NYC Cop Cleared In YouTube Case
Screen Capture of YouTube Video
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
April 30, 2010
NEW YORK CITY – An ex-cop was acquitted of assault Thursday for knocking a protester off his bike, but he was convicted of lying about how it happened.
The mixed verdict suggests the Manhattan jury relied heavily on YouTube video of the Times Square clash two years ago.
The tape showed rookie Officer Patrick Pogan body-slamming biker Christopher Long, who appeared to swerve to avoid him.
In a sworn criminal complaint, Pogan, 24, claimed he arrested Long after the cyclist purposely rode into him.
Pogan also claimed on the witness stand that he was ordered by his superiors to take action against the two-wheeled bikers during a Critical Mass protest.
Although NYPD brass portrayed him as a rogue officer, jurors found him not guilty of harassment and assault.
He was acquitted of four of seven counts, but Pogan still faces up to four years in prison when he’s sentenced June 23. The judge also could give him no jail time.
Pogan, who had no reaction to the verdict and left without comment, has already quit the NYPD. The felony conviction means he can’t reapply.
“Fortunately, the jury saw fit to convict, so he will not go back to ‘work,’ not be rearmed,” Long, an admitted pothead and anti-government activist, wrote in an e-mail to the Daily News.
“The charges they convicted on are the most serious, and the assault was brief,” Long, 31, wrote in his e-mail.
Long – who won a $65,000 settlement from the city after the incident – called on bikers to join him at a Critical Mass ride set for tonight beginning in Union Square.
“Remember, tell EVERYONE to ride bikes tomorrow, and if they feel unsafe, we will be creating a bubble of FUN,” the out-of-work gardener wrote.
Police union President Patrick Lynch blasted the conviction.
“This will have a chilling effect on every new young officer when they realize mistakes now become crimes,” Lynch said outside Manhattan Supreme Court as he was heckled by a lone bike activist.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. applauded the outcome.
“This conviction reinforces that no one – even a member of law enforcement – is above the law, and that inexperience is not an excuse to violate the law intentionally,” he said.