A former police officer was convicted on Thursday of lying about a collision with a bicyclist who was taking part in a Critical Mass ride in Times Square in 2008 — an altercation that was videotaped and became a viral presence on the Internet.
The jury found the officer, Patrick Pogan, 24, guilty of filing a criminal complaint that contained false statements concerning the cyclist, Christopher Long, including an assertion that Mr. Long knocked Mr. Pogan down by intentionally steering his bicycle into him. (The video showed that Mr. Pogan remained on his feet, while Mr. Long flew to the pavement.)
Mr. Pogan’s conviction carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
Mr. Pogan, who resigned from the Police Department after the episode, was also convicted of a misdemeanor for attesting to the complaint’s truthfulness, even though it contained a warning against making false statements.
But Mr. Pogan, who was in his 11th day on the force when the collision happened, was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault.
Prosecutors had contended that Mr. Pogan should have known that the force he used on Mr. Long presented a substantial risk of injury. None of the jurors, who reached their verdict in the third day of deliberations, were available for comment.
But Mr. Long said in an interview he was pleased with the verdict, in part because it would prevent Mr. Pogan from becoming a police officer again.
“The worst of it is he lied, and fortunately the jury saw it that way and convicted him on those charges,” Mr. Long said. “I don’t think he ever really intended to assault me.”
Mr. Pogan, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23, wore a blank stare as the verdict was read. He left the courthouse without commenting.
Outside the courthouse, Stuart London, Mr. Pogan’s lawyer, said he was pleased that his client was exonerated of assault, but was disappointed in the convictions.
“The important part to remember is, regardless of what’s on these documents, if at the time you filled them out you believe you’re being truthful, then that’s really all that should matter,” Mr. London said.
The collision between Mr. Long and Mr. Pogan occurred during Critical Mass, a monthly group ride that is viewed by the Police Department as a way for agitators to rile up the police.
Bill DiPaola, the director of Time’s Up, a cycling and environmental advocacy group, said he hoped the trial, which lasted about a week, would force the police to change the way they treat riders.
Mr. Long took the witness stand, and the bulk of the cross-examination focused on his background, which he admitted included frequent marijuana use and causing the death of a man in a traffic accident.
During Mr. Pogan’s testimony, he acknowledged that he told both his sergeant and an assistant district attorney that Mr. Long knocked him down with his bicycle, but characterized that as an honest mistake. He said he had confused the initial collision with two later instances in which he went to the ground while trying to handcuff Mr. Long.
The jury also acquitted Mr. Pogan on charges that he falsified the initial arrest report filed after the collision. (Mr. Long initially faced charges of attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but they were all dropped.)
The jurors apparently placed significance on Mr. Pogan’s testimony that his sergeant filled out and filed the arrest report, which Mr. Pogan did not have to sign.
The acquittal on the assault charge was perhaps indicative of the public’s belief that police officers should be given latitude to use force when they perceive a threat, said Philip Karasyk, a defense lawyer who regularly defends police officers.
“When an officer puts on that badge and uniform, he’s not feeling a heightened sense of security — he’s feeling a heightened sense of insecurity and a sense of being on guard,” he said.
A former rising star at the CIA accused of drugging, raping and taping Muslim women while stationed in the Middle East appeared before a federal judge in Virginia today after skipping a pre-trial hearing more than a week ago and going on what sources called an apparent drug binge. Andrew Warren was arrested after an intensive search by federal officials concerned he might be a danger to himself.
A U.S. government employee in Algeria allegedly drugged victims.
According to two federal law enforcement sources, drug paraphernalia and a handgun were found in the Virginia motel room where Warren, former CIA chief of station in Algeria, was arrested. Warren sat in a wheelchair during his Monday afternoon court appearance.
A person close to Warren told ABC News that State Department officials began searching for Warren 11 days ago after he missed a routine pre-trial appearance and could not be found. “His phones were shut off, and none of his family or friends had heard from him,” the person told ABC News.
Warren, 42, was located after federal law enforcement officers reached out to his friends and family, warning them that they were concerned for Warren’s safety and believed he was armed and consuming crack cocaine. He was arrested by local police, U.S. Marshals and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service at a Norfolk, Virginia Ramada Limited hotel late Monday. He was taken by law enforcement officials to a local hospital.
The former station chief’s fall from grace has been dramatic. According to two former CIA officials, Warren was a rising star at the CIA. He was a fluent Arabic speaker who had converted to Islam, making him an ideal officer in the Middle East for the intelligence agency. Officially, however, CIA has refused to acknowledge Warren was their spy.
Before being posted to Algeria, Warren had served in Egypt, Afghanistan, and a stint in that CIA domestic station in New York. It was in New York, a few years after 9/11, that supervisors spotted him as a potential star, ready to be deployed around the world as a spy. Within a very short time – four years – Warren had been posted as station chief in Algeria.
Warren worked for the agency in the Middle East until October 2008, until he was recalled from the region and then fired after two women came forward and accused him of rape, accusations which were first reported by ABC News’ Brian Ross in January 2009. He was charged with one federal count of sexual abuse in June.
Tuesday, April 20th 2010, 4:00 A
A pillow fight might seem like harmless fun – but try telling that to the NYPD.
Cops on alert for unrest recently conducted surveillance of a giant pillow fight in Union Square, sources told the Daily News.
There were no arrests at the April 3 event – touted as hipster performance art attended by hundreds of people – and no indication beforehand that anything violent was brewing, sources said.
“The NYPD assigns both uniformed officers and plainclothes officers, from Intel [Intelligence Division] or otherwise, to make certain disruption associated with these and similar events in the past don’t get out of hand,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman.
But police sources involved in the surveillance complained it was a waste of time. The pillow fight “was just about a bunch of high school kids goofing off,” one source said.
Kevin Bracken, the 23-year-old organizer who has irked cops by producing dozens of daffy public events without getting permits, said the attention paid to the pillow fight was over the top.
The NYPD visited him before and after the event to warn him he could be arrested because he did not have a permit, and they visited his mother on Long Island.
“They said, “We need to talk to your son,” Bracken said. “These were Intel guys who had been to my house before – I live in Bushwick – so obviously they know where I live.
“They were harassing her.”
A woman was arrested during a similar pillow fight last year when she thwacked a cop with a pillow.
The NYPD’s surveillance tactics came under scrutiny after it was revealed that before the 2004 Republican National Convention, Intelligence Division investigators traveled across the world to spy on groups that planned to protest.
Cops also recently questioned people in connection with the Anarchist Book Fair held Saturday in Greenwich Village, sources said.
Intelligence investigators were assigned to cafes and bars in the area and told to listen for discussions about rallies or protests, sources said. “We expect a certain degree of this because the Police Department is the Police Department,” said Wayne Price, spokesman for the fair. “But it’s just their fantasies.”
Albuquerque police carried out a “fraudulent” investigation into a drunk, on-duty police officer who killed a woman in a hit-and-run after leaving a bar, a lawsuit filed in a New Mexico court states.
On April 6, 2008, Sgt. Andrew Gallegos left an Albuquerque bar where he had been drinking while on duty, got into his pick-up truck and ran over 47-year-old Vera Ann Haskell, says the lawsuit (PDF) filed by Haskell’s family.
Gallegos then allegedly fled the scene without notifying police or emergency responders. Haskell died soon afterward.
According to the lawsuit, when investigating officers identified Sgt. Gallegos on security camera footage, they notified Gallegos and even granted his request for a five-hour delay in the investigation.
“Sergeant Gallegos was supervising and directing the fatal investigation even after he was APD’s primary suspect,” the lawsuit states. “This conduct shocks the conscience.”
Haskell was allowed to supervise the investigation for more than a day before the matter was turned over to the department’s Criminal Investigations Division, the lawsuit asserts. Two days passed before police searched Gallegos’ home, and before they formally interviewed him for the investigation.
According to news reports at the time, Haskell had no fixed address and was struggling with an alcohol problem at the time of her death. She was reportedly passed out next to Gallegos’ pick-up truck when he ran her over as he left the parking lot.
According to the PoliceCrimes.com forum, Gallegos was charged in December, 2008, with evidence tampering and leaving the scene of an accident. He was suspended without pay pending the outcome.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As secretary of state, Henry Kissinger canceled a U.S. warning against carrying out international political assassinations that was to have gone to Chile and two neighboring nations just days before a former ambassador was killed by Chilean agents on Washington’s Embassy Row in 1976, a newly released State Department cable shows.
Whether Kissinger played a role in blocking the delivery of the warning against assassination to the governments of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay has long been a topic of controversy.
Discovered in recent weeks by the National Security Archive, a non-profit research organization, the Sept. 16, 1976 cable is among tens of thousands of declassified State Department documents recently made available to the public.
In 1976, the South American nations of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay were engaged in a program of repression code-named Operation Condor that targeted those governments’ political opponents throughout Latin America, Europe and even the United States.
Based on information from the CIA, the U.S. State Department became concerned that Condor included plans for political assassination around the world. The State Department drafted a plan to deliver a stern message to the three governments not to engage in such murders.
In the Sept. 16, 1976 cable, the topic of one paragraph is listed as ”Operation Condor,” preceded by the words ”(KISSINGER, HENRY A.) SUBJECT: ACTIONS TAKEN.” The cable states that ”secretary declined to approve message to Montevideo” Uruguay ”and has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter.”
”The Sept. 16 cable is the missing piece of the historical puzzle on Kissinger’s role in the action, and inaction, of the U.S. government after learning of Condor assassination plots,” Peter Kornbluh, the National Security Archive’s senior analyst on Chile, said Saturday. Kornbluh is the author of ”The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability.”
Jessica LePorin, a spokeswoman for Kissinger, says that the former secretary of state dealt many years ago with questions concerning the cancellation of the warnings to the South American governments and had no further comment on the matter.
Kissinger has dealt with the issue indirectly. Writing in defense of Kissinger in 2004 when the issue arose, William D. Rogers, Kissinger’s former assistant secretary of state, said Kissinger ”had nothing to do with” a Sept. 20, 1976 cable instructing that the warnings to Chile, Argentina and Uruguay be canceled. Rogers died in 2007.
”You can instruct” the U.S. ambassadors ”to take no further action” on the subject of Operation Condor, said the Sept. 20 cable by Harry Shlaudeman, assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs, to Shlaudeman’s deputy.
The next day, on Sept. 21, 1976, agents of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet planted a car bomb and exploded it on a Washington, D.C., street, killing both former Ambassador Orlando Letelier, and an American colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Letelier was one of the most outspoken critics of the Pinochet government.
Nearly a month before the blast, the State Department seemed intent on delivering a strong message to the governments engaged in Operation Condor.
An Aug. 23, 1976 State Department cable instructs the U.S. embassies in the capitals of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay to ”seek appointment as soon as possible with highest appropriate official, preferably the chief of state.”
The message that was to be conveyed: the U.S. government knows that Operation Condor may ”include plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain … countries and abroad.”
”What we are trying to head off is a series of international murders that could do serious damage to the international status and reputation of the countries involved,” Shlaudeman wrote in a memo to Kissinger dated Aug. 30, 1976. That memo is referenced in the newly disclosed Sept. 16, 1976 cable containing Kissinger’s name.
Concerns among the ambassadors may have led to cancellation of the planned warning.
In the Aug. 30, 1976 memo, Shlaudeman discussed a possibility that the U.S. ambassador in Uruguay might be endangered by delivering a warning against assassination. The U.S. ambassador to Chile said that Pinochet might take as an insult any inference that he was connected with assassination plots.