No Jail Time for Ex-Police Officer in Critical Mass Shove
By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A former rookie police officer who was convicted of lying on court papers about shoving a Critical Mass cyclist to the ground before a 2008 arrest won't be punished at all.
Patrick Pogan, 24, faced up to four years in prison, but was sentenced to a "conditional discharge" Wednesday without any specified conditions for his felony conviction.
"Incarceration is not appropriate in this case," said Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Maxwell Wiley at the sentencing. "The defendant is not in need of further supervision by this court."
Pogan was acquitted of assault charges in April after a Manhattan jury saw him shove the rider off of his bicycle on Seventh Avenue in Times Square during a July 25, 2008, group ride that stopped traffic and saw hundreds of riders glide through red lights.
Pogan, a third-generation officer, was on the force just 10 days when a tourist caught him on video shoving Christopher Long, 31, an admitted rabble rouser and daily marijuana smoker, to the ground before arresting him.
Overwhelmed with relief Wednesday, Pogan shed tears as he left the courtroom a free man.
When offered the chance to speak, Pogan told the judge he intended to pursue public service, even though his conviction means he cannot go back to the NYPD, or join the FDNY.
"I want to continue on this path and do everything I can to contribute to society," Pogan said. "I hope to put this nightmare behind me."
Pogan's lawyer, Stuart London, said the young man's mistake was akin to what any newbie in any profession is entitled to make.
Prosecutors suggested jail time and probation for the former officer, claiming he lied under oath about the incident when he took the stand in his own defense.
"It's preposterous to send someone to jail for making an honest mistake during their first arrest," London said. "And that's what the Manhattan DA was attempting to do in this case."
Pogan, who resigned from the NYPD after his indictment, praised his his lawyer and thanked the Patrolman's Benevolent Association for supporting him.
"This is a great relief," Pogan's father, Patrick Pogan, Sr., said. "There was no malice in his heart that night."