NYC bike riders say they still face uphill battle.
By LARRY NEUMEISTER | Associated Press Writer August 30, 2008 NEW YORK – It has been four years since the Republicans staged their national convention in Manhattan, but the experience is fresh on the minds of bicyclists who say they are still getting a bumpy ride from police.
With a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the Five Borough Bicycle Club is fighting new Police Department rules that the cyclists say were drawn up to retaliate against people participating in Critical Mass, a monthly ride that sometimes draws hundreds of two-wheelers to busy city streets.
The regulations, adopted last year, require groups of 50 people or more traveling together on a public way to get a parade permit from the police department.
The legal fight is the latest in a string that began during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when police arrested more than 260 cyclists during a Critical Mass ride.
Bike polo team to compete in Chicago tournament August 28, 2008 | 5:08 p.m. CDT
Drew Deubner, a junior at MU reaches with his mallet for a polo ball on the rooftop of Hitt Street Parking garage in Columbia. He and several other friends gather weekly to play bike polo. Â¦ CALIN ILEA/MISSOURIAN
article by: JESS BLUMENSHEID COLUMBIA â€” “Game on!”
This was the cheer Wednesday night after police gave Columbia’s bike polo team permission once again to practice in a downtown parking garage.
Columbia’s bike polo players have no team name, no designated home base and few fans. The team organized in February after a group of cycling friends decided informally to give polo on wheels a shot.
Their passion for the game has driven the team to practice twice a week, building skills that allow them to compete against teams from much bigger cities.
Following similar patterns from large scale protests and past Conventions, the police have continued to harass, threaten and disrupt people’s constitutional rights of free assembly.
Now we move on to the Republican National Convention being held in the Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Last week the police stopped members of the New York Based Glass Bead Collective and confiscated their laptops and video equipment. Thanks to hard work of the National Lawyers Guild they got it back, except for the $100.00 cash, that was a welcome fee from the office of Homeland Insecurity.
Over the weekend the cops with nothing better to do but raid convergence spaces and harass people were at it again…must have needed more cash. And you’ll never guess what they claimed their reasoning was…Anarchists!!
Got this message from Eileen Clancey of I-Witness video yesterday:
“This is Eileen Clancy. The house that I-Witness Video where is staying in St. Paul has been surrounded by police. We are in town to cover the Republican National Convention. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which someone told me is an M-16.
At least one local TV crew is here along with some legal observers. Our colleagues at Glass Bead Collective are outside videotaping.
We are suffering a preemptive video arrest.
Please contact the office of the St. Paul mayor. I am not in a position to do Internet research so if someone else could look that up and also contact news media in town for the RNC and local news media, that would be great.
All the best, Eileen”
There was this article in the Star Tribune:
Police raid RNC protest sites in Twin Cities By Abby Simons, Heron Marquez Estrada and Bill McAuliffe, Star Tribune August 30, 2008 – 6:26 PM
Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.
Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.
In a statement Saturday morning, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul raid targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group he described as “a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists…intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.”
“This is Eileen. The house raid is over. We have been released from our cuffs and the police have our house. Our belongings were searched. But we have not inventoried them so we do not yet know yet if something is missing.
5 other I-Witness Video folks were detained, both on bicycles and in a rental car. Moments ago, I heard that 3 were released. We do not know the status of the other 2.
Please keep phoning the St. Paul Mayor’s office. Many thanks for your calls and ongoing support.
I will write later.”
Then later I got ths:
“Hello folks, All of our people have been released. As you know from our earlier messages, several of us experienced a house raid earlier today. Two others who were in a car were picked up and held for four hours. Three people were also detained for a couple of hours.
There was a significant media presence documenting our detention — several local television stations, the NY Times, NPR station WNYC, Democracy Now and others.
Now we need to take some time to document what has happened to us and re-group with our people.
We all received many e-mails and phone calls. Thanks again for calling the St. Paul Mayor’s office.
We will write again soon.”
– Eileen Clancy
Ah, this is why the terrorists hate us. Because we are so “Free.” Nothing more threatening to the security of the RNC delegates then an overturned dumpster by a “self-described” anarchist.
August 31st, 2008 | Category: General | Comments are closed
No brakes, and they like it Brakeless bikes are the latest in-thing for the cycling set. But amateur riders pose a hazard to others, observers say.
By Megan Twohey | Chicago Tribune reporter August 31, 2008
It was dusk in Wicker Park, and cyclists wearing fitted jeans, caps and hooded sweat shirts were gathering for a nighttime ride.
Different frames and colors flashed in the streetlightâ€”a Cinelli Vigorelli, sleek and white; a red Motobecane with purple grips.
But in a controversial and increasingly popular trend, not one of the bicycles had brakes. As the cyclists glided onto the streets on their fixed-gear bikes, the only way for them to slow down was to force the rear wheels into a skid.
State law prohibits riding brakeless bikes on the streets, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of young people from hitting the road with bicycles they see as pure and stripped-down.
picture from DNC critical mass, taken by: Tyler Dickey In Minneapolis it will be the critical mass before the RNC swine convention begins. Law enforcement already preparing for “anarchists,” according to this article from Twin Cities Fox news affiliate.
Here in NYC..
Well you know the drill. But don’t believe the hype.
ARREST SET COURSE FOR PROTESTS IN CITY by amy zimmer / metro new york AUG 29, 2008
Friday nightâ€™s Critical Mass marks a seminal event in the rideâ€™s history: Four years ago the police arrested more than 250 people during the monthly ride that attracted thousands during the Republic National Convention. The ride â€” which has been a New York City fixture since 1993 â€” had a party-like vibe prior to August 2004. Critical Mass regulars believe the police tactics they saw during the RNC has not relented since.
â€œPeople are still concerned that the NYPD is using excessive force and harassment,â€ said Barbara Ross, who was arrested during the convention.
The RNC experience was a â€œturning pointâ€ for Ross, a volunteer for Times Up! â€” the environmental group that promotes Critical Mass. â€œI had never been involved in fighting for First Amendment issues.â€
While some, like Ross, became more politically active, others just left town.
â€œI know people who left New York â€¦ some people didnâ€™t feel safe around the cops anymore,” said Mark Taylor, who had just started law school when he was arrested during the RNC while riding as a legal observer. â€œIt was a dramatic thing to see mass arrests and be caught up in it and see how arbitrary it was.â€
He now works on cases defending Critical Mass riders, including Christopher Long, who was filmed being knocked off his bike by a cop during last monthâ€™s Critical Mass.
â€œThereâ€™s more public awareness of what the police department is up to and more recognition of a lack of oversight,â€ Taylor said. â€œBut I donâ€™t think the police feel any more restrained.â€
â€œI think Summer Streets was an important lesson for the city,â€ Ross said. â€œIf the NYPD works with the cyclists like before the RNC, Iâ€™m convinced the ride will grow again with families, older cyclists and a more diverse ride.â€
Time’s Up released this press release about tonight’s ride:
(Happy Now Barbara) CYCLISTS WILL RIDE PEACEFULLY TOGETHER FOR SAFETY ON FRIDAYâ€™S CRITICAL MASS
Critical Mass gains support from the community after release of videos showing NYPDâ€™s harassment of the ride since the 2004 Republic National Convention
WHAT: Critical Mass Ride WHEN: Friday, August 29, 2008 at 7:00 PM WHERE: Union Square Park North at 17th Street **Ride participants & supporters will be available for comments before the ride begins.
New York, NY (August 29, 2008) â€“ Friday night, cyclists will gather at 7:00 PM in Union Square North for the Critical Mass monthly group ride. Supporters of the ride will be there to send off cyclists who have continued hitting the car-clogged streets, despite 4 years of harassment from the NYPD since the 2004 Republican National Convention. Outrage from the community has been growing since a bystanderâ€™s video was released by Timeâ€™s Up! and the Glass Bead Collective showing Officer Patrick Pogan body slamming Christopher Long off his bicycle while riding on the July 2008 Critical Mass. Members of the City Council have also joined the chorus of indignation, calling for the Manhattan District Attorney to investigate the NYPDâ€™s policies toward Critical Mass rides.
“Under the management of Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD has waged an expensive, unnecessary and dangerous campaign against group bicycle rides and non-polluting transportation since 2004. Timeâ€™s Up! and the cycling community are confident that public pressure will convince the NYPD to return to the more sensible police tactics used prior to the Republican National Convention,” says Barbara Ross, a regular Critical Mass participant and volunteer with Time’s Up! Environmental Group.
Video of Christopher Long body slammed by NYPD on July 2008 Critical Mass ride in Timeâ€™s Square: Youtube
City Council Memberâ€™s letter to the Manhattan DA calling for an investigation into the NYPDâ€™s policies toward Critical Mass: http://www.times-up.org/uploads/pdf/Letter_to_DA.pdf
Timeâ€™s Up! letter to the editor published in New York Times replying to Raymond Kellyâ€™s comments on Critical Mass: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/opinion/lweb13bikes.html?ref=opinion
Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of non-polluting transportation, which takes place in hundreds of cities around the world. Critical Mass and other group rides have contributed to the increase in cycling and safer streets.
Support US-held Political Prisoners and Prisoners-of-War, as well as collective cycling empowerment, at ROLLING DOWN THE WALLS, a 5-mile bike ride to benefit the ABCF Warchest and the Freegan Bike Workshop!
Join in the community effort to support and raise awareness of those who have been targeted and punished for their political actions and beliefs. Bring your wallet and checkbook and get ready to ride!
Join us at 123 Community Space at 6 pm (or just meet us at St. Marks Church at 8 pm for the after-party). The ROLLING DOWN THE WALLS ride will begin at 6:30 as we set off into the sunset, across the Williamsburg bridge and arrive at St. Marks Church for refreshments at the Anarchist Salon, a new anarchist event now running every Sunday. Get your picture taken at the top of the bridge with your bike, your friend, your crush, or your friend’s bike. Send a copy to your Political Prisoner penpal(s)!
Founded in 1994, the Warchest Program has provided consistent and reliable financial aid to Political Prisoners and Prisoners-of-War held within the US prison system who receive little or no other financial aid. Since its creation, it has raised over $50,000 for these prisoners and will continue in these efforts.
The Freegan Bike Workshop shares skills with children and adults so that they can turn found bike parts into working bicycles. Workshops are Wed. from 6-9pm, and Sat. 2-7pm at the 123 Community Space.
Both NYC Anarchist Black Cross Federation and the Freegan Bike Workshop are member organizations of the 123 Community Space. Take the opportunity to come out and see what all the fuss is about at 123! Then ride for freedom and cross the bridge to the Anarchist Salon.
“Critical Mass in Denver during the Democratic National Convention. It was awesome. Probably at least 600 riders. At first the cops were escorting us, and were allowing us to go through red lights, but at the end, they said we were impeding traffic, so they sent out the riot police. People started getting arrested, and getting tickets. More Bikes, Less Oil! “