Video from August Critical Mass

Video from last month’s Critical Mass. Cops forcing people stopped at a red light into the intersection and then ticketing them for running a red light. Nice. At least they didn’t tackle anyone.

CRITICAL TACKLE – “One Month Later” – (do the cops apologize?) from Xris Spider on Vimeo.

If you have enjoyed the last 8 years: the failed economy, the highest unemployment rate since 2003, invading a country based on false information, the erosion of our civil liberties, then be my guest and vote for these two.

You deserve another 4 years of the same crap.

One of the most frightening indications of the direction our country has taken isn’t thousands of miles away in some strange country we have occupied or are about too. Its right here in the USA and it was on display in the actions of thousands of police unleashed to handle demonstrations at this years Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Maybe we can expect journalists to be jailed and beaten in Iraq. Maybe we can read about prisoners being tortured with black hoods over their heads in Abu Ghraib. Perhabs we can know about citizens being accused of terrorist acts for helping to plan protests in Fallujah. But all of this occurred and was documented outside the Xcel center where the Republicans announced their acceptance to the general election. It is the new face of homeland security in the privatized era of neo-conservative ideals. While Sarah Palin was busy bad mouthing community service, the police were doing a disservice to the community by indiscriminately using tear gas, rubber bullets, concusion grenades and mace on a few protesters with different political ideologies and wearing black bandannas. Knocking down newspaper boxes and blocking traffic is called: civil disobedience and should be dealt with by a procedural non-violent arrests. Instead it was brutal oppression by a militarized police force who think they are fighting insurgents in Afghanistan. An abusive display of violence which harmed innocent bystanders, accredited journalists and anyone who got in the way of a law enforcement and national guard rampage gone wild.

Now why did bikeblog report so much on these conventions when this is supposed to be a blog dedicated to the bicycle? Well, I’d love to report on warm and fuzzy stories like bike sharing programs at these gatherings…but it just doesn’t seem important when my fellow citizens and friends are being abused, chased, attacked, beaten and arrested. Sorry, I just can’t be silent. And besides I like to follow up on things.

So here is a wrap up report from I-witness video. A dedicated group of citizens, armed with video cameras who go to demonstrations to document police activity.

Hello folks,

Here is an overview of what the members of I-Witness Video saw and
experienced over the past week or so in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Eileen Clancy

for the I-Witness Video Collective


Violence and cruel treatment directed at protesters by police;
Journalists targeted for arrest, harassment, intimidation and surveillance

Police Violence in the Streets

The members of I-Witness Video have been appalled to see a high level of
violence directed against peaceful demonstrators, medics, legal observers
and journalists at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul,

Concussion grenades, smoke bombs, CS gas (tear gas), rubber bullets and
pepper spray were used to attack and herd demonstrators.

In particular, pepper spray was used excessively and indiscriminately to
torment and punish demonstrators in a manner that violates widely accepted
law enforcement standards. In one instance a man was pepper-sprayed while
handcuffed and then punched in the kidneys. Peaceful demonstrators have
been restrained and forced to kneel on pavement for hours after being
pepper sprayed without being given medical attention. In another instance
where pepper spray was used to preemptively punish a person who was
perceived by police to be a protester, a lone street medic was entering
her car when police drove up, sprayed a small fire extinguisher sized
canister of pepper spray into her car, completely soaking her head to toe
before driving away, leaving her gasping for air and collapsing. The
medic was neither arrested nor charged.

Here is a clip showing police use of pepper spray. video Clip

Abuses in the Jails

The treatment of arrestees in the jails has been shockingly bad, even
grisly. Medical care has been withheld from many arrestees. In one
instance a hemophiliac was offered gauze as treatment for a wound. Elliot
Hughes, a 19-year old arrested while bicycling, was forced to wear a bag
over his head while being gagged and beaten. Hughes tells his story at a
press conference:
Youtube video

full video here.

The punishment of arrestees did not end at the jailhouse door. In almost
every instance, the Sheriff’s Department did not return any personal
belongings to arrestees upon their release. Many, including under-age
women and girls, were put out in the cold in the middle of the night
wearing thin prison-grade shorts and a white t-shirt. Some were dropped
off as far as five miles away from the jail without their house keys, car
keys, cell phones, identification, or money. In some instances this meant
that they were not able to access critically needed medication.

Targeting of Journalists

Many journalists working during the period of the RNC experienced
obstruction, harassment and arrests. Thirty journalists were arrested
including reporters from ABC News, Fox News, and Indymedia. On September
1, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, two producers from Democracy
Now! were slammed on the pavement and against the wall, arrested and
charged with a felony riot. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was also
arrested and charged with interfering with a police officer. On September
4 Kouddous was arrested again, along with Democracy Now! producer Rick

Harassment of I-Witness Video

Members of I-Witness Video were visited by the FBI and a Wisconsin
sheriff, were falsely arrested without charges being filed, underwent a
search under an invalid warrant, were threatened on the street by police
officers, extensively surveiled by police officers with video cameras and
followed by undercover officers.

Two days before the convention opened, St. Paul police surrounded the
house we were staying in, effectively placing us under arrest for two
hours. When a search warrant was finally produced, it was for the wrong

When we declined to allow them to search our house under an invalid
warrant, they broke in and held us at gunpoint. We were handcuffed behind
our backs and held in the backyard while the house and our belongings were

During the same period three other member of the collective were detained
while leaving the area on bicycles and two others in a car were pulled
over and detained for four hours.

An excerpt of a video by the Glass Bead Collective shows the St. Paul
police breaking into our house and pointing guns at us:
video here.

In a sinister progression of events, police officers arrived at our office
building four days later with batons at the ready, carrying a battering
ram and alleging that we were holding people hostage in the I-Witness
Video office. A prompt response by National Lawyer’s Guild attorneys
thwarted further police action. The unfounded and absurd allegation by
police that hostages were barricaded in our office could have allowed them
to enter our office without a warrant and possibly even shoot us.
Please check our website for updates – we will continue to let you know
more about the 2008 RNC and DNC as we investigate further.

But police brutality isn’t limited to just these big demonstrations, they happen all the time including at a concert last Friday, Sept. 5th in NYC.

Chris Ryan of team spider made these two videos.

see the violence and tazzering at:

Teamspider blog.

Bikeblog round up, 02

Searching the world of bicycle related blogs.

London, UK

Buffalo Bill at Moving Target Zine has a description of the Marcus Cook Award. Each year this prized trophy is awarded to an outstanding member of the international messenger community. Its time for the nominations.

Check out more Here.


Asakusa, at Fixylife has a few snapshots from this years bicycle film festival. My Japanese isn’t so good though.

my Korean’s not good either…but there’s a Korean fixed gear blog now.



Heatherbikes has completed her bicycle tour of Europe. Check out some amazing photos from the trip and see the entire route.


Jill a journalist and avid cyclist in Alaska has some notes on Sarah Palin and mostly some amazing photos of our most North reaching state.

Check it out at Arcticglass


All Posers Must Die has alerted me that the Rats are Back.

Starting Monday, Sept. 8th, sprint race series begins again.

More info at ratpackhustle

And in the New Blog spotlight…

I found:

Velotopia from my old home town of Seattle Washington. Their editor and chief, David Cole had a great quote: “Bicycling is the source and cure of all of my problems.” (I wish it were that simple)

Here’s what it says about their site: “About Us

We like bikes. We firmly believe that anything with two wheels and pedals will lead you down the road to happiness. This website is about that road.

There’s quite a few different bike subcultures out there: from brakeless fixie kids pedaling in skin-tight denim to hairless racer dudes drafting in skin-tight lycra and we tend to like them all. We like organized rides with bountiful food stops and numbers pinned to our jerseys just about as much as we like to get surly and take over the streets on the last Friday of the month. We like pump tracks, dirt parks, Sunday rides, midnight races, velodromes, single track, watching the tour, touring the countryside, climbing hills, Thursday crits, truing our wheels, anything to do with bikes we like. And that’s what this website is about: Bikes!”

Like a biker to the pavement…Charges Dropped

Its hard to believe but somehow Christopher Long did not cause assault to rookie officer, Patrick Pogan’s forearms in the July Critical Mass bike ride.

His charges of assault were miraculously dropped today in court, thanks to the power of video.
Over a million views make it painfully clear that this officer of the law was egregiously acting like a some sort of…member of the NYPD.

He can have some time at his desk to think about his actions and not out on the street keeping us safe from the threat of people riding their bikes in groups.

Here is a website he should visit:

NY Anger Management

And a press release from Times Up here.

Donut Social Tonight…Stickin it to the Man.

From Gothamist:

NYPD Tries to Shush Donut Social Protest in East Village
Those self-described downtown “slacktivists” who previously called for yuppie scum to die at the Bowery Wine Company are focusing their contempt on the NYPD. They’re planning a punk concert and protest Friday night against “police brutality, real estate developers, and the blatant selectively targeted harassment/discrimination toward our scene during the 20th Anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park Police Riots concert/political rally.” The so-called “Donut Social” was originally planned for directly outside the 9th precinct on East 5th Street, but the NYPD wasn’t so into that, so the rabble have been relocated to the corner of First Ave and 5th. The other hitch is that police are insisting on a 70 decibel sound level at 100 feet with the permit. According to NMNL, that’s about the same level as the sound of a vacuum cleaner at 10 feet.

Come hear punk show…Death Mold and the Crack Steady Five

More details at Nothing More Nor Less.

Now why would anyone think there is police brutality?

Article in NYTimes about charges against Christopher Long.

NY Times Article: Here.

Charges Said to Be Voided for Bicyclist

Published: September 4, 2008

Prosecutors are expected to drop criminal charges on Friday against a bicyclist who was pushed off his bike in July by a police officer in Times Square, said Mark M. Taylor, a lawyer for the bicyclist. The encounter was captured on amateur video.

The bicyclist, Christopher Long, 29, was charged with attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct on July 25 during a monthly ride called Critical Mass. The arresting officer, Patrick Pogan, wrote in his report that Mr. Long had been weaving in and out of traffic and that he had tried to hit the officer with his bicycle.

But video recorded by an onlooker soon surfaced on YouTube, showing Officer Pogan lowering his shoulder and shoving Mr. Long off his bike on Seventh Avenue at 46th Street as Mr. Long tried to steer out of the way.

On Thursday, prosecutors declined to comment on their case against Mr. Long and would neither confirm nor deny that they planned to drop the charges.

After the video surfaced, Officer Pogan was stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty, pending a department investigation. Mr. Taylor said his client planned to sue the city.

Norman Siegel, a civil rights lawyer who has represented several Critical Mass participants, said that dropping the charges against Mr. Long would be the right thing to do, and that he hoped the prosecutors would go one step further.

“I think they should give serious consideration to bringing perjury and assault charges against the cop,” Mr. Siegel said. “This is the way to get accountability over the police and reduce police misconduct. If you make this officer an example, then the message is: This kind of conduct is unacceptable and there will be legal consequences for it.”

Tensions have long existed between Critical Mass riders and the police, who complain that the riders ignore traffic laws.

Shortly before the Republican National Convention in 2004, a large number of officers arrested more than 250 riders on charges that included parading without a permit. In 2006, a state judge turned down a request by the city to forbid Time’s Up, an environmental group that promotes the monthly rides, to take part in them, to gather at Union Square Park beforehand and to mention the rides on its Web site.

Photos from NACCC.

Here are some photos from this years 2008 North American Cycle Courier Championships: has a series from Bike Polo.


Also, Kevin Dillard of has some amazing photos. (I suggest viewing the slideshow…its like being there.)

Christopher Long in court and Critical Mass tales.

I know this is last minute, but I just got it:

Christopher Long’s will be in court tomorrow (Friday) at 9:30am for
his crime of being knocked off his bicycle by a police officer during
the July August Critical Mass.

If you can, please come to support Christopher!!

100 Center Street, Part B

Two articles about last months Critical Mass ride in NYC-

From the Downtown Express

Mass bike riders convene on convention anniversary

bike lift in Times Square-photo by Jefferson Siegel

By Jefferson Siegel

Last Friday was a night of milestones for the monthly Critical Mass ride. It was the fourth anniversary of the 2004 Republican National Convention ride that saw 264 cyclists arrested. It was the first ride since cyclist Christopher Long was knocked off his bike by a police officer last month. It was the last ride of summer and was bookmarked between this year’s Democratic and Republican conventions.

Read the full article here

From the Tech dept.

From the technology corner, Dan Katz sent me two articles:

Say goodbye to bike chains and say hello to belt drives.
Article at

and from Wired, its the Gyro Bike.

Bicycle Film Festival Tokyo, Sept. 5th-7th

That’s right Godzilla rides a bike and he’s heading to this year’s Bicycle Film Festival

September 5th-7th.

Check out more from this from my man Eli Chessen’s Blog.

And check out a video to of Pedalmafia

Pedal Mafia Matsuri Madness from Eli Tokyo Jitensha-Jin on Vimeo.