Pogan Verdict: Jury Finds Ex-Cop Guilty of Cover-Up, Not Guilty of Assault

The Post reports that the jury has reached a mixed verdict in the trial of Patrick Pogan, the ex-NYPD officer who was seen by millions of YouTube viewers slamming his shoulder into approaching cyclist Christopher Long during a 2008 Critical Mass ride, sending Long to the pavement. Pogan was found guilty of falsifying records when he filed a criminal complaint alleging that Long assaulted him. He faces up to four years in prison for that conviction.

The jury found Pogan not guilty, however, of misdemeanor assault charges. Got that, NYPD? Go ahead and knock people off their bikes, just tell the truth about it afterward and you’ll be okay.

  • jsd

    Justice fail.

  • MASSIVE JUSTICE FAIL! Too bad top cops, Kelly and Bloomburg will never be found guilty of anything in their continuing assault on cyclists rights and intimidation tactics! Why do they hate our freedom?

    Bring yourself and your non-polluting transportation to Union Square North tomorrow at 7pm and show that you are not afraid to celebrate safe streets. Lights and bells will help you avoid a ticket. Wear white to represent your marginalized, un-safe status on the auto-filled public street!

    Ride Safer! Ride Massive!

  • Who you gonna believe, the defense lawyer who was allowed to put the witness on trial, or your own lyin’ eyes? Another sad day in NYC.

  • Very disappointing.

    Was Pogan removed from NYPD because of this incident? A guilty verdict on the assault would be appropriate based on his actions, but at least he is no longer with the NYPD and will not receive his pension. If he was removed from the NYPD because of that incident, then that should serve as a good warning to others not to engage in such a disgraceful manner to the public they purport to serve.

    Here’s a good thread from just around the time of the incident where other police officers were already pointing out that the problem was lying on official documents, not for the assault:
    http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103739

  • Remind me: why do we have laws?

  • fdr

    I haven’t seen any comments about the fact that Long killed a pedestrian with his car 10 years ago and no charges were filed. If that was all we knew about him, everyone on this blog would be all over him.

  • Things like this make me disgusted to live here.

    I described this story to a friend from abroad, and he was genuinely confused. Apparently in more enlightened cultures around the world, governments have formal, standard processes in place to police the police… Officers are arrested by this other group if they break laws. We have, at best, grassroots “watchdog” community groups with no power and limited regional jurisdiction.

    Beyond all that — how on earth could anyone watch this video and claim it’s not assault?

  • Although the acquittal on assault was erroneous, Pogan’s three week long career in law enforcement is washed up. Falsifying charges is one of the most serious kinds of conduct a cop can engage in. As for assault, the problem is that cops are authorized to use force in certain situations, and it’s hard to convince jurors sympathetic to cops that a given instance of violence was unjustified beyond a reasonable doubt. Long got a decent settlement in the civil suit and Pogan is history–not too bad of an outcome.

  • BicyclesOnly,

    That is good news at least. I read this morning that Pogan was contemplated rejoining the NYPD if acquitted. I wasn’t sure what to make of the mixed verdict — whether or not the assault acquittal would allow him to rejoin the force. If you are correct, he will not be able to do so.

  • MW in NY

    FDR: This case isn’t about Long – it’s about the behavior of Pogan, and his subsequent false report about it.

    Long’s previous reckless driving record and bizarre behavior, speech patterns and clothing choice in court had nothing to do with it. The video makes it very, very clear that Pogan’s police report had nothing to do with reality.

    There is a debate going on elsewhere on the internet as to what constitutes assault in NY State, which may or may not require serious injury to actually be called assault – so I’ll reserve judgment on that call…I’m not a lawyer…but I’m curious as to what the actual definition is and what instructions the judge gave to the jury.

  • @FDR,

    Nobody here is defending Long, who doesn’t sound like a very defensible character. But Pogan’s acquittal on assault charges means that next time a cop wants to put his shoulder into you while you’re riding your bike, it’ll probably be ok — video or no video.

  • flp

    @eric – do you know christopher long? probably not. so, please leave your judgement of his character and whether its defensible or not off this discussion and pretty much anywhere else related to this trial. there is no need to perpetuate the erroneous perception that christopher was on trial. he was not on trial, pogan was! thank you.

  • That is why I smile when pigs get hurt.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Myself being a 220 pound guy, I cannot fathom how a 260 pound person can be found NOT GUILTY of assault when using their body as a battering ram against someone in as vulnerable position as riding a bicycle. (Perhaps they should have put each juror on a bike and then had someone run at them so they could sense how scary that is.)

  • Oh yes, as long as we acknowledging the humanity of the players in this case, let’s keep in mind that Patrick Pogan was foolish and naive, but in my opinion does not deserve all the rage that internet commentors have sent his way over the past year and a half. He made two big mistakes: First, he joined the NYPD. Second, he hit Chris Long and lost his job. He is a human being too…the institution and those at the top of it (Kelly and Bloomburg) should be the ones doing jail time.

  • kaja

    When’s the last time we got _any_ justice in this country?

    We’ll start getting it again when we take it into our own hands. And I ain’t about to start, myself, until a whole boatload of folks are with me.

    Mass society makes extremely difficult the sort of revolutionary violence which seems sadly required.

    Until that day comes — and it’s not soon enough — keep yourself off the cops’ radar, and don’t count on any good to happen that you don’t cause yourself.

  • Ryan M.

    @ mellow yellow

    you HAVE to be joking. visibly assaulting a man in plain sight is not cause for others suffering and losing their jobs and their livelihoods. to make the claim that those above him should be punished for HIS actions is an asinine comment of the highest order. if you’re so concerned with protecting people because they’re human then don’t try and point fingers at those who are less guilty. you need to sit down and think about what you say before you say it.

  • Folks, it’s not just that “Long was not the one on trial.”

    It’s that Pogan had no way of knowing whether Long was some unsavory character when he decided to run into him.

  • flp

    @ddartley – exactly! i really felt that one of the prosecution’s questions directed at pogan should have been, in addition to whether he actually knew christopher, but, also, something along the lines of “are you clairvoyant or pyschic?” obviously not, so there.

  • It is tme to organize a march jointly between pedestrian and bicycists on foot to protest discrimination by NYPD
    we are asking equal right to the streets equal right to protection respect and no abuse

  • bike people

    Surround the NYPD station with bicycles and shout…”stop the assault”.

  • @Ryan M.

    I understand your critique of my suggestion, but perhaps you can understand that there is a hierarchy in the NYPD, a chain of command if you will, and that the unspoken policy of harassing cyclists comes down from the top. Institutions that foster a culture that implies it is acceptable to treat citizens as criminals or terrorists needs reform.Why else do the police issue tickets to cyclists who are victims of traffic accidents? Why else are dozens of police officers sent out monthly to follow a few people on bikes? Why else does the NYPD think it is okay to steal and damage bicycles under the flimsiest of excuses? Patrick Pogan did not create this culture of violent bias against bicycle-riders, he just lived in it.

    People who are just following orders DO need to be held accountable for their actions. People who give the orders need to be held responsible for how they use that power. Which is more important?

    As for walking, riding, or any protest against the NYPD’s utter failure to either keep street users safe or uphold the constitution, TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT! 7PM come see what the police state feels like!

  • stacey2545

    Anyone know when Pogan’s sentencing will be? Considering dude’s career is history, I may be okay with the acquittal on the assault charge. Assuming he gets more than a slap on the wrist for the cover-up.

  • Ian

    To the JUSTICE FAIL!!!11!!ONE! crowd:

    The assault charge was a misdemeanor. The charge he was convicted on was a FELONY. This is much better than if it were the other way around.

  • Spokker

    He might be getting four years you idiots. The result is the same. He is being punished. He will never be a police officer again. The victim said he is happy with the verdict.

  • Spokker

    “he was not on trial, pogan was! thank you.”

    You’re right that those things were irrelevant to the trial, but this isn’t the courtroom. Long was a dick back in his day. I don’t care that he smoked weed, but attacking some woman’s car is kind of retarded. But he served his punishment for that so whatever.

  • steven

    This is a truly pathetic society we live in. Clearly that man(he was never a officer) took at least 3 steps over and shoulder tackled that biker on purpose, with no justifiable cause whatsoever

  • BicyclesOnly

    I heard the prosecutor raised few if any objections to the blatantly improper questioning of Long on his prior history. He would have regretted that decision in the case of an acquittal, b/c the prejudice objection was waived. But he was probably used to putting up drug dealers and gang members as witnesses for his case and had learned the hard way not to appear overly sympathetic to witnesses jurors might dislike. What he failed to understand is that this was a very different case. He should have done more to protect Long agsinst that questioning, as a matter of preserving the issue for appeal and to let victims and potential witnesses against the police know that they need not be forced to bare their life’s foibles in detail as the price of admission to the witness box. I wonder if Cy Vance knows or cares about how his prosecutor handled these issues.

  • Barton Wally

    Sorry everyone. But the felony conviction was much stronger. The defendant will have a felony conviction for the rest of his life. This is far more serious than the assault charge. And it sounds like the defendant’s cross, through his attorney, was proper. Non-defendant witness’ don’t get the same protections from prejudice the way defendants do, as it should be.

  • toosinbeymen

    Cops can get by with anything. This was an obvious violent attack against the cyclist. I was in that ride but not near this. It was peaceful except for the cops who constantly harassed Critical Mass. Disgraceful.

  • Irondodennis waite

    this was very intentonal and the cop should be in jail;

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