to explain why he shouldn’t have, or people will smirk and turn away. Prove your innocence.

    Here’s the thing about fascism and police states that people never want to face up to: almost all people LIKE police states. They WANT to see people that don’t conform beaten and jailed. This is a truth that needs to be understood, or the last seven years in the US are incomprehensible. People hate the troublemakers, even if the trouble is in the people’s attitudes towards them, and not the targets’ behavior. They want the pink monkeys beaten and removed. They want today to be just like yesterday, and they want everyone to be just like them. That, and people, deep down, like to see a good show. And, recall Pratchett: the people throwing the stones are so enthusiastic because they aren’t the one’s being stoned. If you’re the kicker, you by definition can’t be the kicked.

  10. Antinous says:

    Calling the police ‘pigs’ – 0 points. A failure of civil discourse.

    Guessing that there musta hadda oughta been some crime committed off camera in order to blame the victim – 0 IQ points. How many District Attorneys are in this comment thread?

  11. Xopher says:

    One thing is now clear: the victim’s name is Christopher Long. He is not The Vasquez.

  12. jakze says:

    Ok, seriously. @69: Some cyclists are jerks. Some (like myself) are law abiding and stop at red lights and stay off the sidewalk. Consider the possibility that you only NOTICE the jackasses, and when cyclists are being nice and pleasant people, they just don’t stick out to you.

    To say that you have no patience with calls to make it safer for bikers to be on the road is adversarial and frankly really cruel. Just because you’ve encountered some cyclists that run red lights, you don’t give a crap if it’s unsafe for other cyclists to legally share the road?

  13. dbarak says:

    I find it impossible to believe that a group of cyclists would just randomly choose *your* car to surround and threaten, without your having done *something* to make them angry–flipping them off, shouting at them, pulling out into the middle of a group of cyclists, or something… Sorry, your story’s just not believeable as told.

    In my case, I made a point of safely going around the mass of bikes, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for the first two that started on me.

  14. mgfarrelly says:

    The adversarial stance some motorists and cyclists take towards each other is completely counter-productive.

    Here in Chicago we have bike lanes on many streets, a very pro-cycling mayor and a very active and supportive cycling community.

    All I’ve seen CM do around here is practice corking and generally announce themselves in the most confrontational way possible. I’ve seen screaming matches with drivers, seen a real lack of respect for pedestrians and a generally pretty rude attitude with the CM crowd.

    I’d rather convey that riding your bike is a fun healthy and cheap way to get around town without alienating motorists. Events like like “Bike the Drive” (where the run of Lake Shore Drive is shut to motor traffic for several hours) and Midnight Rides do just that. I want people to join the fun, not get in a fight.

  15. LeopardPrintHussy says:

    @Johnny One Spur

    Are you frakking serious?

    Have you ever seen CM in Seattle?

    It wasn’t just me. It was the car beside me who also had the misfortune at being at the front of the line at the intersection when they “corked” it.

    Countless people in Seattle have experienced it, from pedestrians to cars caught in a corking maneuver.

    Yep, they ran the light after the car in front of me got through, and the mob just came in. Their aggression here is legendary, but, speaking of blame the victim, you go right ahead. You’re still completely off base here.

    Read the Slog at Seattle’s strangers. People talking about being on city busses and being completely encircled by the hordes and they even flip off the bus drivers.

    I love the internet. Everybody’s an expert.

  16. Ceronomus says:

    #292 – “It’s not bicyclists’ fault that car drivers are inattentive and entitled, but then why lambaste bicyclists for the same behavior? It just reeks of hypocrisy.”

    Oh yes, two wrongs make a right. Yes, drivers these days are idiots who have seem to have forgotten how dangerous motor vehicles are. If I could, I would strip the licenses and imprison every idiot who is say… TEXTING while driving.

    That said, the actions of these idiots doesn’t make the actions of the cyclists any more correct AND being on a bicycle traveling in traffic means you DO need to be careful. You can either watch for the idiots or be one.

    If you choose to be an idiot, whether driving a car or riding a bike, you have no place on teh roads.

  17. desiredusername says:

    As I understand it there is also a lot of anger from motorists at motorcyclists too. I’ve seen the same anger directed to them on bb’s too.

    In fact, anecdotally I’d say close to 50% of my friends, usually the quieter ones, get some form of road rage while driving, usually just by acting out verbally and with hand gestures. If I see that from my sweet sweet innocent friends then what about anger management guys who get angry when being calmed? That get angry at women and babies, and small animals that hinder their mighty plans?

    Something about having your melon head exposed and out in the world gives you a little more humility about the road rage. You don’t have this armchair gallantry outside. Maybe for cyclists it only comes out on a CM; I’ve never been.

    Still I usually bicycle. I don’t have health insurance and I go to work everyday wondering if this is going to be the day I get hurt physically and financially. I try to move quickly until I am panting heavily those angry motorists clipping me from behind. I give room for the cars behind me that are eager to turn right on red even though I don’t have to, hoping there will be one fewer cycle haters on the road by acting courteous. For self-defense I also expect that at any given time someone is going to be an asshole that doesn’t realize how unfairly we would be matched in a pissing contest against each other. I also watch for any sign of carelessness from people sitting in their cars waiting to open the door, people diving across the road in their cars for parking places, making sudden u-turns towards me without turn signals, hugging the curves when turning a street or otherwise “not seeing” me in intersections in which the probably forgot to use turn signals, and for cyclists ahead of me that may be laid to waste by the same dangers and bring me down with them suddenly. Skateboarders that could lose their board, taxis that make sudden stops in front of you, people who charge out of an alley and wait only a couple of feet from traffic for a chance to enter traffic, buses pinching you in to the parked cars, huge potholes forcing me to swerve around putting myself further out into the street where cars are frantically trying to change lanes before, god forbid, they miss a turn and their spirit dies when they have to circle the block back around for a freeway entrance.

    It’s a jungle out there but it is also so nice to have such a low carbon footprint, and to get that much healthy exercise for my heart, getting sexier bodies, feasting on those endorphines every single day. I can’t give it up. Not until I am bankrupt and handicapped, at least.

  18. Toddtyrtle says:

    A rather creepy counterpoint to this can be found over here: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/28/amazing-auditory-ill.html where a number of cops are also discussing this incident with a rather, shall we say, different attitude.

  19. Dayv says:

    “I’ll sing you a song and it won’t take long: all coppers are bastards.”

    – Michael Moorcock, Mother London

  20. AirPillo says:

    #253, Teresa (is first name okay? the full username is a lot to type)

    You know, as carefully as you’ve explained and analyzed that, I have to say I completely agree with you now. That analysis of the scenario makes perfect sense and you made several quite good points. Considering these points, I’m going to have to say I agree that it’s very unlikely they were targeting this person as a suspected criminal.

    I do however have to say I still disagree with Antinous’ choice of arguments. It’s obvious that many of them are dancing on the border of ad hominem, which is something that is rightfully frowned upon.

  21. Moon says:

    @149 Grim Beefer,

    You need think through this again and maybe re-post.

    1. This is aggression on the part of the bicyclists for what purpose? I thought they were trying to show how we should all ride bikes, not how big of jerks they are.

    2. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. It doesn’t matter about your “momentum” – you are supposed to be under control of your bike and able to stop at all times.

    3. This isn’t about “traffic”. This is about obeying traffic SIGNALS.

    4. Maybe. I thought that, too. If she ran over somebody, and that’s a big if, since the guy rode off without saying anything or pressing charges, she should be charged and prosecuted.

    Two problems with the CM response, though. One, acting like bunch of children and hitting a car driven by a woman with kids in the car? Bad PR, if not shameful. Two, what are the odds she’s going to accidentally hit someone when many bikes swarm her car? If the CMers were riding safely, there wouldn’t have been a problem, is my guess.

  22. Boba Fett Diop says:

    I think part of the issue is that a number of people seem to misunderstand the nature of Critical Mass. There is no Critical Mass organization. There is no central committee. Critical Mass is a group of cyclists , some of whom know each other and some of whom don’t, who get together at a set place and time every month to ride bikes en masse (so to speak).

    Part of the reason for the way CM is currently organized is that in past incarnations in several cities, when CM did attempt to organize and seek out parade/demonstration permits, they were routinely refused. By not having a formal organization, CM is really just a group of people riding together. Routes are decided on an ad hoc basis, and behavior tends to be regulated by the group. Yes, we do cork and ride through red lights, and yes, that is breaking the law. However, as TNH very succinctly put it, this the one day a month that drivers have to notice us.

    Like any mixed group of people (including drivers), it includes a wide range of personalities, and some of them are jerks. However, given that the group itself is mostly self-regulating, there are many other people on the rides who not only behave in a civilized manner, but call out those who do not (for those of you who feel that any large group of cyclists tying up traffic for an hour or two one day a month constitutes uncivilized behavior, we will probably never see eye to eye, but drive safely!).
    I have ridden in CM in both Chicago and Toronto, and for every angry driver, I usually see ten others smiling and waving, and patiently waiting for us to pass.

    There was an incident on last Friday’s ride in Toronto that was very similar to the one in Seattle. A driver didn’t feel like waiting and decided to bump one of the corkers with his vehicle. They were then surrounded by a number of riders and loudly mocked. This lasted until most of the pack had passed, at which point other riders called for the group to continue. The driver and his passenger were left relatively unmolested. While CM may be an annoyance, I do not think that it justifies vehicular assault. At the same time, given the routine harassment I face as a law abiding cyclist in the city, not to mention the outright dangerous behavior on the part of drivers, I think a monthly disruption of business as usual on our roads is somewhat justified. If that makes anyone want to assault me, with their car or otherwise, they should seriously re-think their priorities.

    Ride safe, take the lane, share the road and do stay off the sidewalks.

  23. Nephlabobo says:

    Crap like this is exactly the sort of stuff that discourages me from *ever* making a visit to the U.S. in my life.

    I don’t know whether I’m more disgusted by the cops or the people defending them.

  24. hagbard says:

    There’s a big debate here about whether we know enough to judge the cop involved.

    I’m more troubled by the number of people who are saying “It’s OK that X got harmed (or X should get punished) because X belongs to a group I don’t like (optional: because someone in X’s group did something I didn’t like).”

    where X = cop
    or X = Critical Mass member
    or X = bicyclist
    or X = automobile driver

    etc

    This is happening because of the Delgonian Overlords’ evil hallucination powers. Where is a Lensman when you need one?

  25. jjankechu says:

    OK DBarak, we get it. You’re a shining paragon of civility that had your car pounded on by a few CM riders. On the behalf of anyone everywhere who has ever ridden a bike before, I apologize.

    And no, it’s not up to *only* the cyclist. You don’t think that you have MORE responsibility as the one who has the ability to kill or maim a neighbor? Please, sell your car and ride a bike instead; you don’t need a license for that.

    #304: I find it hard to believe that CM’ers wouldn’t get out of the way of an ambulance.

    ===
    NYC Bike harassment anecdote: my wife and friend were ticketed for riding on the sidewalk…by a truck throughfare in an industrial zone with 0 pedestrians in sight. And knowing my wife, she probably wasn’t riding any faster than you might jog. The most annoying part — you can’t just pay the ticket like a vehicular offense; you have to take a day off to go to court.

    Yeah, technically they were in the wrong, but each and every one of us breaks the law in some manner. It’s unnerving that police can use that to selectively harass you.

    (FYI, my wife and friend are a consultant and a lawyer, respectively, with no ink or shit in their faces. I hate to think what else happens around NYC.)

  26. Takuan says:

    we need to examine the NYPD’s record to make a judgment here;
    http://blackstarnews.com/?c=135&a=4724

  27. zeta says:

    O.k., now I am convinced. The cop had to have some reason to attack the cyclist, otherwise he wouldn’t have reacted the way he did. After all, the USA is a very bicycle-friendly country and unprovoked aggressions against cyclists – verbal or physical – happens almost never , as this discussion here clearly shows. On second thought: I don’t really see a dutch policeman reacting in the same way. Of course, they are not the defenders of liberty and democracy as their american counterparts.

  28. chiefted says:

    Two things.

    One we don’t know what the cyclist did before hand (and he may have been someone that the cops were looking for and happened to see him riding along).

    Two: Its Critical Mass. These folks don’t have a good reputation anywhere, in any city. Anything to knock them down a notch is fine by me.

    And before any holier than though folks get on my case, I pretty much walk every where in San Francisco and I have been attacked, “corked” and other things while I have been walking to the train station. The most recent incident involved 10 cyclist going through a red light and nearly running down not only me but several other pedestrians.

    Its time these rides are stopped for good.

  29. Merc says:

    One thing is absolutely clear from watching this video: the cop pushes this guy off his bike in a surprise attack without warning.

    It’s clearly not an accidental collision. If you look at the way the cop’s feet are planted and how he’s pushing with his whole body that’s obvious (58s in s a good place to watch). His front foot is planted almost exactly under the bike and he throws his whole force into the shove. It’s also obvious because if it had been an accidental collision the cop would have been knocked over, the bike had a lot more momentum, but it’s the biker who goes flying and the cop who stays on his feet. The cyclist also was driving the exact same way as everyone before him, clearly steering around the cop, giving him as wide a berth as possible given the location of the curb and the number of people on it.

    It’s also clearly not a traffic stop. I’ve been stopped by a cop while biking and they do the obvious thing, they stand with their hand extended in the “stop” gesture and order you to pull over:

    http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/827/35092643.JPG

    They step into your path as well, but more so you see them, and not like this. This cop didn’t yell stop, and he didn’t have a hand up to order the biker to stop. Instead he had his hands at his waist right up until he suddenly brought them up to shove the biker to the sidewalk.

    I can’t imagine any scenario that would justify a surprise attack like this. Even if this guy had been witnessed running someone down earlier and escaping from the scene, you at least need to warn him to stop.

  30. rageahol says:

    dbarak: see my comment #162

    when drivers get impatient because you’ve come to a complete stop at a light or stop sign, and are unable to get up to speed quickly enough for their pleasure, they stomp on the gas and go around you.

    sometimes in the intersection.

    nearly always unsafely.

    very often without giving you (the biker) very much space in passing.

    all of these are a greater danger to a cyclist’s health and well being than treating the stop sign or light effectively as a yield sign. i.e. not being an asshole and stealing someone’s right of way, but proceeding cautiously as long as theres noone else coming.

    if you were to do the same in a car, however, you would significantly endanger others (you are several feet further back, with reduced visibility, in a car) for the benefit of saving yourself maybe a couple of cents in gas.

    comparable? i think not.

  31. Pipenta says:

    JACOBIAN,

    I have noticed the same thing. Cop/President/Priest/Parent or whatever authority figure does something appalling, and many will refute it most emotionally.

    For every response that seems logical (on either side of the issue) there are two or three that just smack of being driven by uncomfortable emotions.

    People are quite determined, even desperate to protect themselves from painful emotions like fear and shame. Only, of course, they aren’t really keeping the feelings from happening, just frantically squirming below the surface.

    Did you know that the last person a prosecutor in a rape trial wants on the jury is a woman, especially a woman the same age etc… as the victim. Because they are much less likely to go for a guilty verdict. Because if the victim really had a crime happen to her, then the world is not a safe place.

    Sometimes it is difficult to determine the emotional tone of posts on sites like this one. But sometimes the fear is palpable under a vivid but thin veneer of anger. And pointing this out gets a yet a greater anger response from those most frightened. Because you are not only daring to expose the fact that the world might just be a dangerous place, you are also laying bare the personal emotional defense mechanisms.

  32. hagbard says:

    Antinous @75

    I think the “there’s more to the story” position is more nuanced than that. Maybe there’s a reason for what the cop did that’s out of the frame, AND that reason is a bad reason. (if, you’re addressing me, which I’m not sure if you are).

    • Antinous says:

      hagbard,

      Every time that there’s a post where someone is hassled, assaulted or even killed by police or security personnel, there’s a stream of comments announcing that he was probably acting like a jackass and had it coming. Every time. Every motherfucking time. Defending the attacker is a basic human psychological quirk. Pipenta’s comment gets into one motivation. I would also suggest that it may be a survival trait to side with the (successful) assailant. Not a very pretty thought, is it?

  33. Takuan says:

    perhaps over a period of some years to get a good sample
    http://www.wnbc.com/news/1677767/detail.html

  34. desiredusername says:

    I sick and tired of being bullied by X.

  35. Takuan says:

    how they treat litterbugs for instance
    http://www.oceanbeachpoliceabuse.com/

  36. GregLondon says:

    something folks might want to get for the next ride, a helmet cam:
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/video/980e/

  37. dafoink says:

    this is unacceptable for this police officer to do this. But it is also unacceptable for many of the bikers to act like idiots as well:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008074874_webcriticalmass26m.html

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/04/BAGF7P12RN23.DTL

  38. consideredopinion says:

    re: “#163 posted by Talia , July 28, 2008 2:33 PM
    Everyone knows all bicyclists are babyeating reptillian overlords.”

    Tsktsktsk, some of are decidedly underlords, and don’t knock babyeating until you’ve tried it. ;-)

  39. jjankechu says:

    #317: Word.

    And seriously, I used to be a pretty relaxed guy. I learned early on that the train wouldn’t move any faster no matter how much I wanted it to. But now that I have to drive to work, I get pretty wound up and I haven’t been able to stop it. I can get as aggressive on the road as the next guy, but that’s only with other cars. I make sure to give bikes and motorcycles as much room as they need because I don’t want to hurt anyone.

    Hey fellow motorists…don’t you just HATE those asshole truckers who think they own the road?

  40. Xopher says:

    Antinous, DBarak is justifying himself by the fact that his nearly-identical comment at 142 has (so far) kept its vowels.

  41. dbarak says:

    >>“#319 posted by jjankechu , July 29, 2008 2:42 PM OK DBarak, we get it. You’re a shining paragon of civility that had your car pounded on by a few CM riders. On the behalf of anyone everywhere who has ever ridden a bike before, I apologize.”<<

    You apparently haven't been paying much attention, jjankechu. It wasn't just my truck that was pounded on, but my face too. I was spit on and my sunglasses were ripped from my face (after having been punched) and then they were thrown to the ground where they were stomped on. A second cyclist was pounding on my truck, and a third was smacking my passenger side window with a bike lock and chain, and he or possibly a fourth was kicking my passenger door.

    You didn't do it, so you have nothing to apologize. Now scoot and direct your sarcasm at someone else.

  42. Johne Cook says:

    @ 278 – locomotivebreath1901

    I term these thugists as ‘criminal mass’ for their punk ass it’s-all-about-me-get-outta-my-way tactics, so I can’t blame the cop for his actions.

    At normal frame, the thugist appeared to be aiming right at the cop with no intent on slowing down or changing course to avoid the cop.

    What video are you watching? It would be one thing if the event happened as you described. However, the video I’m looking at from the post clearly shows the policeman was in the center of the street and had to drift all the way over to the curb to knock the rider off his bike. That’s hardly ‘aiming right at the cop.’

    How can we have any kind of substantive debate when the facts themselves are abused in this fashion?

    The Critical Mass event isn’t the story. The story is one man singling another man out for an unprovoked attack. That the attacker wore a badge changes the tenor of the story, and it is good to see that the attacker has been benched while an investigation takes place. In this case, the ‘thugist’ was the cop, not the rider.

  43. Jupiter12 says:

    “This guy is a third-generation officer and just three weeks out of academy. Somehow he emerged from all of that thinking something like this was OK. The circumstances suggest it’s a bigger problem than one bad apple.”

    Actually, the circumstances indicate that he was relieved of his gun and badge. NYPD deserves credit for this. Police departments in other cities may have simply looked the other way.

  44. Cpt. Tim says:

    “O.k., now I am convinced. The cop had to have some reason to attack the cyclist, otherwise he wouldn’t have reacted the way he did. After all, the USA is a very bicycle-friendly country and unprovoked aggressions against cyclists – verbal or physical – happens almost never”

    Haha, boiling down your opponents argument into something they are not actually saying is funny. Therefore you have swayed my opinion!

    wait.. did i just do the same thing?

    • Antinous says:

      Tim,

      i would like to point out that I have disemvowelled several anti-cop comments and also that I don’t even know how to ride a bicycle. None of that changes my opinion about the prevalence of the blame the victim mindset in online discussions.

  45. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Jupiter12:
    I have never seen a Critical Mass even disrupt the activities of emergency personnel in either Chicago or Toronto. As a former emergency responder myself, I would be extremely upset if they did. Typically, when we see lights and hear sirens, we all pull to the side and clear the way for emergency vehicles.

    For those suggesting that we’re comparing ourselves to MK Gandhi, Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, I would never do that. Their struggles were much more important than the rights of bikes vs. cars on our roads. Sometimes I do look to them for inspiration when I am confronted with someone acting in an aggressive manner towards cyclists, but I would never compare myself to them.

    In terms of breaking the law, I feel a little conflicted. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and “an eye for an eye makes everyone blind,” but at the same time the most dangerous situations I’ve been in on the road are when a driver doesn’t even realize I’m there. During Critical Mass, the one thing you can’t say is that drivers don’t notice us.

    Toronto is considered a relatively bike friendly city. Here’s what my last couple of days were like:

    Monday:
    10 miles. Driver pulls from left lane to right lane at intersection without signaling or checking blind spot. (Separate) Driver honks at me for being in right lane (where I am legally obliged to be).

    Sunday:
    42 miles. Driver pulls from left lane to right lane without signaling or checking blind spot, looks with wonderment when I yell at him to pay attention. (Separate) Driver pulls from left lane to right lane without signaling or checking blind spot at intersection. (Separate) Driver runs red light, after accelerating on stale yellow.

    Saturday:
    20 miles. Driver in large pickup (Ford Superduty) pulls across from left lane to right lane to make right turn at intersection, cutting off smaller car in the process. (Separate) Hooted at by two Yahoos in a Honda harassing group of cyclists on Dundas W.

    This excludes the number of times I have seen cars pull ahead of me into the right lane at intersections only to then pull out quickly and get ahead of the cars waiting in the left lane. It also excludes the number of times cabs have passed and pulled ahead of me with less than a foot of space to spare. Both of these things are very common in Toronto.

    So yes, in a many of the Critical Mass events feelings do run a little high.

    Oh, and Takuan? You forgot the recumbant perverts.

  46. SamF says:

    It sounds like some people may not have read the Critical Mass website before going on a ride:

    CM is intended to be a celebration, not an opportunity to cause trouble. Those who want to try to tie up traffic as much as possible and be confrontational with motorists are missing the point. We can assert our right to the road without being rude about it. Focus on the ride, not on the cars that also happen to be on the road.

    And I agree that the cop would have to have been monumentally stupid (which I’m not entirely ruling out) in order to just go knock some random guy off his bike for no good reason. I think at the end of the day the question will be was that level of force justified or not. Maybe the guy was using the bike ride as an excuse to snatch purses or something. Maybe he hit someone and failed to stop for a previous officer. I could come up with several scenarios where I would say that the cop did exactly the right thing. I’m not saying that he DID do the right thing. Just that there’s not enough information to go saying that this guy’s a bad cop.

    People seem to want to blame cops for a lot of bad things. And unfortunately, when they make it into the news, it is precisely because they’ve done some bad things. But most of the cops I’ve met have been really good people who are genuinely interested in protecting the public. I’m hoping that’s what’s going on in this video, and we’re just getting a poor perception of a basically good guy just doing his job.

  47. hagbard says:

    DESIREDUSERNAME

    You Y types have it coming to you. You have N character, you don’t treat X with proper respect, and you should never be forgiven for what you did to Z on date D.

  48. dbarak says:

    #211 posted by rageahol , July 28, 2008 3:24 PM

    Okay RAGEAHOL, you sold me. ; )

    I actually am a bike-friendly and bike-aware driver (unless it’s an issue of being in my blind spot, but I’m careful about that,too). The last thing I want to do is smear someone into the pavement. I’ve seen it happen, and I was once hit by a car while riding a bike as a kid (no injuries thankfully, but it scared the crap out of me).

  49. dbarak says:

    >>1. “Yes, we do cork and ride through red lights, and yes, that is breaking the law.”

    >>2. “large group of cyclists tying up traffic for an hour or two one day a month constitutes uncivilized behavior”

    >>3. “including drivers)…and some of them are jerks.”

    >>4. “While CM may be an annoyance, I do not think that it justifies vehicular assault.”

    >>5. “I think a monthly disruption of business as usual on our roads is somewhat justified.”

    1. If I were a cop, I would cite you for breaking the law, just like I would cite anyone for breaking the law. (Note: When I was 15, a friend and I were arriving at a local mall. We were straddling our bikes, walking them on the sidewalk to the bike racks, when a cop on a motorized tricycle — couldn’t handle just two wheels I guess — pulled up and gave us tickets for riding on the sidewalk.)

    2. Yes, tying up traffic is uncivilized. Riding responsibly in traffic is not. Treating all drivers as if they’re jerks toward riders is uncivilized. Calling out drivers that are jerks is not.

    3. Yes, some drivers are jerks. Many drivers, in fact.

    4. I agree. And safely going around a group of riders doesn’t justify assault either.

    5. I disagree. It’s not like you’re M. K. Gandhi or Rosa Parks or MLK.

    I dislike self-absorbed motorists as much as I dislike self-absorbed cyclists or self-absorbed “shopping cartists.” Be aware of your surroundings and compromise, and everything will be better.

  50. Takuan says:

    及早遺憾地死亡给大蘋果的豬肉mongering的霸主!

  51. Chris Tucker says:

    Again, the CM rider was charged ONLY in connection with the events we saw on the video,

    Nothing Else. Nada.

    So, do you all REALLY THINK that if he “did something else” he wouldn’t have been charged with that offense as well?

    Kiss the shiny, shiny (cop) boots of leather as much as you want. You just make it easier for them to kick you in the teeth.

  52. apenzott says:

    It appears that Officer Patrick Pogan has a bigger problem explaining his perjury in his police report to internal affairs and to the judge.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0729081bike1.html
    (Patrick’s police report reproduced here.)

  53. Bob Doles Communist Doppelganger says:

    Jakze @76

    Personally, I notice (and am pleasantly surprised) when I see a cyclist being polite, obeying the law, etc. In my experience, it’s definitely the exception, not the rule.

    Though that might be due to the fact that I live in suburbia, and the cyclists around here are mostly the same self-absorbed yuppie jerks who’d run over a nun in their Escalade if they thought it would shave five minutes off their commute.

    That said, unless this guy was some sort of dangerous fleeing criminal, the cop didn’t need to be knocking him off his bike.

  54. Little John says:

    Toddtyrtle @#342:

    Perhaps you meant to provide a different URL?

  55. Chevan says:

    >Someone needs to locate this cop and sue him and the local precinct until he’s bankrupt and ruined.

    That’s absolutely ridiculous.

    It sucks that this happened. I wish we knew WHY it happened, but we don’t. Still, advocating the ruination of the life of the officer and of officers who had nothing to do with the incident is so far out of proportion to the incident that it borders on lunacy.

    There should be recriminations, but unnecessary lawsuits are the cancer killing society. The officer should take some time off, maybe even be dismissed if this really was unprovoked. Money should change hands to cover medical expenses. That’s all.

  56. EH says:

    So then, for both sides of this issue, what is the level of offense that would justify an officer knocking a cyclist down like that? When balancing offenses and societal good, keep in mind that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.

    In other news, police in Ozark, Mo Tasered a kid 19 times as he lay injured with a broken back and heel:

    http://www.ky3.com/home/video/25829234.html

  57. Takuan says:

    why? because they can.

  58. Takuan says:

    I was trying to maintain a little tone, trying to avoid the truly sordid.

  59. fnc says:

    If it weren’t for the lack of context this wouldn’t have been nearly as newsworthy. (My apologies Mr. Adams.)

    Can’t they get some stop strips for bicycles? That would be cool.

  60. Sean Grimm says:

    CNN has a one minute video coverage of this incident on their website. I assume it just isn’t interesting enough for them to put on their television network.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/07/29/dcl.cop.decks.cyclist.cnn

    The anchor is way too cheery but the angle of the report clearly sides with the cyclist and makes the officers claims look outlandish.

  61. towlemonkey says:

    @82

    Perfect analysis. Even if the guy was being a jackas, even if he was breaking the law, the cop had no reason to assault the cyclist like. The only exception I can imagine is if the cyclist was putting someone’s health in danger. If they cyclist was breaking the law, the cop should have handled the situation in the proper way. And since he was specifically assigned to a mass bike ride, I’m sure he’s been trained on the correct way to stop a cyclist. Sneak attack isn’t one of them.

  62. hagbard says:

    Antinous

    I’m with you. The Head Man protects us from the chaos that surrounds us!

  63. nprnncbl says:

    I’m surprised no one has commented about the audio just after the cyclist is struck: laughter. I know it’s a bystander, and not the police, but it’s sad commentary about people’s reaction to violence.

    jbettineski #31:The cop was trying to set an example.

    That’ll learn ‘em! Seriously, though, that’s not the job of the police; what you’re describing is punishment, which is only supposed to be doled out by the courts, after someone’s been found guilty.

    And if they truly had legitimate reasons for stopping this particular cyclist, there were two police officers present who could easily have worked in concert to block his way. But as Merc #34 pointed out, it’s just a cheap shot with no warning.

  64. Grim Beefer says:

    @ #208 Moon

    First off, Critical Mass is about celebrating bike riding. If people want to politicize the event, that’s their prerogative, but it is not a prerequisite.

    When I talk about bikers being aggressive, I mean the disrespectful attitude some bike riders show automobile drivers. While I don’t agree with such behavior, I think it’s committed primarily as a shallow attempt at revenge. I think you see the same bigoted attitude being posted here countless times by people that have a bone to pick with bike riders. I think in both cases it’s important to not generalize specific experiences unfairly. This aggressiveness doesn’t characterize all bike riders, however. Many of us are respectful of automobiles as long we are treated in kind. Bikers are human beings, after all, and like most subsets of people, you will see a range of human behavior.

    On the other hand, I don’t consider stopping traffic, running lights, etc., during Critical Mass as tantamount to being a “jerk”. Do you think that parades, marathons, or processions are “jerks” for shutting down traffic and not heeding traffic signals? We tolerate such actions as long as they are deemed significant enough to override the law, and my argument is that CM qualifies for this significance. You can disagree, but don’t be confused as to what the issue is. I am making the case that CM should be exempt from certain laws; and it is in some cases when police voluntarily block off traffic for the cyclists.

    Overall though, why the hostility towards bikes? You’re the aggressive one, after all, threating to “beat the crap out of them” if they happen to make contact with you while you intentionally interrupt their procession. Look at the speed the CM riders are traveling at in the video (which seems pretty typical). At worst, you might drop your ice cream cone if one of them happened to collide with you.

    A major problem is that bikes are neither vehicles or pedestrians, but a separate category that isn’t properly represented in traffic administration. For example, unlike a car or pedestrian, a biker, commonly, has no way to trigger a traffic light, short of mounting the sidewalk. I’m not advocating hellbent biking with no regard to pedestrians. I do follow most traffic laws when I bike alone, even exceeding them in some cases, as people will often turn right without seeing you coming through, for example. This is for the safety of myself, and the people who may not spot a lone bike coming up the side of the road. Just a few weeks ago I was nearly taken out by a security guard that didn’t see me and pulled out way past a stop sign. I had to bail, and ended up doing a lot of damage to my headset and my skin. It’s a common mistake. However, if you CAN see me and I know that for sure, there is no reason why you shouldn’t let me have the right of way, a la my previous argument. I mean this as an act of common courtesy, akin to holding the door for someone. You can cite law all you want, but I don’t think laws should be obeyed if they’re unjust, inapplicable, incomplete, biased, or worthless.

    As for the rest of you post about some lady driving a car, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you referencing the article?

  65. kip w says:

    When I lived in Georgia, I was riding my bike home one day — at the extreme edge of the road, in the sand and nails and broken glass lane, where bikes are ‘supposed to be’ — and some yahoos in a pickup thought it would be humorous to reach out of the passenger side and give me a nudge while we were both moving. Hyek, hyek.

    By the logic displayed here, I’m justified in hating every motorist and cheering when they suffer for no reason other than being a motorist.

    Needless to say, I don’t, because I don’t buy that brand of logic. It has too many unexplained steps and supernatural entities and massive shoulder chips to work for me.

    Also because I drive, walk, and ride a bike. At different times.

  66. elNico says:

    Wow…270 and counting…at least this matters to people…

    To me it’s amazing how similar this thread is to some Australian news articles that touch on cycling. The hate is really quite frightening.

    When I moved from Germany to Australia I tried to keep my bicycle use at the same level, since home-office distances were pretty much identical…

    Little did I know that I would be transformed in an instant from someone who uses an appropriate form of inner-city transport to an extreme-left traffic hooligan who dares to take up valuable car space.

  67. Piper says:

    I keep reading comments referring to CM as ‘civil disobedience’ , and as that has a right to create massive traffic jams and/or invoke anger, annoyance, or even terror amongst drivers at large to make their point.
    What exactly is their point? Who are they protesting against? How does any of this better the cause of urban cyclists anywhere? It seems to be doing the opposite.
    I too am a cyclist and enjoy some respect from motorists, but I firmly side with those who feel that CM is pure hooliganism in practice. Even if the original intent is a peaceful show of solidarity, it quickly amounts to a high-speed flash mob. It may also lead to a grudge war with angry drivers who are out for blood and looking for that chance to get even for the dent in their left rear quarter panel…

  68. lotek says:

    I’ve been thinking of creating a Critical Feet group to do protest walks in front of the Critical mASS rides. Walking in sidewalk to sidewalk lines with arms linked as slow as we like. Giving those CM dicks a taste of their own. CM doesn’t do anything to raise awareness of anything more than their ability to disrupt the lives of people trying to go about their day.

    Was the cop heavy handed? Yeah, probably.

  69. mdhatter says:

    Just because a handful of cyclists behaved poorly in this incident or that incident doesn’t mean that all cyclists are jackasses – any more than me getting cut off in my own bike lane by some SUV driver means that all drivers are jackasses.

    Though all HUMMER drivers, are in fact jckssss

    (slf dsmvwl)

  70. Takuan says:

    used to ride everywhere, then they made it illegal to unless I wore a silly hat. Since then I’ve not much cared what happened to cycle traffic since it’s no longer part of my life. Everyone ignores the helmet law anyway, but now the cops have unlimited license to hassle whoever they please for it. While ignoring whoever they please for it. Kinda like the old vagrancy laws they used for picking up hippies to torture.

  71. Cpt. Tim says:

    “So then, for both sides of this issue, what is the level of offense that would justify an officer knocking a cyclist down like that?”

    I would say if he was an immediate danger to the people around him. high level felony. he hasn’t been charged so i doubt thats what happened.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Word on the craigslist bike forums is that the guy on the bicycle had just assaulted someone else and that the camraman caught the cops responding to that.

  73. Jack says:

    #219 POSTED BY EH:

    When balancing offenses and societal good, keep in mind that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.

    The vast majority of cyclists in NYC don’t wear helmets. If this cyclist wore a helmet would it actually justify what happened?

    In other news, police in Ozark, Mo Tasered a kid 19 times as he lay injured with a broken back and heel:

    That’s sick, but it’s not the same cop and it’s a prejudiced parallel.

    By that logic you are really treating police with the same level of prejudice that you claim you are fighting.

    Can you rest easy knowing this cop lost his badge and gun and has been placed on desk duty as they investigate what happened? Or would it just be better if they shot him dead in the street without an investigation at all?

  74. The Blow Leprechaun says:

    Jakze #76:

    That’s why I said “it seems like 90%” instead of “everyone.” Maybe I should have just said “most of them.”

    It just drives me crazy when I’m driving down a one way road that actually has a bike lane, and some idiot comes trawling up the wrong way on the other side of the road from said bike lane.

    I’m all for sharing the road – I’ve yet to run down a guy on a bike just because he broke a traffic law (tempting as it has been!). But sharing the road is like sharing anything else – it requires compromise and respect for the other party. And I just don’t see that very often from cyclists.

    Really, I think there just needs to be more education out there for people who want to ride their bike in a city – the few people I know who do it were completely unaware that there are laws about how they use the road.

  75. Jack says:

    Uggh, sorry for the blockquote formatting.

  76. method says:

    Except for the weird momentum argument I agree with grim beefer and rageahol. Motorists need to understand that cars aren’t more entitled to be on the road than bikes. In most cities cyclists are taking a risk just by being on the road and constantly make judgments about how to safely navigate an environment populated by hurtling 1 ton metal machines. Sometimes that means cutting a red light safely, sometimes it means going on the sidewalk. The rules vary by city, but it seems reasonable and polite enough to ride your bike at pedestrian speed on the sidewalk.

  77. ansel says:

    I trust this account of what happened in Seattle more than the P-I’s or the cops quoted therein. How can the driver not be considered an aggressor when he hits at least two cyclists?

    I’m surprised by the amount of misplaced animosity directed at Critical Mass in the comments here and reddit. Critical Mass only exists because the there is little to no safe and independent infrastructure for transportation cyclists in most cities. It’s a much needed direct action against the dominant car culture and its effects, which include ever more roads, traffic jams, thousands of accidents and deaths, carbon emissions, oil dependence, etc.. I think scrutinizing the tactics or tone of a given protest should be secondary to acknowledging the root problems and pressuring the authorities, who across the board are (often unlawfully) hostile to CM in the first place.

  78. dbarak says:

    Well after having my small pickup truck pounded on by three or four riders, and being punched and spit on by one, all I can say is fuck Critical Mass.

    Once they start acting with some decency, my position might change.

  79. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Antinous @120, isn’t offensive language subject to disemvowelling?

    Or do you consider your use of “mthrfckng” to be less offensive than Hassan’s use of “cnt” earlier in this thread?

    (Disclaimer: Self-disemvowelled. And apologies to all if this is thread-hijacking.)

  80. Todd Sieling says:

    > The officer was CLEARLY watching this cyclist ahead of time and moving to intercept him. OF course, the footage doesn’t show what he may have been doing before he approached the officer.

    That’s very true. What the video does show is the officer making a surprise attack rather than signaling for the cyclist to stop.

    Dress it up all you like in ‘i wonder what happened before’, but this was an act of unmitigated violence. I dislike some aspects of how Critical Mass riders conduct themselves, especially at intersections, but nothing about what the officer does is about law enforcement. It’s just a lust for violence.

    There are many great cops. This one is not a cop, he’s a pig.

  81. Cpt. Tim says:

    At this point the articles i’ve read about critical mass seem to be equal parts people wronging a cyclist, and equal parts cyclists trashing someones car.

    seems to me theres a lot of anger on both sides and either side that crosses the line of violence needs jail time.

    I was annoyed by a critical mass once because I couldn’t cross broadway to get to BART and missed my train, a mere annoyance really but while i think cyclists trump cars as non polluting forms of transportation, pedestrians should trump cycles. So while critical mass makes its point by disrupting auto traffic, i bet the critical mass guys would be annoyed if their route was clogged the whole way by impassible foot traffic.

  82. pahool says:

    #19 “Statisticaly, the majority of times a cyclist gets hurt by a car, it’s the cyclist’s fault.”

    Do you have any links to data that backs this up? I’m finding lots of data regarding bicycle accidents and fatalities, but no at-fault statistics.

    I bicycle 20 miles round trip to work monday-friday through light-to-moderate traffic in Los Angeles (Culver City to downtown L.A.) I am extremely conscientious about traffic laws. Still, I get pissed off drivers when I’m taking a whole lane (which is perfectly legal and which I only do when the shoulder is too narrow or there is some other safety concern.) Other drivers seem to get pissed off even if I am not occupying the whole lane. Can’t we all just get along?

    I’ve been on one Critical Mass bike ride and it was great. It was in Santa Monica and, while we did block traffic and go through red lights at intersections, the vibe was more of pageantry than of confrontation. We were waving to and being waved at by pedestrians and motorists alike. To my mind, it was just about increasing awareness of cyclists.

    I am well aware of the asshole cyclists out there who give us all a bad name. The ones who follow the law only when it is convenient, and basically create a more dangerous situation for everyone. I’m sure all it takes is a few of these overbearing personality types to overwhelm the vibe of a peaceful Critical Mass ride.

    No matter how I look at this video, this was an excessive use of force. I’m even willing to assume everything in the cop’s favor. I’m willing to assume that this cyclist was asked to stop by another, off-camera police officer and was therefore failing to comply. It’s possible. But body slamming someone who is traveling at a fairly reasonable clip and not wearing a helmet (stupid) is using excessive (arguably deadly) force. Okay, maybe it wasn’t excessive if the guy was armed and dangerous and fleeing the scene of a felony. I doubt this will turn out to be the case.

    Cyclists, wear your helmet! And guys, wear your corn starch! Especially on long rides. It’s sooooo worth it.

  83. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    1. This is an interesting thread, and Antinous is right about the direction people go when they embroider imaginary new material onto the margins of the video. Do you notice that all the people who are making up new parts of the story, then taking them seriously, are coming up with reasons why the bicyclist was guilty?

    2. There’s no way the officer’s action is warranted. When he rams the cyclist, he isn’t in control of the outcome. At the speed the cyclist is moving, an accident can be crippling or fatal. It’s not the likeliest outcome, but it’s entirely within the range of possibiity.

    When is it appropriate for an officer to risk that? When it’s the only way to rescue the person from some more serious hazard, or when the person presents a serious and immediate danger to others. As we can see from the video, neither is applicable.

    3. The police aren’t lying in wait for a specific bicyclist who’s been reported as having done something bad earlier in the ride. First, if they were trying to collar a specific rider, they wouldn’t be trying to intersect his travel path as he goes flying by. They’d be making all the cyclists stop, get off their bikes, and slowly walk past.

    Second reason that isn’t happening: there are two ways for the police to collar the right guy. One is by having a really good description of the guy’s distinctive features, clothing, equipment, tattoos, et cetera. But at that light level, at the speed the ride is moving, and with the guy coming toward them head on, they’re unlikely to be able to match feature to feature. Also, look at the guy they knock down. In a crowd of NYC cyclists, he’s not all that distinctive. There’s no way the police can be sure it’s their suspected perp.

    What’s the other way they can have a reasonably good chance of getting the right guy? Answer: if he’s been continuously visually tracked ever since the hypothetical incident happened. But that can’t be what’s going on either, because if it were, the officers would have phones or radios glued to their heads, and wouldn’t set them aside until they’d gotten a positive identification on the guy and were moving to intercept him. But they don’t. You can see that. They’re standing in the middle of the street, just watching the cyclists go by, until they decide to intercept this one.

    4. The cyclist didn’t have to pass that close to a couple of police officers. It’s clear that he doesn’t assume they’re trying to intercept him. He doesn’t take any unusual evasive action — say, suddenly swerving hard right when the police are moving leftward. If he’d committed some significant crime a few minutes earlier, he’d be more nervous about the police.

    5. Next reason why it isn’t reasonable to assume that the cyclist must have done Something Bad in the woodshed: they didn’t charge him with anything. I’m not the first person to make this observation, but I’m hoping that with sufficient repetition, it may start to sink in.

    The NYPD is looking at a situation where there’s a video on YouTube showing an officer on duty body-checking a cyclist hard enough to knock him to the ground, when he’s got enough momentum to potentially pick up a serious injury. That’s assault. If they had anything on that cyclist, they’d be doing everything possible to pin it on him. Instead, they’ve let him go, and they’ve stripped the arresting officer of his badge and gun.

    Q.E.D.: They haven’t got a thing on El Vasquez.

    6. The first time I watched the video, I thought the officer had misjudged their relative speeds, mistakenly assumed the cyclist would swerve behind rather than in front of him, kept moving when he should have stopped, and finshed by throwing his arms up to shield himself from the impact.

    I’ve now watched it several more times, and I no longer think it can have been an accident. Merc @82 has a good discussion of the physical issues. The other reason I don’t think it can have been an accident is that the guy’s partner walks over with him. They were doing something purposeful. If the first officer were just having a stupid accident, the second officer wouldn’t have anticipated it and be giving him backup.

    7. Here’s my completely unsupported fictional notion about what was going on: the officer observed the cyclist doing something he didn’t like — say, taking a somewhat imprudent travel path at an imprudent speed. Unfortunately, the officer didn’t think things through. (That’s assuming absence of malice.) He didn’t think about how he was going to intercept someone moving at that speed, and he didn’t make his intentions clear. The cyclist accordingly swerved to avoid him as though he wasn’t there. The officer suffered an instant loss of temper, forgot that he wasn’t supposed to randomly hit people, and knocked the cyclist off his bike. Since he was already committed, his partner jumped in on the arrest. They both subsequently lied about what the cyclist had done.

    In this work of fiction, I figure twenty-six hours represents the amount of time it took for the video to get posted online, word to get out about it, the NYPD community relations people to hear about it and get a look at the video, and the appropriate high-level phone calls to be exchanged.

    8. I don’t feel bad about the officer being stripped of his badge and his gun. He’s had practice hitting people when they weren’t expecting it. I hope he never sees duty again as a police officer.

  84. lost feliz says:

    All this animosity against cyclists. There’s a lot of tension all over the country right now over the right to the road.

    I need my bike to get to work. And just want to get there and back home safely. Often it’s frightening. Drivers are consciously and unconsciously aggressive and spend lots of time texting and weaving around as they fiddle with the radio. But most of it is carelessness. I’ve been hit twice this year while going straight down the straight following the laws.

    The aggressive attitude that we deserve what we’ll get because some riders are aggressive is disturbing.

    I don’t participate in Critical Mass, but there’s a reason for it. Drivers please treat each cyclists as a human being not a stray orange cone.

  85. mgfarrelly says:

    SAMF:

    Yeah, I’ve been around at least 10 CM rides in the past couple years and I can say for a fact that there is a SERIOUSLY confrontational element in those rides.

    I did a Lakes hore bike tour a couple years back and some CM advocates were in the group. When I said I wasn’t interested in the group and had some issues with their tactics they got in my face talking about “cagers” and other nonsense and diving right into circular reasoning to justify themselves.

    CM is a really wide array of people. Many folks just enjoy the ride and stow the politics. I applaud them. But even as a very pro-cycling person it would be disingenuous to ignore those folks out to “make a point” at the expense of others.

    Cyclist will not convert a single motorist by acting like jerks. Simple fact.

    All this is ancillary to this man being assaulted of course.

  86. Phikus says:

    Didn’t look like the cop even tried to order him to stop or use “jazz-hands” to convey he wanted him to halt. I have been pulled over on bicyle before by a stationary cop and that’s all they had to do. I had plenty of time to stop. A clear case of brutality if there ever was one, even if the guy did something off camera.

    Crit Mass rides take place here w/o incident or controversy. Maybe Austin really is the friendly city. I have never ridden in one, but they sure seem like fun (w/o cops tackling you.)

  87. Jupiter12 says:

    “I think a monthly disruption of business as usual on our roads is somewhat justified.”

    Amen! Who cares if the guy at home having a heart attack has to wait an extra 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive? It’s his own fault anyway for eating foods high in fat and cholesterol.

  88. zeta says:

    Just wait a couple of years, until the barrel goes up to 500$. Then there will be a Critical Mass every day. Everywhere. All the time.

  89. Takuan says:

    ATTICA ATTICA ATTICA ATTICA!!!

  90. TEKNA2007 says:

    Definitely targeted. Those two cops were moving in together, working as a team. “That one, that one … OK go!”

    That cyclist needs to be made whole in civil court and the officer needs to be punished in criminal court.

    But the Critical Path riders need to do their part too by obeying all laws (like stopping at red lights). One of the top lessons of the last eight years: we can’t let anyone be above the law. Not presidents, not police, and not Critical Path cyclists.

  91. bcsizemo says:

    Well looking at the video I certainly think something provoked the police into this. I almost wonder if they stole something. Notice how on his right hip/side there appears to be a purse, and the fact he is wearing a backpack and another pack as well. Who knows, maybe he was riding through the crowd, snatched a purse (cause really, wouldn’t this be a great place to do it?), and the police saw it.

    Everyone keeps pointing out the excess force that was used. Well that’s really depends on what the police thought he did. If he stole a purse would it be to much? Do you think he would stop if you asked him to? If he stole your purse (or your wifes) wouldn’t you tackled him if possible?

    I’m all for fair/equal rights. Someone getting beating at a traffic stop is unacceptable unless there is good reason (high on PCP, crack/speed, pulling a gun). Just knocking some guy off a bike cause you can, that’s equally as bad. But lets not crucify this guy without knowing the whole story.

    A picture of someone stabbed to death makes you feel bad for that person and their family. If I told you a teenager just killed said victim after he invaded their house and killed his parents, wouldn’t that change your perception?

  92. Anonymous says:

    I would love to see critical mass stay strictly to the bike lanes … with BMX hot shots riding on top of all of the cars parked there illegally.

  93. Xopher says:

    MDHatter 99: That’s because there’s no legitimate reason for a civilian to have one of those. And also they’re gas guzzlers.

    That imparts jackassery to the hummer owner quite apart from his (and I’ve never heard of a woman owning one) behavior on the road.

  94. Duffong says:

    @273

    I had the exact same experience when I moved from Germany to the US. Which should be ironic for us, considering Germans take their automobiling very seriously. The rules of the road are never to be desecrated. And yet outside of Germany the use of bicycles becomes not just a mortal risk, but also a stigma of social abnormality.

  95. raisinlove says:

    To serve and protect!

  96. Piper says:

    I say that the wheelchair-bound (Critical Injury) must now unite to …oh forget it.

  97. coaxial says:

    The cop clearly targetted this particular cyclist. Why I don’t know. I do know that if he didn’t stop the cyclist, the cyclist would have blown right past the cop without stopping. While it looks (and is) violent, let’s not put this in the ranks of Rodney King. It was enough to stop the cyclist, and if you want to stop a cyclist that’s trying to avoid you, you’re going to have to knock him down.

    My main beef is with groups like Critical Mass, and the rest of what I’ll call “militant bicyclists” for lack a of a better term. They constantly scream about how “WE ARE TRAFFIC!!!”, but don’t want to obey the traffic laws. They don’t use lights at night. They don’t stay in the bike lane. They hang out in cars’ blind spots, and generally ride unsafely until one of them is hit, and all too often killed. Then all of a sudden it’s the car’s fault, and now we have to have a ghost bike and midnight ride (“Wear Black!” as the most recent flyer said) to raise awareness of killer cars and the petro-military-industrial-corporate-genetically-modified-racist-illuminati complex.

    Whatever dude. Go win a door prize.

  98. Cpt. Tim says:

    “Every time that there’s a post where someone is hassled, assaulted or even killed by police or security personnel, there’s a stream of comments announcing that he was probably acting like a jackass and had it coming. Every time. Every motherfucking time.”

    To be fair, Antinous, every motherfucking time there are also sweeping general statements about the moral character of anyone who has ever decided to become a police officer.

  99. consideredopinion says:

    As an SF CM veteran, I have a few choice comments for the comments posted here.

    To the CM in general: I quite agree that there have, and will continue to be, jerks who participate in unnecessary aggression (which I rate a whole other scale of jerkness to mere confrontation) in the CM. I call them the “testosterone brigade” and I continue to ride the CM mainly to keep them in check. Every CM attracts newbies, young impressionable types who need a friendly reminder that “kindness is their weapon” and a “smile, wave, and thank you” is every bit as effective as a finger or worse. After all, if the CM was abandoned to the “brigade,” it really would be the mere rabble depicted in newspapers.

    Yes, the CM snarls up traffic, is an inconvenience, and can send emotions afire. That confrontation, the role-reversal of the standard order of power relationships on the road is the purpose of CM. Of course it’s offensive to everyone who depends on the status quo…but the choice remains with the individual if they choose to be offended or to feel a small smile and join in the joke. It is anarchism with a small ‘a.’ It is a pure democratic expression where anyone can take charge to lead the mass, a rare thing in our modern world. What I find most remarkable and rewarding with every CM is that there is far greater support than hatred of the CM by motorists and pedestrians along the ungoverned paths.

    To the person who suggested a walking mass in front of the CM – I think that’s a great idea! Organize it, and I’ll join!

    To the NYPD event itself. Even assuming there was a non-videoed reason for the cop to single out and attack the cyclist as he did – it retains a high risk of injury to the cyclist. Clearly the NYPD should be getting on bicycles and joining the NY CM to constraint, influence, and enforce as needed.

  100. zeta says:

    @111: Oh, right, a stolen purse is a good enough to risk killing someone?! Reminds me why I vowed never to visit the USA again. I got family. It is just too… risky.

  101. sirdook says:

    So I’m not defending the cop, but why didn’t the guy try stopping his bike? I’ve had pedestrians walk out in front of me between two cars before and been unable to swerve effectively because it was unclear what the pedestrian was doing. So I locked down the breaks. That doesn’t look like what happened in this video.

    And to those who complain about cyclists not following the law: there are lots of cyclists (and motorists) who are dicks. I generally switch from road to sidewalk based on conditions. If the sidewalk is open and being on the road would slow up traffic, I switch to the sidewalk. When the road is wider, or when there aren’t many people parked on the curb, I switch back to the road. The same thing with red lights. I stop at them, but if I have a good sight distance and no one’s coming, I go on through.

    Some of the laws are important to follow, but if you’re driving on roads that weren’t designed with bikes in mind, it often makes sense to break the laws to make things easier on yourself as well as on those with whom you share the road.

  102. Takuan says:

    nah,just New Yorkers

  103. jjankechu says:

    As a life-long resident of NYC that has been commuting by car over the past 2 years, I have observed that 95% of motorists are guilty of one of these infractions, daily.

    1) speeding
    2) failure to signal
    3) cutting off traffic at the exit/entrance ramp or turn lane
    4) failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk (not that i blame you because if you didn’t nose your car through you’d NEVER get anywhere).

    and as for us pedestrians, jaywalking is not so much an offense as it is a way of life.

    So please, stop complaining about cyclists rolling through red lights and such. We all know that you’re just frustrated that you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. And if you really do see a cyclist blasting through reds at 15+ mph, well, they won’t be alive much longer.

    CM: the few times I’ve witnessed it, it was over in less than 5 minutes. Sure, it sucks if you’re running late but CM is but one of a million things that can happen in a city to delay you 5 minutes. You and I both know that you should have planned your time better in the first place.

  104. EH says:

    Jupiter12:
    Actually, the circumstances indicate that he was relieved of his gun and badge. NYPD deserves credit for this. Police departments in other cities may have simply looked the other way.

    Those aren’t circumstances, they’re the effects of the officers circumstances. As I illustrated, the officer’s circumstances are more extensive. What I’m describing are they “what’s” of the officer’s training that precede this incident. The administrative actions by the department are purely reactive, the officer’s actions were proactive. There’s a difference, and the officer’s training at academy and his sense of tradition in coming from a family of officers is surely germane to any criticism of the events here.

  105. Little John says:

    Todd @#345 (in re: #342):

    Caffeine deficiency? Figured it was something that. ;-)

    Interesting link. Fascinating, in fact. I am astounded (embarrassingly so) by the raw ignorance, utter racism, and pig-headedness (pun inadvertent) on display at that board. Only a couple cops posting there (out of the 131 comments I read) seem to exhibit any kind of intelligence or reasonableness. Here are some nouns the others used to refer to the cyclist:

    hippie
    fruit
    anarchist
    lib
    vegetarian
    vegan
    savage
    POS
    Speedy Gonzales
    schmuck
    scum
    moron

    In fairness, I guess the multitude of thoughtful, reasonable, fair-minded cops I hope populate the ranks of the NYPD simply aren’t inclined to post there. So there’s a natural bias to biased cops.

    But man!

  106. The Unusual Suspect says:

    I’ll bet there are even people willing to defend moderators who break their own rules, Antinous.

    @#94:”Every time that there’s a post where someone is hassled, assaulted or even killed by police or security personnel, there’s a stream of comments announcing that he was probably acting like a jackass and had it coming. Every time. Every motherfucking time.”

  107. hagbard says:

    The Vasquez, along with Long and one other:

    http://glumbert.com/media/nycbike

  108. Jupiter12 says:

    “There’s a difference, and the officer’s training at academy and his sense of tradition in coming from a family of officers is surely germane to any criticism of the events here.”

    That’s fine but we can’t just assume that his academy trainers or the other officers in his family are pricks like him. Maybe they are upstanding officers who are embarrassed by his behavior. I don’t know the guy’s family, so I’m just calling it like I see it. He was acting like a prick and the NYPD was right to strip his gun and badge.

  109. william says:

    I’m opposed to the continuation of Critical Mass, but having ridden in a couple of them, I think I get why they do it.

    The normal feeling of riding in a city is that of a continuous low-level fear. Fear that someone will open a door in your path. Fear that a distracted driver will turn right in front of you. Fear that some road-rage nut job will run you right over.

    Riding with Critical Mass for the first time, I felt free of fear. I felt safe. I felt like I could actually get around on my bike without risking a trip to the hospital. It was extraordinary. For an hour, I was free.

    You drivers who hate Critical Mass? You’re surely right to. It’s a giant pain in the ass. It’s hard to get anywhere. It’s inconvenient. You worry some loon might hurt you. And that sucks. But that’s the daily experience of somebody who tries to get around a major city on a bike. So if you’re wondering why the Critical Mass people do it, look no further than your own feelings.

  110. ADavies says:

    I used to commute to work in NYC by bike. Never went to a critical mass (no real reason, just never got around to it).

    I did hear about stuff like this from friends at the time. Second hand sure, but I’m confident this is not an isolated incident.

    What I can say for sure is that biking in NYC is pretty scary stuff. I was always grateful for the critical mass folks who made an issue out sharing the road.

  111. jonathan_v says:

    I wouldn’t rush to judge this situation without seeing more of the video. Perhaps the cop was justified , perhaps he was purposefully abusive — its impossible to tell from the angle of the camera. Maybe the rider did something on the approach that wasn’t caught on film.

    NYC Cops tend to overreact, and abuse their power — while a handful of them do get caught for shooting people in the back dozens of times, beating up suspects, or harassing minorities, a much larger number unfortunately covers for the bad seeds.

    Critical Mass ‘riders’ tend to be overactive, arrogant, and belligerent in the streets. Lets not forget that their monthly protests/parades/whatever employ various tactics to block crossways car, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. I have a lot of friends who rode/ride the critical mass events – they don’t do it to protest, they don’t do it to bring awareness to transportation alternatives, they do it to go out drinking, ride around the city, and show off their new gear and workmanship with other bike geeks.

    You can only hide behind free speech and free assembly so much — one person’s rights end where another’s begin.

    I think it was only 3 months ago that BoingBoing ran another ‘OUTRAGE’ video on a critical mass rider getting arrested — failing to note that it was CRYSTAL CLEAR that the rider ran a red light and was keeping pedestrians and cars from crossing the street.

    IMHO, NYC would be a hell of a lot better with different cops, less cars, more bikes, and no Critical Mass rides.

  112. TJIC says:

    30:1 the cop will never face any penalty or censure over his actions.

    I wonder what would happen if a citizen knocked a bicycle cop off his bike in the same way?

    Jail time, I imagine.

    …after the cops roughed the guy up.

  113. Chris Griswold says:

    This just reminds me of NYC during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

    There was TONS of stuff like this going on, on a much, much larger scale, and no one outside New York knew anything about it.

  114. frankiez says:

    I’m curious: a news like this (= meaningless Police violence) is getting any coverage in US mass media?

    How a criminal like this police man is considered / judged by average citizens?

  115. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Sirkowski @19, where did you get those statistics?

    JBettineski @31, your homework assignment is to tell us what the basis is for each of those assertions.

    Holtt @40, “There were options to be had here that didn’t get taken” is as good a summary as any.

    Blow Leprechaun @69, I am a very correct cyclist, and until it gets me treated better by cars, I’m going to be impatient too.

    One big difference: cyclists can’t kill you.

    Chevan @92, he’s the one who’s ruined his life. And if Vasquez or anyone else brings suit against him, the entity that decides what’s owed will be a proper jury.

    Anonymous @101: Has everything that’s been said in this forum been correct? If not, Craig’s List might not be authoritative either.

    The Unusual Suspect @119: Antinous was entirely within the rules. Look ‘em up.

    Samf @143: He doesn’t draw a handgun. We have it on video. The only reason to knock him off his bike at that velocity is if he’s an imminent danger to himself or others. He isn’t. There’s nothing he could be doing for which death, disfigurement, or crippling injury would be the appropriate punishment. Therefore, knocking him off his bike is not justified.

    Eh @159, I like statements like that much better when they’re given a little more explanation.

    Rageahol @162: I ride a bicycle in traffic as though I were a car. I correctly observe all the rules for vehicular traffic. And when I do, what you describe there happens to me, too.

    So many people in this thread don’t understand that one of the things Critical Mass is saying is What you’re experiencing now, for five minutes, is what we get all the time. Another version: We have to see you every day. This once, you have to see us.

    Or, to quote a bumper sticker I once saw on a Harley, Loud tailpipes save lives.

    Dbarak @171:

    Antinous, it’s not an idle threat. It’s a certainty. I have a right to protect myself and my property, and I WILL respond to an assault appropriately.

    The police would tell you the appropriate response is to call 911.

    Be that as it may. What you will not do is huff and puff about it here. It lowers the tone of the joint.

    LeopardPrintHussy @186, you’ve got you a bad case of Some Dude Syndrome, an ailment known to EMTs: “I was just standing there, minding my own business, when Some Dude started wailing on me…”

    They smacked your car, they spat (?) on it, they said bad words. If you could guarantee me that on any given day, that’s the worst that could happen to me, I would be profusely grateful.

    If it ever happens to you again and you start to feel alarmed, take your foot off the brake and let the car start drifting forward. Any bikes in front of you will clear out. The ones to the sides and rear, you can ignore.

    Takuan @218: Very good. Beats the heck out of parts of speech. Cultivate that one.

    Pahool @239, I’m really not big on threading (long explanation, leave it for another day), but I love it that you want to know all the back-references. Do please stick around.

  116. Keeper of the Lantern says:

    No one has pointed out that, in NYC, bicycles have many of the same rights to the road as cars do. And yet, if a group of bicycles cause traffic to slow down, that’s somehow labeled ‘thugish’ or bad.

    In other words, in the age of $150 barrels of gas, do we as a society still think we have the luxury to selectively enforce traffic laws in favor of cars?

    The thing about the Critical Mass folks is that they know they as bicycle riders have rights, and even if others don’t like the way the express them, well that’s tough.

    “Ah, but they break laws too and go through traffic lights”…completely separate issue. Does this mean then, that if car drivers double park or run a red light then they don’t have the other rights as drivers?

  117. Cpt. Tim says:

    #227

    I didn’t even know you were a mod. I hope my posts are clear that I’m completely opposed to the “he must have done something to deserve it mindset.”

    what i’m completely in favor of is facts, reality, and non violence. the cop committed the violent act in this video so my initial reaction was that he was in the wrong, but I’m always in favor of having more information, and in this case more information seems to bear out gut reactions. But it is very easy to construct a scenario where this is not the case, and someone could be jailed in error.

    facts are awesome and should be sought out.

  118. method says:

    FWIW, I’ve seen a corking get ugly. The two guys put their bikes in front of the cross street. An SUV pushed forward, just to squeak through. One of the guys crossed his bike over to block him. The SUV tried to creep forward and the guy fell and slid his bike under the front wheel. Then a bunch of guys rode over and got in the driver’s face. At that point the driver, looking defeated and nervous, asked, “What is this?” and they told him.

    This was in Pittsburgh, with about 200 riders. It sounds like in Seattle the mood is meaner and I believe leopardprinthussy’s story. In many of the CM gone bad stories on the web, though, it looks like the driver made a similar “mistake” as the driver I saw. But really look at the power dynamics of the situation: on one side some tough-looking dudes on bikes (but maybe only one at first) asserting their right to block an intersection, and a vehicle with hundreds of horse-power on the other. Yeah, vigilante blockades are unnerving, but try to think about the power differential that make someone think, “okay I’ll just creep out here, I’ll just push these cars aside…”

    Cars suck.

  119. jccalhoun says:

    I’ve never been anywhere near where these Critical Mass events happen but how long can they last? I see people complaining about disrupting traffic and such but for how long? Ten minutes? One hour? Three days?

  120. Bookyloo says:

    You may want to update the orginal post to indicate that, thanks to citizen journalism and YouTube, the assaulting officer was been stripped of his badge and gun. Without YouTube, Richard Vasquez (the cyclist) would have been shit out of luck. This is exactly what the internet is for.

    Sure, the cop will probably get his badge back in a week, but at least it debunks the “that critical mass no good bike hippie musta done something wrong” lie.

    It’s a little odd to see that the story on the Fox News affiliate site is way more sympathetic to Mr. Vasquez than the majority of the BoingBoing comments.

  121. robgarbo says:

    Looks like a clean hit to me. Oh wait, this isn’t hockey…

  122. skarbreeze says:

    This kind of thing is simply appalling to watch, as I don’t see anything in particular that precipitated the attack – it felt like a random outburst of abusive authority. I hope the biker gets the opportunity to sue that badge for his net worth.

    That being said, I’ve read a few accounts of the Critical Mass rides being extremely abusive to so-called ‘lawful’ traffic; riding through red lights and f’ing up traffic to no end. That kind of stuff is not cool, and I’d probably have the same reaction as this cop if I had right of way to cross the street and a herd of bikers decided to simply ignore my right of way and ride toward me.

    I walk some bad intersections on my way to & from my office parking every day, and have a very low opinion of asshats who run lights or ignore right-of-way that pedestrians have. I’ve used my umbrella to crack tail-lights of cars that try to run me down, and my fist to dent a trunk once.

    So yeah, I’m a dick. Funny how typing that out reminded me of this :)

  123. spokehedz says:

    VIVA LA REVOLUTION!

    This stuff needs to stop NOW. Who watches the watchers?

  124. Xopher says:

    BCSizeMo, several people have pointed out the usual method for a cop to stop a bicyclist. This wasn’t that. With two cops there, they could have stopped him safely without much trouble.

    No matter what the guy just did, knocking him off his bike cannot be justified.

  125. method says:

    William: Exactly.

    JCCalhoun: Depends on the city, but probably 5-10 minutes.

  126. xopl says:

    How do all the people who were defending the cop feel now that we have found out he was a 22 year old rookie, and that the NYPD has punished him for his actions?

    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/YouTube_video_exposes_cop_who_attempted_0730.html

    I think it is time to revisit comment #18 by Jacobian:

    “It’s an interesting defensive reaction to watch people make excuses for those in authority in order to reduce their own internal cognitive dissonance. I first noticed this phenomenon when talking about the abuses of the government with people in the Soviet Union. People simply couldn’t handle thinking too much about how abusive their government had and was being, and decided to take the simplest way out, which is to legitimise the violent actions of those in authority.”

    All the people who scoffed at that should maybe take a longer look in the mirror and at the country.

  127. w000t says:

    HE LOST HIS BADGE! An iota of my faith in justice has been restored. Also, any charges against the cyclist will “likely be dropped.” Man, is it ever nice to see one of these come out the way it seems it should for a change.

  128. Toddtyrtle says:

    @343 Perhaps I needed to have had a bit more coffee before posting. I’m an idiot. Here’s the link:

    http://theerant.yuku.com/topic/7789/t/Video-shows-NYPD-cop-assaulting-cyclist.html

  129. Ceronomus says:

    Mark says it all right here…

    “I wonder what made the police officer choose this particular bicyclist”

    I wonder too. The officer was CLEARLY watching this cyclist ahead of time and moving to intercept him. OF course, the footage doesn’t show what he may have been doing before he approached the officer.

    As someone who loathes “Critical Mass”, I still don’t want to see anyone roughed up by the police BUT this footage isn’t nearly enough to base that sort of judgment on.

    Was he charged with attempting to assault the police officer? Or was he being a jackass and perhaps there is more to this than the video shows?

  130. Moon says:

    What is the point of this Critical Mass stuff, anyway? I thought they were trying to show us that we should be riding bicycles?? How’s that working out? They just look like jerks.

    They do this in Chicago and I just walk right through them when I get the light. If they hit me, they are going pay TWO times. Once, when I beat the crap out of them for running into me, the second time in court.

  131. gonzilla says:

    If we had our flying cars and jet packs already, none of this would have happened.

  132. Takuan says:

    hey, whatever happened to bumble-bee boy in his minicar and jackboots? Is he still beating up children or did they can him?

  133. BlackBanana says:

    I don’t live in NYC, so I can’t comment on the “adversarial” relationship between the NYPD and CM cyclists, BUT I do find it rather odd that several other cyclists rode by without incident and this one dude ended up getting singled out in such a decisive manner. Makes me wonder what (if anything) happened down the block out, of sight of the camera, to get himself throttled like that.

    Just saying.

  134. Neener says:

    Last week two cyclists who I met at a party told me with a straight face that red lights, one way streets and stop signs don’t apply to cyclists, that anyone would think they apply to cyclists essentially means that they’re hopelessly pro-car and pro-big oil. I commute with four people in my car every day and one day I counted 11 cyclists run through a very dangerous red light, making it even more dangerous.

    What is happening with cyclists right now is a weird kind of groupthink where they feel they have the moral right to break the law thanks to $4 gas and global warming. We recently had a cyclist death caused by a trash truck and I feel really sick about that, but on the flip side, I counted 11 cyclists run a red light in morning traffic!

  135. Phikus says:

    CHRIS@328: I heard all about that even down here in Austin, actually. You’re right the media was totally silent about it though.

  136. locomotivebreath1901 says:

    I term these thugists as ‘criminal mass’ for their punk ass it’s-all-about-me-get-outta-my-way tactics, so I can’t blame the cop for his actions.

    At normal frame, the thugist appeared to be aiming right at the cop with no intent on slowing down or changing course to avoid the cop.

    Important safety tip, thugists. Stay clear of cops.

  137. pahool says:

    #61 I would digg you up if I could for “metric fuckton”

  138. keanon says:

    Whether you like cyclists and Critical Mass or not is completely irrelevant. I thought intelligent people read this site?

    That cop endangered the life of a civilian with no warning. It makes me sick and those of you arguing the finer points of the one-percenters who act like jerks on their bikes make me sick as well.

    Good day!

  139. dbarak says:


    Dbarak @171:

    Antinous, it’s not an idle threat. It’s a certainty. I have a right to protect myself and my property, and I WILL respond to an assault appropriately.

    The police would tell you the appropriate response is to call 911.

    Be that as it may. What you will not do is huff and puff about it here. It lowers the tone of the joint.

    I did call 911, and by the time the police arrived, the hooligans were gone, their group split up.

    You say “what I will not do.” Well, I did, and I will huff and puff here as if I want, and long as I’m allowed. I believe that after what I experienced I have a right to vent about what happened to me.

    I am a careful driver. I signal, even in parking lots. I do speed, only to keep up with the flow of traffic, which I feel is safer than angering the other drivers. I look out for bicyclists, motorcycle riders, pedestrians, animals, kids, adults with the common sense level of kids, etc. There is no good reason I was assaulted.

    I have no problem with parades and other organized events, as a right-of-way is cleared for the participants. I have no problem with Critical Mass as long as they either arrange for the same safeguards OR convene and ride in non-confrontational ways. When they ride around like lunatics (in my case, they were making WIIIIIIDE turns into all lanes of traffic, careening across lanes of traffic, etc.), they don’t deserve my respect. When this assault occurred, I had never heard of Critical Mass. I thought it was just a mass of bike riding thugs.

    I understand that riding a bike in traffic is difficult and that drivers don’t make it any easier, but committing crimes and unsafe, nearly suicidal acts in the pursuit of their cause is not the way to proceed.

    Period.

  140. Xopher says:

    The local NPR station in NYC is covering it.

  141. pahool says:

    Whatever our disagreements are, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing:

    BoingBoing needs threaded discussions. I mean, I’m glad they FINALLY added comments and all, but maybe they could use some web 1.0 technology here? A good size chunk of the comments in most threads are not so much comments as discussions. There is a lot of back-and-forth communication that is not supported AT ALL by this format.

    I know, I know. I can go elsewhere for those kinds of discussions. I just happen to like most of you all here (blush) and I enjoy the quality of the discussion. I just hate having to constantly scroll to try to trace down all the references to previous comments.

  142. chriskarate says:

    Maybe the cop and cyclist conspired in the same crime off-camera, but there was some sort of disagreement and they’re trying to have each other sent to prison.

    /logic

  143. Lauchlin says:

    I have never experienced anything more frightening than riding a bicycle in moderate to high traffic conditions. It seems that most drivers are either careless or intentionally aggressive towards cyclists, and I have been forced to bail from my bicycle on more than one occasion, incurring major road rash each time. It’s not unusual for me to have five or more near misses with people in cars in a week of commuting, and despite a claim early in the discussion, these near misses are always the fault of the driver – as often as not, it’s the dreaded Right Hook which has been mentioned a couple of times already (for those who don’t know, the Right Hook is when a driver speeds past a cyclist on the left, and then immediately brakes and turns right, causing the cyclist to either crash into the side of the car, or to bail off of the bicycle). Every other habitual cyclist I’ve ever spoken to has had a similar record with drivers.

    If you don’t see how a sense of self-preservation can lead cyclists to break rules of the road when they think it’s safe (running a red light, hopping onto an empty sidewalk) in an attempt to keep themselves out of the way of cars, then you are suffering from a serious lack of empathy.

    Also, I’ve never participated in a Critical Mass, but I’ve observed a lot of them, and only once have I ever seen bikers assault a car for no good reason (the driver had yelled insults at the cyclists). I’ve seen cars surrounded other times, but other than the one incident, the driver was always either intentionally or recklessly endangering the people in the Mass.

  144. mdhatter says:

    What made him choose that cyclist?

    Seems like facial recognition firmware. That looked personal.

  145. jacob_ewing says:

    I just have to say, that all this talk of justifying a divergence from the rules for cyclists drives me nuts. I ride about 6000km a year(~3800 miles) on my bicycle, primarily in an urban environment. In covering that distance, I very strictly follow the traffic laws, and offer the same courtesy to motor-vehicle drivers that I expect from them. In the five years that I’ve done this, I have not had a single accident in which the other driver was at fault.

    Cyclists should follow the same bloody rules as any other vehicles on the road. That is what the law dictates and that is the safest way to use it. If you break those laws, you’re endangering yourself and those around you. If you’re rude to other drivers, they’ll reciprocate and you’ll reap the seeds you sow.

    I always liked the primary principle behind Critical Mass, to make people aware that cyclists belong on the road. It sickens me though that the people practicing it seem to feel that they can flaunt this aspect of the law while completely ignoring so many other ones.

    All that being said, that video is very disturbing. With no evidence beyond that video, the actions of that officer seem abhorrent, and I hope he just shattered his own career. This strikes me as a blatant use of excessive force, and abuse of the authority he’s trusted with. Charges should be pressed.

  146. mgfarrelly says:

    @consideredopinion:

    Very well said. I’ve been flipped off, yelled at and harassed on my bike. I flash a thumbs up and a smile rather than a middle-finger salute. Why sink to their level?

    I’m sorry to say, I’ve seen a lot more of these bad apples in CM rides here in Chicago. Maybe it’s our irascible temperament as a city (“husky, brawling” as the poet said) but it can get nasty out there.

    The comparison I go with is this. If you’re trying to get a picky eater to try something new, like sushi for example, you can shame them, you can berate them, you can yell at them or even try to shove the california roll in their face, but you’re not going to make them a convert by force.

    But if you talk about all tasty varieties of sushi, and how healthy fish and veggies can be, how fun it it to make and how knowing how to make it is a fine way to impress a date, well then they just might buy in.

    Force fails.

  147. hagbard says:

    I just bought a new bike and started commuting to work — something I’ve intended to do for over a year. It was a mob scene at the bike shop.

    The ratio of cyclists to drivers is changing with oil prices, and I expect it will keep changing for a while.

    Expect more bike – car interaction, and keep in mind that a lot of the cyclists are new to it.

    Drivers, get used to the idea that the road is for cyclists too. Cyclists, learn the laws and safety rules for your area – just as you would with a car.

    “This is Kang. Cease hostilities.”

  148. ill lich says:

    I believe NWA had a song that expresses how I feel about this footage.

  149. dbarak says:

    I don’t know if it’s happened yet, but one of the CM sht hds is going to end up dead, either by being accidentally hit by a car, or intentionally taken out in some other way. Th nxt tm gt ssltd by CM sshl, h r sh s nt gng t b bl t rd wy frm th ncdnt.

  150. dvdst says:

    I’m all for the right to demonstrate and protest and especially approve of protesting against violent cops that push people off bicycles. Blocking traffic isn’t the way to do this though.

    I’ve have had a few emergencies in my life, probably less than most thankfully, but I’ve never had one where I’ve encountered idiots who think they’re so self important that they have a right to disrupt my ability to get around. As they say shit happens-people need to get to airports, hospitals, there are emergencies at home etc. This is the first time I’ve heard of CM but their tactics seem very selfish and unproductive. It sounds like they care about the world but not their neighbors.

    • Antinous says:

      dvdst,

      Put your hands up and slowly back away from the Reload button. When you reload the Comment Submitted page, it resubmits your comment. Over and over and over.

      • Antinous says:

        My only experience of this sort of thing is in San Francisco. I never ran into Critical Mass because I wasn’t conceptually challenged enough to drive downtown during peak hours. It’s unfathomable to me why cities don’t limit car traffic in dense downtown areas to transport, delivery, emergency and disabled. When the pedestrians move faster than the cars, what’s the appeal to driving?

  151. dbarak says:

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with my HTML coding here, but my previous post should have had everything from the beginning to “It lowers the tone of the joint” italicized to indicate it was a quote.

  152. orion says:

    The cop in question has been suspended for being an asshole who does not deserve to wear a badge.

    http://twurl.nl/pb5kc0

    Above link goes to story at MyFox NY

  153. TEKNA2007 says:

    No matter what the guy just did, knocking him off his bike cannot be justified.

    Yeah, and not just off his bike. Off his bike, off the road, and into whatever obstructions (pedestrians? sign-posts? utility pole?) are at the side.

  154. Takuan says:

    all that means is he is on desk duty until the “investigation”

    • Antinous says:

      If he’s only been on the force for a couple of weeks, he should already be out. Generally, one’s first months on a job are probationary and you get sacked if you even sneeze funny. I would hope that the PD would stick to that standard even more strictly than a normal business, because it’s so much harder to shoehorn someone out of a job like that once they’ve passed probation.

  155. pahool says:

    Apparently the officer was stripped of his badge:

    http://wcbstv.com/seenon/cop.slams.biker.2.781944.html

  156. minTphresh says:

    zeta, would you marry me ( thereby making me a dutch citizen)? i will fill your world with artwork, music and free tattoos! and, as a plus, i can show you a decidedly more mellow and a cooler u.s.a.(just to visit). plus, there would be lots of cake! p.s. the cop (logan) should be fired, and the cyclist should sue the frakk out of him in civil court. police need to be held to a higher standard than they are in this country. if i saw a cop coming at me with the same look in his eye that he was focusing at ‘the vasquez’ with, i’d have spun a 180 and quickly peddled my happy ass outta there!

  157. Keeper of the Lantern says:

    There’s no need to wonder about the adversarial and illegal tactics used by the police against Critical Mass. They herded and penned dozens of riders during the last Republican National Convention, violating Habeaus Corpus and keeping some of these riders for several days before charging them. The conditions were also terrible.

    Someone needs to locate this cop and sue him and the local precinct until he’s bankrupt and ruined.

  158. Anonymous says:

    Fortunately I don’t live where CM seems to protest.

    It seems odd to me that the context of the protest format is that of breaking traffic laws in an effort to raise awareness. Which is exactly perhaps the opposite of what they should be doing to promote their cause.

    I would not be more inclined to respect and care for bikers and their concerns after having endured the disrespect they have for all other people attempting to use the common space of the roads.

    If they do come to Atlanta and pull stunts like this, perhaps I will have to come up with an alternative protest group arranged around the rights of pedestrians, and perhaps make sure we cross at all green lights en masse — according to public safety laws of course.

    Petty and childish seeming on the surface, but I think that a formally organized awareness program for pedestrian safety should get much more support from the courts than an unorganized group who brazenly flaunts public safety and causes issues with traffic flow.

    Laws dealing with rightaway i’m sure are not suspended without formal filing for a permit. Otherwise no matter how many people are involved it is a traffic violation and should be treated as such. Traffic laws as applied to motor and human powered vehicles are for all intents the same where bikes and cars share common space.

    d

  159. Tensegrity says:

    Q: What do bad drivers and critical mass both have in common?

    A: Too much testosterone and not enough brains

  160. SamF says:

    @TNH:

    Two things:

    1) It seems a tiny bit hypocritical to say “Do you notice that all the people who are making up new parts of the story, then taking them seriously, are coming up with reasons why the bicyclist was guilty”, and then to go on to make a bunch of assumptions about what the police officer may or may not have been thinking, or why he may have done what he did.

    2) I don’t know about the others who have “made up new parts of the story”, but for my own part my intent was not to imply the guilt or innocence of either party, but to suggest that there’s just not enough evidence based on the video alone to suggest (as the first 5 posters automatically did) that the cop was just some brutal savage lashing out at a completely innocent passer-by. I’ve seen too many “trials by media” where “everyone knew” that one party was guilty, when in fact they weren’t. It’s easy to look at something like this and think that we know exactly what’s going on. And yes, it’s entirely possible that WYSIWYG. But to convict a cop before even giving him a trial is as unjustifiable as knocking a random person off a bike.

  161. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Like many (most?) urban pedestrians, I have little sympathy for Critical Mass thugs. In Toronto, their only mission seems to be to throw their weight around, endangering themselves along with unwitting motorists and pedestrians around them.

    I do have sympathy for this lone cyclist, however. Even if the cop did have reason to stop him, he didn’t even try, apparently preferring instead to go directly to unnecessary force.

  162. st vincent says:

    My first and lasting reaction to the story and then the comments thus far…

    FFS, please stop politicizing my bicycle!

    I can see the tension between cyclists, cars, pedestrians and other road and path users growing where I live, a relatively bike-friendly town. It’s starting to get on my nerves. Common sense, simple civic decency and the most basic concepts of sharing the road with others often seem to be eclipsed by attitude, aggression and a self-centered sense of entitlement.

    Transportation is dangerous enough as it is. I don’t need to deal with aggression while I’m out there, passive or no. I don’t want to be subject to posturing and bullying, whether from a cop, a driver or some CM’er. I just want to get around town in peace and arrive in one piece, no matter what I’m riding or driving.

    You don’t like the way things are between bikes/cars/pedestrians/joggers? Acting out at random and making summary judgments on whoever or whatever you come across on the street will only make it uglier and more difficult for all of us. That goes for everyone involved. Everyone.

    My biggest fear: It isn’t getting hurt on my bike… I can take care of myself, thanks. It’s that we will add cycling to the list of things that used to be fun but are now a law-ridden, over-regulated and over-policed pain in the ass, all so a small minority of arrogant pricks who can’t mind their own business can act out against each other.

  163. MissSavitri says:

    Did anyone else notice that at :32-:34 another biker comes up, moves to the side, gets handed the bike, then starts riding off before it fades to black?

  164. dragonfrog says:

    The Blow Leprechaun @69

    I don’t for a minute believe that 90% of the cyclists you deal with are jerks.

    Probably more like the 5% of cyclists who are jerks get 90% of your attention, because they are the ones you come close to killing. I know that when I ride, the 5% of motorists who are jerks get 90% of my attention, because they are the ones who come close to killing me.

    And don’t forget the cardinal rule of these things – if you meet three jerks in one day, the jerk is probably you.

    “You don’t get to cross a street on a green light, and if it’s a red light hop on the sidewalk and use the crosswalk. That’s not how it works, and there actually ARE laws about it, at least where I live.”

    Interesting – where I live, you do get to to dismount from your bicycle and walk it, at which point you _must_ use sidewalks and crosswalks.

  165. mgfarrelly says:

    @Theresa:

    You said “Another version: We have to see you every day. This once, you have to see us.”

    I’m sorry, I just don’t get that read from CM events I’ve seen. To me the CM statement seems a lot more about being anti-car than about being pro-cycling, and that’s just not something I can support. That aggression, that pushiness, that edge isn’t going to make a positive impact about cycling.

    I’d rather advocate for stores to get guarded bike rooms, businesses to offer changing areas for cycling commuters and evangelize to friends and family about the money I save and pounds I’ve shed on my bike than get into it with someone on the street or make ‘a statement’.

    The fact I saved more than 2500 dollars in the past year by biking and using public transit is more proof of pedal power than any corked intersection.

  166. mrgaric says:

    I agree with MissSavitri.
    There is more here than meets the eye. Maybe the guy just stabbed someone and stole their bike. There was a guy ready to take it from the cop right away.
    The cop deserves to have his side heard too. Maybe if we knew everything we’d be thanking him (or not).

  167. EH says:

    DVDST: You should go have a drink with the cop’s dad, who said the following:

    “These people are taking over the streets and impeding the flow of traffic. Then you gotta do what you gotta do,” said Pogan, 51.

    And three weeks out of academy? If it wasn’t for the family genetics illustrated above I’d have to wonder where the officer got the idea that this kind of thing was OK.

  168. Anonymous says:

    This is terrible, and the cop should lose his badge.

    That being said, in San Francisco, Critical Mass is an extreme pain, and needs to be regulated. The biking mass is allowed to just run through red lights, and block all traffic for around 20-30 minutes.

    This includes pedestrian traffic. If you accidently run into critical mass, then your trip is extended by an easy half hour. Bikers should have to obey traffic lights too.

    I really want to start a movement where a bunch of walkers walk in front of the bike parade and see how everyone likes that.

  169. Xopher says:

    People around here think the traffic laws apply to pedestrians. They don’t, not in New Jersey. There are slightly different laws for motorists depending on whether a pedestrian is in a crosswalk (very broadly defined, and needn’t be marked) but the only thing the NJ Motor Vehicle Code requires of pedestrians is that they not jump out in front of a moving car in such a way that it’s impossible for the car to stop in time.

    Impossible. Not inconvenient.

    That bit is just there so a driver isn’t responsible if someone decides to commit suicide on hir front bumper. But if I’m in the crosswalk, even if the driver has the light s/he’s supposed to stop. Walk lights? Advice, nothing more.

    Pedestrians (except suicidal ones as noted above) always, always, always have the right of way in New Jersey, regardless of signs, lights, whatever.

    IANAL and TINLA. Just a non-driving pedestrian who’s read the NJMVC in its entirety.

  170. jakze says:

    @ceronomous, unusual suspect, etc: why do you loathe critical mass?

    i don’t know what critmass is like in nyc, but where i am in chicago the cops help the cyclists and even help cordon off traffic so the ride goes well. the ride actually went right in front of my building last friday, and the riders were funny and polite, waved to pedestrians and wished them a happy friday. seriously, like 10 straight minutes of people cycling by and saying “happy friday” to me. they seemed fun and courteous and harmless.

    but you’re not the first person i’ve heard go off on critical mass. is there something i’m missing?

  171. Mikeywin says:

    Critical Mass rides are not registered as “official demonstrations” (thats the whole point) and therefore they are not legally able to run red-lights and be general ass-hats:

    …Critical Mass participants have insisted that these events should be viewed as “celebrations” and spontaneous gatherings, and not as protests or organized demonstrations.[4][5] This stance allows Critical Mass to argue a legal position that its events can occur without advance notification of local police.[6][7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass

    So really, they’re just like that idiot who runs a red light or switches lanes without signaling, except they’re on bikes and theres a whole Frak ton of them, so no one tries to mess with them or make getsures, obscene remarks, etc… out of fear of getting attacked

  172. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    MGFarrelly @261, teaching people about the goodness of bicycles is all very well, but I’m more into teaching them not to kill me.

  173. Anonymous says:

    anyone know the names of the officer and the victim?

  174. Takuan says:

    @132
    wait, in one week it will be as if nothing had ever happened

  175. Duffong says:

    I’m neutral in this, but:

    I love the folks suggesting a Critical Feet Walk to counter the Critical Mass bike riders.

    So the idea here is to create an impenetrable wall of pedestrians to block the bikes that are blocking the traffic. That in turn creates a mile long blockade of bikes which holds up traffic longer. And more interestingly enough, couldn’t a Critical Feet Walk be interpreted as just another protest to cars & fuel consumption all over again? Additionally, all those folks in the street would raise awareness of pedestrian traffic, which, in turn again supports the aim to raise awareness of non-automobile traffic on the roads.

    The thing I’m not neutral on:

    Folks using non-sequent arguments to prove a point such as; the bike rider did something bad, so the policeman had a right to do something bad. See, in your world two wrongs equals a right.

  176. Phikus says:

    Clearly, this officer is a tribute to the force. From his pro-active defensive end moves on innocent civilians astride moving vehicles, to his regard for bystanders, underscored by his falsification of his reports, he has been indoctrinated well by his academy and his heritage. (ok, /sarcasm)

    Those who infer the cyclist did something to deserve it, or that this is an isolated incident and not indicative of a culture of abusive thugs are living in a naive wonderland. This is not about CM. It is about a group of people who thrive on feeling superior to the rest of us; who feel that they are above the law and entitled to manipulate the law to their own purposes. If you disagree, please re-read the smoking gun’s posting of the officer’s police report (linked by APENZOTT@298 Thanks!) and re-watch the video in that light before posting back. Like bush and the WMDs, if he’s lying about this, what else is this guy hiding? BTW, I don’t think I could cooperate with someone cuffing me and pretending to “enforce the law” after such a blatant incident of abuse and disregard for public safety either.

  177. Takuan says:

    g…t’s lmst s f Nw Yrk cps wr cwrdly, brtl pgs…. whddthnkt?

  178. Antinous says:

    Is being a jackass legal grounds for assault now? If it were, these comment threads would be a lot sparser, wouldn’t they? Unless he just committed a felony in plain sight of the cops, taking him down like that, without a warning, is what we used to call police brutality.

  179. Takuan says:

    still leaves the city open for litigation. Cheaper for New York to stone-wall,delay and settle much later for far less.

    • Antinous says:

      still leaves the city open for litigation

      But the miracle of probation is that you can let someone go without any reason. No admission of anything. I don’t know how the NYPD works it, but it’s normal business practice. New employee keeps farting in the lunchroom: “I’m sorry. It just doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out for you here.”

  180. Xopher says:

    From the link at 132: According to the criminal complaint, officers say Long was weaving in and out of traffic, forcing several vehicles to stop or change directions, and when he was told to stop he rode his bike into the officer.

    Sounds like the behavior people were complaining about CMers doing, followed by a complete lie.

  181. Snowpea says:

    Occam’s razor leads me to think that the cop is NOT targeting a specific person. He may instead have gotten so frustrated and angry, he was ready to lash out. Something snapped and he just suddenly said to himself, “I’m gonna bag me one of those bastages” and just waded into traffic until he got close enough to assault someone. Pure road rage.

    The cyclist was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Doesn’t matter WHO he is, just that he’s a “dammed cyclist”. I’m not excusing the cop, I’m just saying anger makes us do incredibly stupid things.

    Anger is the mind killer. Not just fear.

  182. jacobian says:

    The logic of authority doesn’t require having a specific reason to single out an individual for abuse like that. A random act of violence sends the message perfectly. “We are in control, we can abuse you arbitrarily.”

    It’s an interesting defensive reaction to watch people make excuses for those in authority in order to reduce their own internal cognitive dissonance. I first noticed this phenomenon when talking about the abuses of the government with people in the Soviet Union. People simply couldn’t handle thinking too much about how abusive their government had and was being, and decided to take the simplest way out, which is to legitimise the violent actions of those in authority. When I came back to the states, I suddenly realised that we were doing the exact same thing.

  183. Moon says:

    There’s an easy way to have peace. We have what we call “laws”. One of the laws (in Chicago, anyway) says “No bikes on the sidewalk” (with exceptions for kids under 12). Also, no running red lights, etc. I don’t have a problem with them running stop signs or red lights, that’s taking their own lives in their own hands. Like jaywalking. But being on the sidewalk or trying to run me over when I’m crossing the street with the light, that’s a different story.

  184. sirkowski says:

    Statisticaly, the majority of times a cyclist gets hurt by a car, it’s the cyclist’s fault. But cyclists take their self-imposed high death rate and turn it into a persecution complex and a permission to not follow the rules. Result? Cyclists become a danger to pedestrians as much as cars are. And yes, a cyclist can kill a pedestrian and it happens more times than you can imagine.

    It’s pretty simple, everybody needs to follow the fucking rules and nobody gets hurt.

  185. Anonymous says:

    Although I have participated in NYC critical mass rides, I’m not blind to the disruption they cause. People must face the fact that by obstructing traffic in NYC they are inconveniencing thousands of other people, and to an extent maybe even compromising their livelihood. That said, I’m completely in favor of the spirit and values Critical Mass represents– I just think the expression of them could be more fairly executed.

    But this is OUTRAGEOUS. From the speed of the cyclist and the force with which the officer shoved him off his bike, that cyclist could have been severely injured, possibly even crippled for life. I encourage everyone to take action and email NYC government and demand that the officer be prosecuted.

  186. dbarak says:

    #129 posted by dbarak , July 28, 2008 2:07 PM

    I don’t know if it’s happened yet, but one of the CM sht hds is going to end up dead, either by being accidentally hit by a car, or intentionally taken out in some other way. Th nxt tm gt ssltd by CM sshl, h r sh s nt gng t b bl t rd wy frm th ncdnt.

    That should be: Th nxt tm gt ssltd by CM sshl, h r sh s nt gng t b bl t rd wy frm th ncdnt.

    • Antinous says:

      dbarak,

      Xopher is correct. You can swear until your tongue bleeds, but please don’t bore us with idle threats.

  187. SamF says:

    No matter what the guy just did, knocking him off his bike cannot be justified.

    Really? No matter what? So like if he’d just pulled out a handgun and shot someone on the street you’d just let him go by? Or maybe wave your arms and yell stop?

    Obviously the biker in question didn’t shoot someone. But every time a cop uses force, he is always in the position of making a judgement call about how much force is appropriate given the current situation. But cops are people, too, and sometimes their judgement isn’t 100% dead on. And sometimes they overreact. But until you get out there and put yourself in harms way on a daily basis, you can’t really say that there will never be a situation where that level of force would be appropriate. Heck, without more evidence, you can’t even say it wasn’t appropriate this time.

    • Antinous says:

      That cyclist could have been a reptilian overlord. He could have just eaten a baby. He could have killed Jimmy Hoffa. The things that happen off camera are amazing! And by amazing, I mean delusional.

  188. pahool says:

    Is it possible that the cyclist was on fire and the cop was just trying to smother the flames?

  189. Bugs says:

    @ 304, Keeper of the Lantern:

    >> bicycles have many of the same rights to the road as cars do.

    Absolutely true. However, cyclists also have the same responsibilities that drivers do. Specifically, the responsibilities to obey traffic law and give their fellow road users a little slack every now and then.

    >> the Critical Mass folks … know they as bicycle riders have rights, and even if others don’t like the way the express them, well that’s tough.
    Of course cyclists have he right to ride safely on the roads, be respected by fellow road users and to be yeilded to a rghts of way. We do NOT have the right to disregard any laws that incovenience us, deliberately obstruct other road users and generally act like arses. Rights and responsibilities: they come hand-in-hand.

    It’s really very simple:
    Many drivers are dangerous idiots; the rest are normally fine but make occasional mistakes
    Many cyclists are dangerous idiots; the rest are normally fine but make occasional mistakes
    Many pedestrians are dangerous idiots; the rest are normally fine but make occasional mistakes
    Most important, EVERYONE thinks that they’re the one shining exception on the road; they are all wrong.

    This drivers vs. cyclists anger is just typical human “us against them” mentality at its most pathetic. Neither side realises how much they annoy and endanger the other, so this petty feud escalates. Just accept that they’re not perfect and that you’re not perfect, then modify your expectations and your own behaviour accordingly.

    For the record, I live and work in the centre of a big city where I cycle, drive and walk on a regular basis. I know first hand how dangerous and inattentive some drivers are, how dangerous and arrogant some cyclists are and how dangerous and stupid some pedestrians are. Every side is as bad as the other and treats the others with as much contempt. Just grow up, learn to deal with it and try to set a good example.

  190. Church says:

    “Is being a jackass legal grounds for assault now?”

    If you’re a cop, then yeah, pretty much. Although I’m sure they refer to it as an “unseating.”

  191. Xopher says:

    Takuan 137: What, you think the bicyclist’s injuries will have healed, the charges dropped, and his bicycle repaired at NYPD expense?

  192. EH says:

    “The vast majority of cyclists in NYC don’t wear helmets. If this cyclist wore a helmet would it actually justify what happened?”

    Nothing “justifies” it as far as we’ve seen, and besides, upthread I asked what level of offense would justify knocking a helmetless rider into a curb. Crickets were heard.

    “That’s sick, but it’s not the same cop and it’s a prejudiced parallel.”

    It’s the same thing as what is happening here with the CM haters. Now, what would be a valid reason for an officer to body check a bicycle rider into a curb?

  193. jjankechu says:

    Please. Don’t you think a web forum demands a much lower burden of proof than an investigation or trial? Cos guess which one you’re partaking in here…?

    #253 has a good summation of why, from viewing the video, it’s not reasonable to assume that the cyclist is guilty of an off-camera infraction.

    @ DBarak
    Might it be possible that the bike-riding thugs misinterpreted your actions as you “made a point of safely going around [them]“? After all, you’re operating a 1-ton vehicle–what seems safe to you might not seem so safe to a cyclist. Plus, I find it telling that you phrased it as “making a point”. Seems to me like you were spoiling for a confrontation.

  194. Joel Johnson says:

    #14 POSTED BY TAKUAN , JULY 28, 2008 12:00 PM
    gee…it’s almost as if New York cops were cowardly, brutal pigs…. whoddathunkit?

    What a nuanced view you’ve offered!

  195. Talia says:

    I like how the myfox article calls the bike rider “the Vasquez” in the last line. Not just any Vasquez, but THE VASQUEZ. That cop is in such deep crap. ;)

  196. toxonix says:

    “riding through red lights and f’ing up traffic to no end”

    Thats kind of the point I think. It’s like a rolling ball of disaster shutting down traffic at any time. Like a sewer overflow, a water main bursting, a gas line erupting.
    What probably happened here is not random violence, but planned, coordinated attack on the biker for reasons not captured by the video. I think we’re looking at the result of something that happened earlier, seen by an officer and radioed ahead. This guy was singled out for some reason. Not to say he deserved what he got (it was a pretty good hit), but I’m just saying it doesn’t look random. If the cop had an order to stop someone, he certainly did.

  197. Ceronomus says:

    Frankly, I have zero sympathy for the NY Critical MESS bike crew who do nothing but intentionally cause traffic problems and look for trouble.

    If they were as pleasant as the Chicago group apparently is, there probably wouldn’t be a problem. But just being a bunch of jackasses who ignore traffic laws and think that they can do whatever they want (including riding down pedestrians), they aren’t raising awareness of anything except what trash they are.

    Causing motorists to hate cyclists does NOT make cycling safer. Quite the contrary.

  198. mattymatt says:

    The NYPD “remains adversarial”? Seems like the bicyclists are the ones creating a tense confrontation.

  199. cabbotage says:

    I’m a cyclist and I’ve lived and commuted (and just ridden around) in both NYC and SF – and I CAN’T STAND the critical mass events.

    I’m sure that a number of people involved are truly interested in making the city a safer place for cyclists – but it seems like there are just as many people just getting off on riding through traffic and shutting down intersections. Maybe the trouble makers are just One Percenters – but there are absolutely groups of riders that are just waiting for some motorist to honk their horn at a cyclist that just swerved out in front of them or some other minor infraction as an opportunity to surround the car and start yelling at the driver.

    I love cycling, I love cyclists, and it’s true that a lot of motorists aren’t as aware of cyclists as they should be… but critical mass events are just stupid.

  200. Mythus says:

    @Nephlabobo

    Good for you, judging an entire nation on the actions of a few people.

  201. Takuan says:

    really now Xopher, you don’t honestly think the peasants figure into the equation?

  202. Grim Beefer says:

    The cop was wrong and evil, and it’s disparaging to see how far some of you will sink to defend a Nazi. If the cyclist did some other heinous crime outside the scope of the camera, such as theft or vandalism, why wasn’t he charged with it? Obviously, this is just plain old police brutality.

    Here are some points about biking for you irate drivers and pedestrians from a biker that does Critical Mass occasionally.

    1. The idea of Critical Mass is to ride as a group. If you stopped at lights, you’d find that your ride was cut in half, and half, and half. Eventually you’d have a soup of cars and bikes that would be far more dangerous for everyone involved. In the interest of the group, the bikes must stay together, and that means running lights for unification’s sake. You folks cry about Critical Mass being aggressive, but if you ride bikes for transportation anywhere in this nation, you will find yourself dealing with outright hostile drivers on a daily basis. Several people I know have been the victims of hit and run accidents, and I, thankfully, have avoided such a fate so far. This doesn’t excuse people being assholes though, just a little bit of context from the other side of the windshield

    2. You irate pedestrians can go boo hoo yourself to sleep. Bikes need momentum to operate efficiently, and you, as a pedestrian, have a much larger percentage of your momentum diffused into the ground plane each time you take a step. It requires less work for you to stop than a bike, in other words. A strong case can be made that the “right of way” should be given to self powered vehicles that are wheeled and dependent on momentum (bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, etc.. No biker is going to intentionally run over a crossing pedestrian, but personally I’m not going to slam on the brakes on an uphill slope just so some dude can cut across the street. He/she can, and should, wait a second for me to pass so I don’t lose a lot of momentum.

    3. Traffic is traffic. Where is the indignation at a “normal” traffic jam composed entirely of automobiles? Bikes take to the streets, and we suddenly have these “instigators” clogging up traffic. The point is that bikes are traffic, and you as an auto driver are also clogging up the road for the bikers. Many of you seem to inherently think that car > bike and this isn’t the case, legally or ethically.

    4. The case mentioned here is a telling example of spin. Two people have listed this story as a case of cyclist violence, which is true, but they left out the part about the driver running over bikers first! If I run you over in a car, and you in turn beat the shit out of me, I think we’re pretty even in my book. Besides that, the claim was made that the driver was “surrounded” by thugs and panicked, but I can make the same ridiculous case being embedded in car traffic. People are responsible for their own actions, so quit grouping them together in artificial brackets. The driver could have easily avoided any confrontation by sitting still. In other words, by NOT DRIVING for a few moments until the cyclists passed, as they would have veered around him, and the problem would have been solved. What he did was criminal, and he definitely did not get what he deserved (he was charged with nothing in the incident, despite being the instigator).

  203. grimc says:

    Obviously, the cop recognized the cyclist as the guy who mercilessly bullied him in 1st grade and the flood of memories being called “doo-doo head” was too powerful to restrain.

    But seriously, the reason the cop chose him to knock down is because he was the last biker in the group so he thought he could get away with it.

  204. mgfarrelly says:

    Antinous nailed it. Unless this gentleman just committed some egregious crime off camera there was simply no call for that kind of force. Even then, as a take-down method that cop put people on the sidewalk at risk if the riders had swerved into the crowd.

    The speculation in the Gothamist thread includes the thought that this rider was tagged for something earlier and the cops were on the look out.

    I’m not a fan of Critical Mass. I’m a cyclist and I don’t like large, leaderless rides that flaunt traffic laws. Sharing the road cuts both ways and CM’s far to confrontational for my tastes.

    That said, this act is inexcusable, criminal and sickening.

  205. gandalf23 says:

    On the cyclists going through red lights:

    Not that this seems to be the reason at the CM rides, but around here most of the lights are traffic activated (and they all should be to stop the stupid ass make people wait five minutes while idling before the next cycle comes up when there is no traffic crap, but I digress…). The activators require a large metal mass, much more than my feeble bicycle. So if there is no traffic, or a lull I can bike through, I will run a red light if I know that the light will never turn green while I’m there (unless some random car drives up, and I tend to bike in low traffic areas). Now, I tend to stop at the red light to check it out, not just barrel on through, because I try not to be a statistic and a couple of the lights that are this way have trees and crap where you can’t really see oncoming traffic. So on those I’ll cross to the median/middle, then stop, look, then go again if it’s clear.

    So while disobeying traffic laws is bad and should be discouraged, in some cases it’s not so bad and kinda needed. But again, it does not sound like this is the reason CM is running lights, and frankly most of the cyclists I see near downtown or on the weekends around town are just blazing through lights willy nilly, and are, in my opinion, being jerks.

  206. enginerd94303 says:

    Kind of reminds we when I was in a cross-walk on critical mass night and had the green when I was told to “GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY” by several bicyclists, who I then had to dodge.

    I know police brutality sucks, but this made me laugh :P

  207. RikF says:

    “Just wait a couple of years, until the barrel goes up to 500$. Then there will be a Critical Mass every day. Everywhere. All the time.”

    I hope there won’t. Now, a huge number of courteous, well behaved, law abiding cyclists would be wonderful, but a giant CM mob preventing anyone else from using our streets would be a nightmare. Cyclists who break road rules make the roads less safe for themselves and everyone else. Simple as that.

  208. coveralls says:

    seems obvious to me this biker did something naughty off-camera… can’t imagine what tho. failed to hand signal?

  209. TonyB. says:

    Critical Mass has been in the news a lot lately. Here in Seattle on Friday they took a guy out of his car, beat him up and slashed his tires (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/372364_criticalmass27.html). There is some serious bad blood between cyclists and and motorists. Personally I don’t see one positive thing that CM has actually done, just a lot of bad press. One of the big things is “corking”. They basically become “enforcers” to block cars from entering traffic while they are on a ride. I don’t know about you, but being surrounded by a bunch of bike people that are adversarial in their approach doesn’t make me feel very safe. Personally with the climate of this country I am surprised one of them hasn’t been shot by some scared overzealous gun nut. It can very easily happen. Do to this last incident in Seattle, there are cries from the public to treat CM like a gang and have the Seattle Gang Unit deal with them. I’d rather just see CM act like humans and let the PD deal with the real gang problems.

  210. AirPillo says:

    Well, this has gotten more than just blog coverage, it seems… considering I just saw it on a local ABC news report all the way here in California.

  211. jbettineski says:

    I don’t feel too bad when stuff happens to Critical Mass.

    They’re out for a confrontation and they act shocked when they get one.

    They want to get martyred so they can complain and post youtube videos about it later.

    The cop was trying to set an example.

    Right or wrong, they were looking for conflict and found some.

  212. mgfarrelly says:

    Yeah, the guys in my neighborhood who are well over the age of 13 who ride on the sidewalks are just obnoxious. Seeing them swerve around older people and strollers with the ubiquitous white ipod headphones in…come now.

    As for pedestrian CM, I think we’re going to reach a point of personal balkanization where we’re all just standing in place, sitting on bikes or ensconced in cars blocking each other. A nation of Bartleby’s choosing not to.

    Just share. Little kids can do it and so can grown-ups.

  213. consideredopinion says:

    Well said #232 William.

    re: #246 EH – “Now, what would be a valid reason for an officer to body check a bicycle rider into a curb?”

    I can only see “(imminent) threat to self or others” being a reasonable justification for the kind of action the police officer took in the video. Even if there was some other non-videoed evidence to support the cop’s interdiction, the entire manner of it was excessive and risky. I don’t think my criteria for physical interdiction were fulfilled.

    Other notable: the cyclist started to deflect to avoid hitting the police officer who stood in the pathway – so if nothing else, that cop cannot declare a self-defense motive.

  214. AirPillo says:

    Now, it’s pretty obvious that the guy on the bicycle was taken down on purpose, and pretty damn roughly too… but without a backstory who knows if it was mindless violence or simply an overly-rough but ad hoc intervention.

    Why were the officers standing in the middle of the street? Why did one of them single this person out? Why was someone else allowed to come up and seemingly take custody of the person’s bicycle?

    At best people here can conjecture, and if I had to do so I’d guess that the fellow in question stole a bike or was in a hit-and-run accident or something of the sort. Something that did, indeed, provoke a police response… even if it should have been a less sudden and aggressive one.

    I’ve had my share of police officers acting like jerks, but I’m not one to hop on the “cops are pigs” bandwagon, because lots of the cops I knew were anything but, and it is sometimes entirely too easy for someone to catch evidence of part of a confrontation which, out of context, looks like a senseless assault.

  215. Jenn2D2 says:

    Any mob is a bad mob.

    I feel bad for this cyclist, but without seeing the whole situation, it is really difficult to say what might have preceded this. They might have his a two year old in a crosswalk, or the police officer might have had a close encounter with a bike in his youth and went bananas.

  216. Xopher says:

    DBarak, I think you missed the point of that disemvowelling. If it had been one offending word, that word alone would have lost its vowels.

    No, SamF, it’s not justified. There are plenty of ways to stop a bicycle without knocking the rider to the pavement. There are two cops there; they could have grabbed his handlebars. Do you hear the cop yelling for the rider to stop in the video? Several people have said he didn’t.

    And please note, I didn’t say there was no situation where it would be understandable or excusable. ‘Justified’ means “it was the right thing to do in those circumstances.” If the rider just blew the head off another cop with a sawed-off shotgun, dropped the gun and rode on just before this video started, the cop’s behavior would be understandable and IMO excusable, but it still wouldn’t be justified.

  217. zeta says:

    @ minTphresh: You may want to reconsider your proposal, since I am from Berlin which would make you a german citizen – not dutch. (still interested? ;-) ) The Netherlands are in my opinion way ahead of everyone else in terms of bikes and bike-friendly (and livable) cities, way better then most parts of Germany, which is IMHO in this field ahead of the USA. Actually, the tone of this discussion reminds me a lot of the german attitude towards bikers about 20 years ago. That has changed quite a bit, so there should be hope. And yes, I believe events like Critical Mass help a lot with that.

  218. holtt says:

    Interesting story about CM gone bad in Seattle here

    Kinda like getting surrounded by thugs in the wrong part of town. What do you do? Drive? Sit? Get out of the car? Sounds like he tried to drive and was freaking out. If I had my family in the car I would too. You tell me, what would you do?

  219. Cpt. Tim says:

    “If they hit me, they are going pay TWO times. Once, when I beat the crap out of them for running into me, the second time in court.”

    By that logic you’ll pay twice as well. Once when you get ran over by a bike, and a second time in court.

    or haven’t you heard that assault is ALSO against the law.

  220. Merc says:

    Wow.

    The cop doesn’t warn him (the audio is pretty clear there) and the rider is pretty obviously trying to avoid the cop while staying on the road. There isn’t anything that would justify that. If the guy were wanted for murder the cop should have ordered him to stop, instead he hits him with a cheap shot with no warning.

    I’ve been stopped while on a bike and it’s really easy to do it properly, you stand in the path of the biker, hold out a hand and yell “stop” or “pull over”. If he had done that and the biker had still tried to get around him then maybe they would be justified in knocking him off his bike, depending on the seriousness of the original charge.

    But watch it, the cop keeps his hands at his waist and says nothing in order to disguise the cheap shot he’s about to land.

  221. BCJ says:

    Upon watching the footage for a second time, I can’t help feeling that the biker is specifically targeted. I would also hazard to guess that a cop wouldn’t just randomly take someone out like that. I think there is a lot more to this story than the video suggests.

  222. Talia says:

    “n the interest of the group, the bikes must stay together, and that means running lights for unification’s sake.”

    Um. what about interest of other people on the road? By running a red light you endanger everyone else on the entire road. Bicyclists are NOT more important than drivers!

  223. method says:

    The Critical Mass in Pittsburgh is pretty gentle. The only rule-breaking is running red-lights at intersections to keep the pack together, but if we didn’t do that it would take longer for traffic to clear, right?

  224. Bob Doles Communist Doppelganger says:

    @145

    Nobody fucks with the Vasquez.

  225. EH says:

    This thread is made of fail, running in circles.

  226. lasermike026 says:

    The headline is all wrong. It should read:

    Victim Assaulted By Police Officer.

    I work in NY. Where is his badge and gun? When will he be fired? When will the DA prosicute?

  227. Talia says:

    “He/she can, and should, wait a second for me to pass so I don’t lose a lot of momentum. ”

    If said pedestrian is in a crosswalk, your point fails. If you refuse to sto pfor a pedestrian in a crosswalk because “oh no, I’ll lose momentum!” you should have your bicycle permanently taken away as being a hazard. Just ignore this if you of course didn’t mean to imply anything about crosswalks.

  228. Antinous says:

    Grim Beefer,

    If you’re trying to get more people angry at bicyclists, you’re doing a brilliant job.

  229. ZippySpincycle says:

    I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Boise is not NYC, but I think Idaho traffic law, Title 49-720 has the right idea: Cyclists are allowed to roll through stop signs and to ride through red lights after stopping, provided, of course, that they do so with an eye to safety and yield to any traffic that has the right of way.

    On the other hand, this doesn’t make the guy in my neighborhood who screams “TITLE 49-720!!” at motorists any less of a jerk.

  230. EH says:

    The cyclist was obviously targeted for not wearing a helmet. What better reason to knock him off his bike into the curb?

    And if this cyclist was “previously targeted,” the cops sure don’t seem to be very concerned with finding him, seeing how they are walking with their backs to the flow of riders.

  231. rageahol says:

    for everyone who’s bitching about cyclists who run red lights and/or stop signs:

    i ride my bike as my sole method of transportation. i try and be as safe as i can at all times. i am aware of the most statistically likely collisions and how to avoid them. i intend on becoming a league of american cyclists safety instructor the next time they hold the training in my area.

    but

    when i tried a little experiment, where i stop for all the stop signs and lights (and of course i’m TAKING THE LANE if there’s no bike lane, because that is unquestionably the statistically safest place to be), the ire of the motorists behind me spiked about fifty kajillion percent. (it’s hard to properly quantify these things, but it was huge).

    this is because, i think, it takes a lot more time for me, with human power, to get back up to speed using my legs, than it does for someone in a GMC DeathMonster(tm) to just stomp on the gas. basically, I FUCKING RUN STOP SIGNS AND OCCASIONALLY RED LIGHTS BECAUSE IT IS IN FACT SAFER THAN HAVING PEOPLE NEARLY CLIP ME WHILE TRYING TO GET AROUND ME IN AN INTERSECTION.

    bikes are not cars. (most) bikers have a well developed sense of self preservation and are aware of traffic laws, but WHEN TRAFFIC LAWS ACTUALLY CONFLICT WITH BEST SAFETY PRACTICES, MOST PEOPLE WILL FUCKING SIDE WITH THEIR OWN SAFETY OVER MANNERS. WE DONT WANT YOU TO HIT US WITH YOUR CARS EITHER, SO DONT PRETEND LIKE WE DONT KNOW WHATS GOOD FOR US.

  232. urbivore says:

    I agree that there seems to be an inordinate amount of lashing out at cyclists nowadays. What’s with all the bike hate? http://tiny.cc/Jq4BP

  233. sonny p fontaine says:

    nothing good happens in midtown

  234. qurve says:

    Snds lk gd strt t m. CM s gnrlly rgrdd s bnch f dchbgs by mst ppl knw wh rn’t drty hpps.

  235. Talia says:

    Everyone knows all bicyclists are babyeating reptillian overlords.

  236. jacob_ewing says:

    NICKD@325:
    Nice link! For anyone who clicked and found it not working, that’s ’cause there’s a redundant slash after the domain name. Here’s the working URL:

    http://www.ratemycop.com/index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=169565

  237. holtt says:

    Well I can see the cop going to get out of the street (that’s what he was doing). He sees a bike coming down on him and gets a “WTF?” thought and shoves the guy, thinking he’s gonna hit him.

    But that said, the bike was trying to get out of his way (but didn’t really slow down), the cop definitely sped up to intercept (when he could have stopped or stepped back). There were options to be had here that didn’t get taken.

  238. SamF says:

    @#140: I don’t think you quite grasp the concept of Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor roughly says that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. So by your logic it is a simpler explanation to assume that this officer (who can be clearly seen deliberately moving toward the cyclist) did this because he snapped and had a fit of rage? Why not target one of the closer cyclists? Why be so deliberate and consciencious about it?

    No, Occam’s Razor says that we must assume that the officer is acting as an officer. And by doing so, his actions are carried out in consideration of upholding the law. Which means that we have to assume that the officer is indeed targeting the individual (as he appears to be in the video) and that he is doing so because the individual has committed a crime and the officer is using what he determined at the moment to be the correct use of force.

    Now, this does not imply that the officer WAS absolutely in the right and used the exact right amount of force and was definitely carrying out the letter of the law in his actions. It just means that, all other things being equal, that is what we should assume.

  239. method says:

    Holtt, that story is pretty clear. The guy should have waited. I don’t know why the Seattle Times reported it that way. They quote the police, who weren’t there, and then at the end they quote a series of eyewitnesses who all say that it was an attempted hit and run followed by vigilante justice, including the guy who was hit and a father who was riding with his son (and has no reason to lie).

  240. zeta says:

    @ Antinous: Thanks a for your comment, made my day.

  241. BlackBanana says:

    I don’t believe it to be a universal truth that everyone reacting defensively in favor of the officer is doing so on the basis of some misguided internal rationalization process. We’re all very much aware that abuses of authority take place regularly, everywhere (except Chicago apparently). In fact, I am willing to admit that the officers response to the “attempted assault” is woefully disproportionate to the alleged crime.

    However, in this case, there is something that just screams ‘total asshat’ on the part of the cyclist. Come on, I live and work in SF and I KNOW that Critical Mass isn’t exclusively populated by the altruistic do-gooders they make themselves out to be. No more than a municipal police department anyway.

  242. Talia says:

    #162 good luck with that practice when you get hit by someone who’s rightfully taking their turn at a stopsign or light. I’ll send you flowers in the hospital.

  243. desiredusername says:

    @Takuan #267 “everyone seems to miss the main point her; the mountain bike heretics and the filthy recent fixy hipsters should not not be allowed on public streets with decent street bike owners.”

    What’s wrong with how “recent” the “fixy hipsters” are?

  244. zeta says:

    I don’t know what I find more astounding – this brutal assault (no other way to call it) on a cyclist or the vitriolic comments here. As I understand it – from the other side of the pond – Critical Mass is an event to raise awareness for cyclists and their rights. So clearly this has the character of a demonstration, but on bikes. I have never heard about a demonstration that had to wait for traffic lights?! And yes, it is also the essence of a demonstration to annoy a few people. This is unfortnate, but probably the price you have to pay for living in a big city.
    Also how anyone could defend this cops action is beyond me. I don’t believe this cyclist did anything wrong, I think they just picked someone. And even if he had done something before – you cannot risk killing someone just to arrest him.

  245. dbarak says:

    >>DBarak, I think you missed the point of that disemvowelling. If it had been one offending word, that word alone would have lost its vowels.

    Well the second version got through with me changing the one word I thought might be found offensive. If it was the sentiment of the sentence that caused offense, well, I stand by my words.

  246. Jack says:

    This is brutal and nasty if what we’re seeing is the whole story. But something doesn’t add up at all about what happened. This is not just a Critical Mass ride—which is well documented by the riders to avoid these kind of things—but it’s in Times Square and with tons of people looking on and filming/photographing.

    Either this cop is just a complete idiot, or there’s something that was happening when the cyclist approached that’s missing.

    Could it be that the cyclist did something earlier in the ride, and then someone radioed his description in and this cop spotted him and shoved him to arrest him?

    FWIW, I think the NYPD has been a bit harsh on Critical Mass riders, but I’d really like to hear the fully story about this or at list see a front angle of this happening.

  247. Bottlekid says:

    Seems like we’d all do well to demand more, improved public transportation.

  248. AGF says:

    I ride my bike everyday and it is my only means of transportation. And I can tell you it can be really scary. I’m a girl and I’m not big and scary. I have to ride home from work at all sorts of hours and I don’t live in the best neighbourhood I also live in a city that is covered in ice and snow for pretty much half the year and is not designed to be bicycle friendly. I obey laws as long as I can do so safely. At 1 am in the bad part of town – I don’t stop at red lights. I slow down and look but if I don’t want to be sitting there, I’ll make a right turn or stop really early if I don’t feel safe going through. I also ride on the sidewalk when the road is too dangerous – like really icy or a really busy road. When I approach pedestrians I slow down to walking speed and say – really “sorry, excuse me, can I pass you?” really or I go onto the grass.
    I have had people yell at me for being on the road, yell at me for being on the sidewalk, yell at me and throw a bottle at me for wearing lights (?), I’ve been spit at while trying to bike up a hill, I’ve had someone yell ‘fck you’ while I waited to cross the street in the middle of the night, yell at me for taking a lane, yell at me for being in the designated bike lane, and nearly hitting me when I was riding on the shoulder. That’s not even getting into the daily – honking and nice helmet nice ass nice tits – which may be genuine but after the rest of it how am I supposed to feel? I fell off my bike a few summers ago because someone was making a right turn on a red and didn’t notice me crossing out of a bike path on green light. I fell pretty hard and hurt my elbow and hit my head (I was wearing a helmet – saved my face too!) The car stopped and asked if I was ok – my dad said he didn’t know and they drove away. So that’s why people have to protest. Because we aren’t safe.
    I have never ridden a CM, but it is a protest. Civil disobedience is really important. You break laws because they are bad or you are trying to make a point about a bad situation. I can tell you riding in my city is a bad situation and it needs to change. You can’t always create change by being nice. Now I’m not saying pounding on you car, freaking out you kids or beating a motorist is cool – it isn’t! But running some red lights and clogging up traffic is a fair thing to do. I obey laws when I believe they are moral and just. I do not obey them when I feel they are wrong, endangering me or when something needs to be protested.

  249. gladeye says:

    Y’all should check out the much more pleasant Critical Tits ride at Burning Man each year. Hundreds (thousands?) of topless women circling the playa along the Esplenade. And they never get yelled at or knocked off their bikes.

  250. dainel says:

    There are a few people people here who says that perhaps the cyclist did something earlier, and the cops were actually looking for him. Still doesn’t justify the unnecessary assault by the policeman.

    Maybe 10 minutes ago, he had just slit the throat of a 3 year old girl and raped her mother. Then took off and tried to blend into CM. Just imagine the report, … “I thought he was the suspect. He fitted the description. Just bad luck he was someone else. And who would have thought that he would hit his head on the pavement and died. That was a really evil crime, and I was just trying to punish him. Too bad I got the wrong guy.”

  251. ephzero says:

    I watched it several times, and honestly, it looked like an accidental collision to me. It looks like both of the cops are trying to leave the street, going to the left, and the cop in front is trying to hurry in front of that cyclist.

    I’m not trying to side with anyone; I wasn’t there and don’t know exactly what happened, but it just looks different to me.

  252. Cpt. Tim says:

    “Occam’s razor leads me to think that the cop is NOT targeting a specific person. He may instead have gotten so frustrated and angry, he was ready to lash out.”

    I think this is a pretty questionable use of the razor. Someone could just as easily say “Occams razor suggests that if the cop tackled him, he must have done something wrong that we don’t see on camera.. he is after all a police officer.”

    Not that I think that, I think the officer was most likely in the wrong. however since I in no way possess all the facts i’m not going to say one way or the other. Just saying. This doesn’t seem like an appropriate application of Occams Razor.

  253. dbarak says:

    ” #283 posted by jjankechu , July 29, 2008 8:26 AM
    @ DBarak
    Might it be possible that the bike-riding thugs misinterpreted your actions as you “made a point of safely going around [them]“? After all, you’re operating a 1-ton vehicle–what seems safe to you might not seem so safe to a cyclist. Plus, I find it telling that you phrased it as “making a point”. Seems to me like you were spoiling for a confrontation.”

    Certainly it’s possible that my actions were misinterpreted by the riders. My phrase “made a point” is a case of poorly chosen wording on my part. I didn’t make an obvious show of going around them. What I meant was that I went around them — safely — after seeing them riding. (Riding like lunatics, I might add.)

    If my effort to go around them appeared unsafe to them, it’s only because they were the ones riding in a completely ridiculous and unsafe way.

    I still maintain that I did nothing wrong and that the assault was unjustified. I wasn’t spoiling for a confrontation, and in fact I’d never heard of Critical Mass until days or weeks after the incident. That was the first (and so far, only) time I’ve seen a mass of cyclists riding like that.

  254. desiredusername says:

    Cyclist should follow the rules of the road, I will agree but Critical Mass causes a disruption for about 5 minutes out of every month. That’s 5 out of every 43,829.0639 minutes.

    Call the waaambulance people.

    The thin blue line is whether the cyclist was charging the cop on his bike or not. Certainly as a Critical Mass participant, the cyclist was reveling in the feeling that for once he doesn’t need to yield and the cop wanted him to need to yield so the cop staged a confrontation and then fucked the guy up and charged him with the classic: Arrested for resisting arrest.

  255. dbarak says:

    Antinous, it’s not an idle threat. It’s a certainty. I have a right to protect myself and my property, and I WILL respond to an assault appropriately.

  256. Phikus says:

    DBARAK@322: Why don’t you get a video camera and film the next time you are assaulted, post it on youtube, and then we’ll all sympathize with you. Don’t take it our on us that a few assholes ruined your day. Why don’t you write the editor of your local paper or start your own website to complain about CW. You are sounding like a broken record. Nothing CW ever did to you or anyone else can justify what Officer Pogan did to the cyclist in the video, which is what this thread is actually about; not a sounding board for your pent up frustration about your incident, however horrific it may have been. Please let it go and get a hobby: cycling, perhaps…

    BTW, people get the shit beat out of them daily simply for being in the wrong part of town. I’m not saying this is right, but do you think they should also hijack this thread?

    Those of you with an active imagination: In all fairness, I’ll bet you could come up with reasons Dbarak may have been askin’ for it (or is that only reserved for entanglements vs. cops?)

  257. bikesrulecarzdrool says:

    Carz:
    1. Pollute the environment.
    2. Help fund the neo-con agenda.
    3. Help fund Saudi Arabian governments with despicable human rights records (especially women’s rights issues.)
    4. Help bankroll Chinese government (as we’re up to our eyes in credit to the Bank of China) (again, rights violations)
    5. Are the cause of the Iraqi Wars.

    Bikez:
    Rule

    I’m sure that none of the people here that are admonishing these cyclists for their ‘illegal’ activities would ever be caught dead crossing the street against a red. That would be a traffic violation Everyone chooses what laws they will or will not obey. The problem here is that it is unconstitutional to only enforce laws against a set group of people.

    People that drive cars or take taxis (without valid reason) in NYC are lazy idiots.

  258. Jack says:

    @ EPHZERO, if that was the case, why was the rider in question charged with assault. If it’s an accident, it’s an accident but this was just weird.

  259. Takuan says:

    everyone seems to miss the main point her; the mountain bike heretics and the filthy recent fixy hipsters should not not be allowed on public streets with decent street bike owners.

  260. Jupiter12 says:

    Kudos to the NYPD for stripping the cop of his gun and badge. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

  261. hagbard says:

    The other cop said, “Hey, isn’t that Puck from the Real World San Francisco?”

  262. eustace says:

    Well, if it is his dad passing on family wisdom, we can be glad that avoiding cell cams is too new to pass on!
    I get along pretty well with cops. I spent most of a day with two LAPD patrolmen a few weeks ago. Once I discovered that they were both ex-Army heli pilots we got along beautifully (I used to rappel out of Army helis). Neither of them flew for law enforcement, though, and their opinions of that kind of flying were very interesting!
    Most interesting, though, were the attitudes they held regarding their jobs and responsibilities. One of them was a bit more philosophical (and a bit older) than the other; but the younger one got a bit hot under the collar telling us about a collar he made. He chased the guy through three backyards and an alley then knocked him down. The guy looked up at him and said “I coulda got away!” He pointed out to me, quite steamed, that he carried almost thirty pounds of gear on him. His partner laughed, and told me that after fifteen (I think) years, if you get a back injury, they just assume it’s job related.
    Both were pretty happy with the idea of having cameras on patrol cars – the younger one even seemed guardedly enthusiastic about cameras on personal gear. And I can see why. Having more points of view is a good thing, even literally. These guys know that the civilian’s cameras are out there; having some of their own seems only fair.

  263. Ceronomus says:

    Critical Mass riders suffer from the same problem a lot of people in cars do, they think that they own the road and that they are somehow better than everyone else.

    1) Neither auto or cyclists are “better”
    2) If a car gets hit by a bike while running a red light, the guy in the car doesn’t get killed.

    Safety and sanity. CM does nothing to promote this and instead continues to push an us vs. them mentality.

    As a driver, I give cyclists as much room as I can, however if they were to come whizzing up on either side of me while I’m driving? Just how smart is that…really?

    Again, if the cop just jumped this guy to jump him? He needs to get booted. However I think that is something to be determined in a court of law with ALL the evidence, not just a Youtube video.

  264. nemrel says:

    From the video you really don’t know what happened before the cop knocked him off the bike. He could of flipped the cop off – which usually isn’t illegal (but usually makes for a pissed off cop). He could of resisted an earlier attempt to stop him for doing something wrong. You just don’t know without witnesses or the entire story. It’s one of those times when the video doesn’t seem to tell the whole story.

    If he did nothing wrong then sure the cop should face punishment. Even if he did something wrong the cop should have some kind of repercussion for his the aggressive and excessive force.

  265. Johnny One Spur says:

    This, from wcbstv.com/seenon/cop.slams.biker.2.781944.html

    “[Officer] Pogan told officials that Long was obstructing traffic and that the biker was actually trying to run *him* down.”

    Once again, citizen video catches the cops in a lie. How long before NYPD says you can’t videotape on a public street? (Oh, wait! They already tried!)

  266. BlackBanana says:

    “The other cop said, “Hey, isn’t that Puck from the Real World San Francisco?””

    Ha, then the hit was definitely warranted.

  267. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Mebbe some one would like to sponsor the nice officer (Patrick Pogen)in a charity run? Just shows that you can’t be all bad!
    http://www.eventsonline.ca/cgi-bin/events/nypd5k/pledge.pl?id=JME1028103

  268. joshon says:

    50 bullets into Sean Bell.
    The beatings in Philidelphia.
    Death by tazer in Louisiana.

    We don’t need to defend the actions of police they have the courts for that. When people are so desensitized to such outrageous physical brutality on someone who is effectively participating in civil disobedience there is much to worry about. The comparisons to sport is disconcerting too, police brutality is not a game, it is an integral part of the occupation. This may not be the most egregious example of recent police violence but that is the problem – this violence is all to common place.

    On a more anecdotal level – I want to mention hypocrisy for a second. I watched a cop ride righteously (but not in some emergency hurry) for two blocks the wrong way down Valencia street in S.F. placing other cyclists going in the right direction in the awkward position of having to decide what side to go around him. The I nearly got bowled over by some sidewalk riding cops on bikes. Recently I watched cops on bikes ride through 3 reds in a row – I made a point of stopping at each light (didn’t want to get busted) and pass them in the blocks between.

    This aloofness appears deliberate. Beyond protecting private property I think the role of cops is to remind us of state control. Using a Nixonian madman theory to mess with our minds. I have no respect for these thugs and resent I have to pay for their racism, their violence and their arrogance.

  269. dbarak says:

    >>“I agree that there seems to be an inordinate amount of lashing out at cyclists nowadays. What’s with all the bike hate?”<<

    I don't hate cyclists, only the ones that assault me or cause inordinate and unfair disruptions to traffic. I've never yelled at a cyclist until they started pounding on my vehicle.

  270. Talia says:

    A threat involving mayonaise, weasels and silly putty would be significantly more entertaining.

  271. Sean Grimm says:

    I don’t really care what the cyclist was doing beforehand that cop clearly singled him out for some reason and assaulted him. In slow motion you can see the cyclist moving to the side to avoid the officer who steps directly into his path and lays him out on the pavement.

    There is no other way to call it. If it was just a lone cyclist riding down the street who was assaulted by an officer would you still be so lacking in basic human decency? (to the ones that seem to have none)

  272. ephzero says:

    @JACK, maybe it’s something that happened after he was knocked over. I don’t know. We have very little to go on here — what happened before this scene started? What happened afterwards?

  273. LeopardPrintHussy says:

    I was “corked” by CM in Seattle Friday night, the same one where they later assualted the guy.

    I didn’t honk the horn. Didn’t rev my engine. Didn’t make a face. What could I do?

    Well, someone spat on my windshield. Another one called me a stupid See You Next Tuesday. Then a few slammed their hands into my car. Did I mention my kids were with me?!?!

    Look, I moved out of Seattle proper so that I wouldn’t be car bound and could actually afford housing. I walk everywhere. I had an appointment with a specialist and then waited out traffic to get home. Why did this happen to me? My kids were starting to get really scared!

    I was not surprised in the least to hear what happened a few minutes later. I guess I should count myself lucky that I didn’t object to their spitting on me by saying anything or laying on the horn. Then one of them might have pulled out a knife, slashed my tires or worse, too.

    I don’t buy CM’s side. One said his leg was run over by the Subaru. Convenient how there was absolutely no injury to his legs.

    These guys were spoiling for a fight. I don’t know what happened in NYC and I’ll just remain agnostic until I have more facts. I know police are quite capable of abuse. But I know just how bad some of the hooligans that ride with CM here in Seattle are.

  274. Cpt. Tim says:

    “That cyclist could have been a reptilian overlord. He could have just eaten a baby. He could have killed Jimmy Hoffa. The things that happen off camera are amazing! And by amazing, I mean delusional.”

    Antinous, you’re smarter than this. A realistic person can just as easily accept that events can take place outside of the confines of a youtube video, and those events could have a bearing on what happened on the video.

    Focusing on specific images out of context may work in some situations, but in other situations could put innocent people in jail. If the cop was in the wrong, which by all appearances he was, other things such as the testimony of witnesses will be a factor in his punishment.

    • Antinous says:

      A realistic person can just as easily accept that events can take place outside of the confines of a youtube video

      A realistic person who observes the same wave of ‘blame the victim’ for every incident may reasonably guess that identifying with bullies is a bigger factor than a hypothetical unseen crime.

  275. jakze says:

    I commute by bike, and while I’ve never ridden Critical Mass I find it pretty chilling when people’s responses to this are “Well, CM is a bunch of hipster douches so this cyclist got what he deserved.” Just because a handful of cyclists behaved poorly in this incident or that incident doesn’t mean that all cyclists are jackasses – any more than me getting cut off in my own bike lane by some SUV driver means that all drivers are jackasses.

  276. SamF says:

    Xopher, I think you misunderstand the legal use of the word “justified”. Justified just means the officer had sufficient legal reson to do what he did. What if 3 other officers had tried the things that you suggest? Maybe one guy called for him to stop and he didn’t. Maybe the next guy tried to grab his handlebars and the guy kicked at the cop. Maybe another cop stood in front of the bike and the biker tried to run him down, or veered far and fast enough away from the cop to avoid him.

    Again, I’m not trying to say that what the cop did WAS justifiable. Just that there are a lot of people in this thread who sound like Ronnie Dobbs: “Y’all are brutalizin’ me!”

    Assuming that the cop was using unnecessary force is just as bad as assuming that the biker “had it coming”. Either way, people are making an assumption that it not necessarily correct. All we can say for certain are things about in the past and certain individuals. And these comments can be applied to both the police and the CM riders. And neither comments are proof of anything in this case.

    This video is compeltely out of context and doesn’t really provide evidence of anything except that an officer knocked down a cyclist. No judgement of justifiability or deservedness can be made from what we can see here.

  277. dbarak says:

    He he… well, if it got any more interesting, I’d probably find myself in hot water. ; )

    I’m usually pretty easy to get along with, but when people start beating on my vehicle for no good reason (and there was NO good reason), well, that tends to generate ill will.

    In fact, I’m all for what CM says they’re trying to achieve, but I don’t agree with the behavior of at least some of the participants. I’m happy to make room for bikes on the road, as long as they remember they’re on bikes and most of us are in steel monsters.

  278. Phikus says:

    DAINEL@266: Didn’t you read TNH’s thorough summation above (comment 253, point 3)? It doesn’t matter how dramatic and psycho killer your hypotheticals get, the facts just don’t support anything remotely like that as having happened.

    By the way, the guy who takes the bike away seemed to me to be simply another rider who stepped in to help make sure the bike didn’t get stolen or impounded before the cops had a chance to do that. If the cops aren’t the rare cool kind, (and it certainly seemed like they weren’t) they won’t let a buddy take the bike and they will impound it when they arrest someone, making the cyclist pay $75+ to get it back (and often it may get stolen or stripped in the impound lot.) Nothing sinister to read into that. Please move along now…

  279. The Life Of Bryan says:

    As a former cager who now rides every day, I can back up what #150 and #162 said: essentially, that stopping and waiting at every red light is not always the most rational course of action (although often it is). I’m not in a big city (but I will be part of Big Apple Roll next month), so I’m not defending the folks on 5th Avenue, but in a mid-sized town like mine (Wilmington, NC) you’ve got to adapt your actions to real life circumstances. I assure you, that as the one with the most to lose in a collision between my bike and your Ford Entitlement, I do not ever roll through a stop sign without being damn sure of what’s coming from all directions. I can also assure you that whether I use the bike lane painted on the side of the road or take the entire lane at an intersection has more to do with minimzing the odds of interacting with your vehicle in an uncomfortable manner than it does any political statement or show of aggression.

  280. nprnncbl says:

    mdhatter #99: (slf dsmvwl)

    pprv!

  281. dvdst says:

    EH:”DVDST: You should go have a drink with the cop’s dad”

    And when we have that drink I would probably repeat the very first sentence of my post:”I’m all for the right to demonstrate and protest and especially approve of protesting against violent cops that push people off bicycles”

  282. holtt says:

    Just because a handful of cyclists behaved poorly in this incident or that incident doesn’t mean that all cyclists are jackasses

    And the same is true of cops but some people forget that…

  283. AirPillo says:

    Antinous @75:
    “Guessing that there musta hadda oughta been some crime committed off camera in order to blame the victim – 0 IQ points. How many District Attorneys are in this comment thread?”

    That’s an oversimplification of the statements in question and mischaracterizes those who are putting forth such suggestions. Always attack the point in question, not the person making it.

    The most fair and reasonable position to take is to give the bicyclist and the officer equal credibility in the absence of further evidence. That would suggest that it is equally likely for there to be a good reason to stop the bicyclist as it is for this to be a more vaguely targeted assault. In really simple terms, the guy didn’t “have to” have done something to warrant being targeted, but neither did he “have to” be a complete innocent, either. He’s equally likely to fall into either category so it’s best not to paint them as some sort of hapless martyr, and not characterize the officer as a perpetrator of wanton violence.

    Of course most of us can agree that smacking the guy down without any clearly visible warning is really bad form and unjustified regardless. However, that’s the extent of the assumptions anyone can make about either party without seeing further evidence not present in the video.

    • Antinous says:

      The most fair and reasonable position to take is to give the bicyclist and the officer equal credibility in the absence of further evidence.

      The same doctrine that expels students for defending themselves against school bullies? I don’t think so. There’s video evidence of an assault. There’s idle speculation about the motive. I see no equality there.

  284. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    People on bikes can be cnts.Fact.
    People who are police can be cnts.Fact.
    We could be looking at a convergence!
    Please don’t take linguistic umbrage-I am Scots.

  285. dbarak says:

    #176 posted by Talia , July 28, 2008 2:44 PM

    A threat involving mayonaise, weasels and silly putty would be significantly more entertaining.

    How did you find out?!

  286. LeopardPrintHussy says:

    @Jakze

    You’re quite right. My commentary on Seattle is definitely about the aggressive mob mentality that was building in that event.

    I know nothing about what happened in NYC, so I have yet to form an opinion other than this: what I saw on the video seems pretty brutal. This guy on the bike needs to have done something fairly bad not caught on camera for this to be ok.

  287. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Whhhooo vida bona gadje DBrak!!poly minty!;)

  288. xerocracy says:

    It’s amazing to see some of the extreme over-reactions to CM by cops in other cities. In Vancouver they have city councilors and friendly-seeming bike cops along for the ride.

    I have to echo Zeta @45 – the whole point of a protest is to cause a disruption! If no-one has a reason to pay attention to your demonstration, there’s really no point…
    And blocking intersections is as much a matter of saftey – to keep the riders together.

    If you are commuting home and it’s the last friday of the month, consider taking the metro!

  289. Talia says:

    The Vasquez told me.

  290. hagbard says:

    Joking aside, I’m with the “there’s probably more to the story” camp.

    Our brains are designed to make judgments with however much information we have. A pro-survival trait.

    Still, none of us are presently about to get run over by this bicyclist or shoved over by this cop, so maybe it’s best to suspend judgment and see if more information becomes available.

  291. LeopardPrintHussy says:

    @ Desiredusername

    “but Critical Mass causes a disruption for about 5 minutes out of every month. That’s 5 out of every 43,829.0639 minutes.

    Call the waaambulance people.”

    For me, it was also five minutes of being spit on, my vehicle pounded on with fists and being called vulgar names while I actually idled patiently. It was trying to tell my kids these people would not hurt us and that everything was going to be ok while they cried and begged them to stop.

    This is more than a frakking inconvenience.

    Like it was for the guy who’s tires were slashed and had staples put in his head because he was bashed in the back of his skull by a u-lock.

  292. Jack says:

    Well, if this means anything according to the Associated Press:
    “The NYPD placed the unidentified officer on desk duty pending the outcome of a department investigation.”

  293. mgfarrelly says:

    “Man Vows Revenge on Those Who Might Possibly Wrong Him in the Future.”

    Dbarak, if someone did a thousand dollars worth of damage to you car, would it be worth years of your life while cooling your heel in prison? Or a lifetime of living as a felon? Losing your job, devastating you and your family’s finances? All that can, and likely will, happen if you start attacking cyclists. Especially if you make statements like this online and to people. A not very enterprising DA could easily take that as pre-meditation.

    It’s a car. It’s property. Things can be replaced, you have insurance and you can call the police.

    No car worth hurting a human being over.

  294. rageahol says:

    Sirkowski:

    “Statisticaly[sic], the majority of times a cyclist gets hurt by a car, it’s the cyclist’s fault.”

    that determination is made not by an independent third party, but by the cops. an alternative explanation would be that cops display bias towards cyclists in bicycle-vehicle accidents. given the amount of vitriol i see leveled at cyclists by civilians and cops alike, daily, i would suggest that the latter explanation is at the very least plausible.

    “But cyclists take their self-imposed high death rate and turn it into a persecution complex and a permission to not follow the rules.”

    oh, i didnt realize you were telepathic.
    btw, bicycling is significantly safer per-person-mile than driving. im not sure what “high death rate” you’re referring to, but there are a metric fuckton more deaths from motor vehicle accidents, both in absolute numbers and proportionally.

    “And yes, a cyclist can kill a pedestrian and it happens more times than you can imagine.”

    hm, is that more or less than the number or proportion of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles? i wonder.

    “It’s pretty simple, everybody needs to follow the fucking rules and nobody gets hurt.”

    sounds a lot like “if you have nothing to hide, then you dont need to worry” to me.

  295. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Whhhooo vida bona gadje DBrak!!poly minty!;)

  296. dbarak says:

    that stopping and waiting at every red light is not always the most rational course of action

    By the same token, you could apply the same thing to cars, as slowing down, idling and then accelerating burns a good deal of gasoline. Like a “cager,” bikers should maybe adjust their speed so they make the green lights.

    In the long run, the decisions rider make is going to affect their own lifespans, not those of the drivers around them. C’est la Vie.

  297. dbarak says:

    >>“I’m sure that none of the people here that are admonishing these cyclists for their ‘illegal’ activities would ever be caught dead crossing the street against a red.”<<

    I wouldn't do it if my safety was at risk. And I'd never do it in a car. The bottom line is that in an accident between a cyclist and a driver, the cyclist will lose. It's up to the rider to determine if it's worth the risk.

  298. JG says:

    Cops do what they want THEN let the courts straighten out the mess.

    If cops had less authority the courts would be less bogged-down.

    Cops in the USA are closer to an occupying force rather than the friendly public servants that they’d like you to believe.

    ###

  299. Neon Tooth says:

    It’s funny seeing all the critical mass hate, it happens like what? 12 times a year. What’s the chance of the average person even happening upon their route? Petty, petty people.

  300. Dillenger69 says:

    Cyclists can be real jerks, especially during protests.

    Cops can be real jerks, especially during protests.

    People can be real jerks, especially during protests.

  301. Cpt. Tim says:

    AirPillo: thank you for making my point far more eloquently than I did.

    I lean toward saying Antinous is right in his gut reaction, but lumping all people who want evidence or more information into the tinfoil hat crowd is a dangerous thing that can bite one on the ass later on.

  302. anomaly69 says:

    I wonder when the bikers will start taking up for themselves and beat the ever loving sh*t out of the cops that do this. There are way more bikers than cops, the numbers are on their side.

    Of course the police would react by banning the rides.

  303. Kebie says:

    Missing half the story. It looks like they singled out that particular person probably for a reason. They just didn’t pick a random person the critical mass.

  304. kilranian says:

    Seriously: Here’s the New York Post’s story.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/07272008/news/regionalnews/cop_shoves_bicyclist_121984.htm

    Nuff said.

  305. rageahol says:

    talia:

    thanks, but unnecessary. the “right hook” is so common that i generally cross over to the left side of a car that looks, either by orientation or because of a blinker, like it’s turning.

    best practices.

  306. DMcK says:

    To all the Devil’s Advocates here, a simple question: if this guy “did something earlier” to warrant this extreme response, why wasn’t he charged for it? “Attempted assault” and “resisting arrest” are just the usual bullshit the cops use to justify their actions after the fact. God knows Critical Mass are a bunch of dipshits, but this is nuts.

  307. dbarak says:

    Like it was for the guy who’s tires were slashed and had staples put in his head because he was bashed in the back of his skull by a u-lock.

    I also got that treatment from a third rider, hitting my passenger side window. Thankfully it didn’t break.

    “Man Vows Revenge on Those Who Might Possibly Wrong Him in the Future.”

    I don’t see it that way. Considering what happened to me (physical assault to my “person” resulting in a minor injury and property loss), I believe I would be justified in protecting myself (and my possessions) if it were to happen again. Keep in mind that I filed a police report, and the SDPD and Harbor Police tried to locate the mass of riders, but their group had broken up by the time the police arrived.

    I’m not going to go looking for a confrontation, and I’ll go out of my way to avoid one, but if one happens, then the bets are off.

  308. rageahol says:

    dbarak:
    if you dont see the difference between making a case for cautiously running stops for one’s own safety and running a stop because it will cost more money then i cant help you.

    you might, however, want to check out “reason” magazine or the objectivist society.

  309. dbarak says:

    >>” #290 posted by anomaly69 , July 29, 2008 9:58 AM ”

    Yeah, but the coppers have guns and radios (and batons and pepper spray and tasers and SWAT teams and helicopters and shotguns and the National Guard, oh my!). Probably not much of a match despite the numbers. ; )

  310. Johnny One Spur says:

    @187 Leopardprinthussy:

    You say that CM-ers spent five minutes beating and spitting on your car and being called names, while you didn’t do *anything* at all to provoke them? (“I was just idling patiently and a mob of angry cyclists attacked me with absolutely no provocation!”)

    I find it impossible to believe that a group of cyclists would just randomly choose *your* car to surround and threaten, without your having done *something* to make them angry–flipping them off, shouting at them, pulling out into the middle of a group of cyclists, or something… Sorry, your story’s just not believeable as told.

  311. stupidjerk says:

    That pg was just doing his job, that is flexing his authority and instilling fear in the badge (easier than respect!) through the usual use of violence and domination.

    Nuanced opinion of the police? Heh. Dfndng tht pg mks y pg. This might not be logically sound, but in my opinion, this is the way of the world…and defending monsters and goons is now way to live ones life…

    Also, police in chicago are WAY too busy shooting and torturing people of color (or in court claiming the didn’t) to deal with the privileged white cyclists who ride critical mass. Duh.

  312. Chris Tucker says:

    To each and every one who is claiming that the assaulted bike rider MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING to warrant a potentially lethal take down…

    Why wasn’t he charged with that alleged crime?

    The only charges are associated WITH the events seen on the video.

    Really, people. “Kiss the shiny, shiny boots of leather” are just lyrics in a Lou Reed song, and not SOP for living as a ‘free’ people in a ‘free’ country.

  313. Pipenta says:

    The snippet of video is awful. I hope that cyclist did something off camera to come close to justifying this. If there is no reason for this, that cop could just be a ticking time bomb.

    I am fortunate in that most of my interactions with the police have been positive. I’ve seen more poor behavior from people on bicycles. I especially hate it when people ride their bikes on the sidewalk. If you go on the sidewalk, dismount and walk your bike. If you ride in the street, obey the traffic laws. You aren’t special.

    I’ve gone on group skates through the streets of New York, back when rollerblading was big. We’d have packs of skaters 300 strong. We weren’t demonstrating, just having fun. The cops never hassled us. But we stopped at traffic lights and pretty much obeyed the traffic rules. If we were making a statement, it was this: WHEEEEEEEE!

    As it is more involved to remove skates than to dismount from a bike, on the sidewalk the simple solution is to slow to a walking pace.

    Courtesy and common sense people, courtesy and common sense is what’s needed. No matter if you are a cop, a cyclist, a skater or a pedestrian. There’s no call for getting all holier than thou or acting like a thug.

    I’ll be interested to see how this story falls out and what the details are.

  314. Cpt. Tim says:

    “A realistic person who observes the same wave of ‘blame the victim’ for every incident may reasonably guess that identifying with bullies is a bigger factor than a hypothetical unseen crime.”

    No, thats a biased person. Namely, in this instance, you.

    As i already pointed out, every time something like this comes up we have people who say that the person obviously had it coming, and then the other people that say that all pigs are scum.

    I’d rather wait for the evidence to bear out whether the officer was justified, or if the officer is unfit to be a public servant and belongs in jail.

    Being someone who has been hassled by cops, helped by cops, and has family members that are cops i can say this: Sometimes cops are assholes that deserve to be in jail, and sometimes they are good people that are trying to do good.

    You’re not making a compelling argument about the people who always say the person deserved it by snapping to the other extreme, and then ridiculing people who want to view the world by considering as much information as they can before making a judgment call.

    Seriously, you lumped people who would consider more information right in with conspiracy theorists. is this any less batshit than saying that a person that a cop hassles always deserves it?

  315. error says:

    Two points.

    1.) For every incident of police brutality that happens in front of a video camera, there will be dozens more that where only the word of the victim is evidence. Your word against the cop – who’s going to win? Good luck with that.

    I’ve had a friend sue for unlawful tazering, but there is no way he would have won had he not been filmed. I’ve had others with no recourse after their cameras were deliberately stolen or destroyed after filming brutality. If you’re middle class and white, and look or act like a “good person” it’s unlikely that police violence figures on your radar. This kind of thing doesn’t even surprise me. I avoid any contact with police because the risks are too high.

    2.)Every time you start up your car you are injuring cyclists. Every time. Cars emit huge quantities of toxic chemicals. You’re asking me to sit behind you while you idle and put that tailpipe in front of my mouth? No thanks. I’d rather not commit suicide.

  316. Jack says:

    @ #195 POSTED BY ANTINOUS:

    There’s video evidence of an assault.

    And there’s no public details as to what transpired beforehand. Maybe the big problem in this world is not enough people asking for evidence and details and instead impatiently wanting blood.

    Isn’t that mentality the reason the U.S. is in Iraq?

  317. The Blow Leprechaun says:

    I can’t watch the video (at work at the moment), but wanted to comment on cyclists in cities in general.

    They drive me insane. It seems like 90% of them are completely unaware of the laws and regulations that limit the use of a bicycle in a city, they go straight through red lights and alternate between the road and the sidewalk at whim. They are a hazard to vehicles, pedestrians, and themselves.

    Cyclists in cities seem to think they’re allowed to choose whether they’re treated as a vehicle or a pedestrian, which is not true. You don’t get to cross a street on a green light, and if it’s a red light hop on the sidewalk and use the crosswalk. That’s not how it works, and there actually ARE laws about it, at least where I live.

    It’s irresponsible and abusive behavior on their part, and until steps are taken to rectify, I have absolutely zero patience with calls from organizations like this for cities to make it safer for bikers. If you can’t obey the laws that are in place to make it safer for you and everyone else, what else can the city do?

  318. error says:

    Oh, the other thing that as far as I can tell has been missed in all this discussion is that the victim was the one charged with assault. This is pretty much standard operating procedure among the police departments I’ve had the misfortune of encountering. If you’re assaulted by the police, you can pretty safely bet money that you’ll get charged with either resisting arrest, or if the violence against you is sufficient to produce injuries, assault. Again, I know someone who had this happen to them – peacefully demonstrating, then tackled, violently chokeholded, and charged with resisting and assault.

    There are good police officers, certainly. But the problem is the police tend to close ranks and exert tremendous pressure on their members to ‘protect’ their own from charges. And people wonder why gangs do so well? People simply have enough bad experiences that they lose all trust of police and turn to alternative forms of protection.

  319. dbarak says:

    #196 posted by rageahol , July 28, 2008 3:02 PM

    dbarak:
    if you dont see the difference between making a case for cautiously running stops for one’s own safety and running a stop because it will cost more money then i cant help you.

    you might, however, want to check out “reason” magazine or the objectivist society.

    Well, I don’t see the difference, but I’m willing to be educated on it. If there’s really a safety issue in cautiously going through red lights, I really would like to know. I’m more than willing to accept that my position is wrong if someone is able to explain it to me.

  320. Johne Cook says:

    The officer in question has been stripped of his badge and gun pending investigation:

    http://snipurl.com/cm_cop
    VIDEO: COP BODY-CHECKS BICYCLIST – New York Post [www_nypost_com]

    It looks like he’s a rookie cop brand-new to the job.

    Pogan has been on the force for just three weeks since graduating from the Police Academy on July 2 and is assigned to Midtown South.

    A third-generation cop, Pogan lives at home with his father – Patrick Pogan Sr., a highly respected detective and biochemical and mass-destruction expert who is retired from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

  321. error says:

    Although I just expressed some strong sentiments about cars, I do think that critical masses are a critical miss tactically.

    “If all those massers merely rode their bikes every day, in normal clothes, like normal people, like the millions of citizens of Northern Europe” we’d be a lot closer to the cycle culture that would improve all our lives.

  322. Jack says:

    @ #198 POSTED BY CHRIS TUCKER: Give me a break. People like you who polarize issues like this are no better than conservative loonballs who polarize others.

    If the evidence exists to get this cop fired, then let that trail of evidence grow. But c’mon, you want to smear someone with no investigation? That’s simply prejudiced.

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