A New York City police officer seen in a YouTube video knocking a bicyclist to the pavement during a protest in Times Square pleaded not guilty Tuesday to related charges.
Patrick Pogan, 23, was arraigned on two felony and three misdemeanor charges in state Supreme Court. He was released without bail and told to return to court Feb. 4.
Pogan is accused of knocking Christopher Long off his bicycle without justification on June 25 during a bike ride organized by a group that promotes alternative transportation. Pogan had filed charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration against Long, but those charges were dismissed.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said Pogan was charged with falsifying business records and filing a false instrument. Both are felonies punishable by sixteen months to four years in prison.
He also faces misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault, second-degree harassment and making a punishable false written statement.
Morgenthau said Pogan falsified details in the criminal complaint and other paperwork related to Long's arrest, claiming Long steered his bike into the officer and injured him.
YouTube showed 'purposely body-checking'
Morgenthau said the incident was recorded by an onlooker and that the video posted on YouTube showed "Pogan singling out Long and purposely body-checking Long off the bike."
"The bicyclist's actions before my client took action caused him to take the action he did," defense lawyer Stuart London said as he left court.
Long suffered a back abrasion, lower back pain and small cuts and bruises, Morgenthau said.
Long's attorney, David Rankin, said his client was grateful to prosecutors.
"I am grateful that my client was not more seriously injured during the incident, and particularly grateful that a video emerged which depicted what actually occurred that evening," Rankin said. "If it were not for that video, my client ... would most likely still be facing charges for assaulting an officer."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, "It's certainly sad and disappointing to see any officer indicted, particularly one who had only been out of the Police Academy three weeks."
Assistant District Attorney Richard Buckheit said Pogan, whose father is a retired detective, was suspended from the police force. Because he is a probationary officer, Pogan could be dismissed from the force even if he is cleared of all criminal charges.
The YouTube video has received some 1.6 million views. Daniel Castleman, Morgenthau's top deputy, said the investigation of the incident resulted in large part from that video.