Now, Try and Stop This

I feel bad for Patrick Pogan. Three weeks on the job as a third-generation member of NYPD and he makes a mistake that he will feel the brunt of for some time. According to Newsday, during Critical Mass, Pogan stopped a cyclist, Christopher Long, and arrested him for:

… attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Long, court papers said, wove his bicycle in and out of the center lane on Seventh Avenue, disrupting traffic, then drove right into Pogan’s body.

[…]

Officer Pogan also said he suffered cuts on his forearms as he fell to the ground.

Perhaps in attempt to stymie Critical Mass, and definitely in an effort to restrain this rider, Pogan made a split-second decision; a split-second decision that landed Long in prison jail but soon after came to bite Pogan and the NYPD after more information surfaced. And, with the wonders of YouTube, you can see for yourself a different viewpoint:

Pogan was able to stop the cyclist, but can he stop the spread of information in a well-connected world? Doing a quick search on Google News reveals with polyglot illumination that this is proving to be quite difficult, whether in Dutch;

De NYPD heeft agent Patrick Pogan op non-actief gesteld. De 22-jarige New Yorkse agent is degene die vrijdag op Times Square tijdens een Critical Mass ride een van de deelnemers een forse bodycheck gaf. Pogan heeft zijn penning en pistool moeten inleveren, en moet bureaudienst doen zolang de NYPD een intern onderzoek doet naar het incident. De fietser blijkt ene Christopher Long te zijn. Hij heeft nog niet gereageerd, maar zijn advocaat zegt dat het filmpje ‘voor zich spreekt’.

In French;

Un policier new-yorkais se retrouve dans l’eau chaude en raison d’une vidéo publiée sur YouTube le montrant alors qu’il plaque violemment un cycliste vers la chaîne de trottoir afin de l’interpeller.

La vidéo a été tournée vendredi dernier par un touriste lors de l’événement Critical Mass, une randonnée de vélos organisée chaque mois dont l’objectif est de célébrer et de promouvoir les droits des cyclistes.

Or in English:

A New York City police officer was stripped of his gun and badge on Monday after an amateur video surfaced on the Internet showing him pushing a bicyclist to the ground in Times Square during a group ride on Friday evening.

More and more organizations, governments, and individuals who used to be in power are facing more and more the reality that there has never been a time that the common people have held as much power. And that power to communicate is increasingly becoming more difficult to stop.

Perhaps those in power need to take some old advice. Ron Chernow recorded in his biography of Alexander Hamilton (p 340) Hamilton’s words of advice that members of the newly formed Coast Guard should

always keep in mind that their countrymen are free men and as such are impatient of everything that bears the least mark of a domineering spirit. [You] will therefore refrain . . . from whatever has the semblance of haughtiness, rudeness, or insult.

This “domineering spirit” is increasingly finding itself of odds with the freedom of informational movement. Communication through the press was the linchpin of Gandhi’s movement, this free press drastically damaged the perception of China to the West with the indelible images of Tienanmen Square, and over two centuries ago, through pamphlets and protests the seeds were sown for revolution in the United States.

And today, that power is more than ever in the hands of the common person, and it is more than just a freedom to communicate. It is a power to activate, such as James Karl Buck’s well known Twittering story. It is the power to create, such as seen with Wikipedia, and blogs, and YouTube. It is the power to chose, such as with the auctions product I work with, or with iTunes, or Firefox. Ultimately, it is the power to have a true voice in politics, in consumption, and how you live your life.

Now, try and see if you can stop that.

Disclosure:

You may see that I like Zions Direct Auctions. I also work in marketing on that product, which means I may be a bit biased (but it also means I do something that I believe in).

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3 thoughts on “Now, Try and Stop This

  1. i’m not sure why you feel “bad” for patrick pogan. he didn’t “stop” a cyclist, he bodychecked one into the ground.

    regardless of pogan’s reasons, what he did was abuse his authority. that isn’t a simple mistake, it’s behavior that should be nipped in the bud.

  2. […] I’m glad that he did this when a camera was pointed at him. Would you have felt bad for Mr. Long if this had not been taped, and had ruined his life? A criminal conviction can do that you know. Oh, and Mr. Long did not go to prison, he was held in jail. There is a big difference.

    This was not a mistake, it was the act of a lifelong bully. […]

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