There's a wide range of reactions to yesterday's mixed verdict in the trial of former cop Patrick Pogan, who was convicted of filing a false criminal complaint (a felony), but acquitted of assaulting cyclist Christopher Long (video) in Times Square during a 2008 Critical Mass ride. "I think the charge should have been attempted murder,"shouted gadfly Christopher X. Broduer outside the courthouse yesterday. Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association predicted, "This will have a chilling effect on every new, young officer... when they realize that mistakes now become crimes," Here's video of Broduer interrupting Lynch's press conference like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now:
And in an editorial, the Daily News blasted the jury:
The New Yorkers who acquitted former NYPD officer Patrick Pogan of assault yesterday were a jury of his peers, by which we mean idiots... This cop was guilty as YouTubed. But, properly fired from the force, Pogan took the stand and brazenly contended that he was merely protecting himself from an aggressive cyclist. His challenge to the jury: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
Pogan, who faces up to four years in prison, will be sentenced on June 23rd, and his lawyer, Stuart London, told reporters yesterday, "We're cautiously optimistic he won't get jail. This is not someone who even needs probation. This is somebody who needs to get on with his life." London blames Pogan's sergeant and an assistant DA for forcing Pogan to sign the false report. "They had him sign it and he's the scapegoat, he's the one left out to dry," said London. "It was a perfect storm. An inexperienced police officer. An inexperienced D.A."
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," says Philip Karasyk, a defense lawyer who specializes in defending cops. Karasyk tells the Times, "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." And, hopefully, a heightened sense of being on camera, in the wake of this saga!