Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Cop / Bad Cop [Redux]

This New York Times article gives a recent update on the NYC cop who brutally shoved a cyclist at a Critical Mass night ride on July 25, 2008. He's Gone! This is good news, and actually done in a pretty timely fashion (you may not agree with this, but the wheels of justice do turn slowly.)

Pogan was indicted on December 16, 2008 for this incident. The NYPD said he was fired about February 9, 2009. (There was no press release on this. It's a little understandable that the NYPD doesn't care to shine a light on its most questionable officers, but on the other hand, it's also a clear PR opportunity missed.) The press accounts say that charges have been dismissed, and that a "spokesman" for Pogan (do 23-yr old cops get spokesmen now?) said that Pogan resigned, and was not fired. In any case, the dropping of charges was no doubt a quid pro quo for getting rid of this bad apple, and the NYPD just wanted it done.

I first reported on this last August. You can see a video of the incident here (my original YouTube link has gone stale).

I feel pretty strongly about this (in case you hadn't guessed) as I'm sure others do. I guess this is because I think most police understand their job is to protect cyclists (along with everyone else). Riding to work this week on a cold morning, I was breezing by two Howard County police officers engaged in drivers-side-window conversation. The one facing the road who could see me gave me a wave as I went by. It was respectful, possibly because she (the cop) was a cyclist and it was below freezing that morning. There are good cops out there who appreciate cyclists (particularly ones who practice safety). What a great world it would be if we could count on all cops to respect cyclists this way!

A second rather obvious thought on this. Since the seminal amateur videotaping of the beating of Rodney King, video cameras are now everywhere. There may be one in your pocket right now. The world has changed, and while pictures can be altered electronically, the ubiquitous vid-cap still serves as a vital witness that didn't exist even five years ago. I've given some thought to mounting one of those Flip Mino camcorders on my seatpost, just to record cars overtaking (and their license plates). It's overkill, but it's an idea to consider. Maybe for a future topic on "Your Bike's Data Network".

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