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Report: NYPD spent $1.32 million chasing bicyclists

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

[Charlie Komanoff is an economist who has performed numerous cost analyses over the past two decades. Note that his estimate here is conservative, in that it excludes the enormous personnel, legal, and settlement costs associated with the August 2004 Critical Mass held prior to the RNC.]

http://www.streetsblog.org/

With the City Hall steps as backdrop, the grassroots environmental group [Time's Up] released a report I helped prepare, estimating that police and other agencies spent $1,320,000 harassing and arresting Critical Mass riders from September 2004 through August 2006.

[snip]

During the same two-year period the city spent less than $700,000 planning, engineering, and installing bike lanes in the five boroughs. Thus, over the past two years New York City spent twice as much suppressing two dozen bicycle rides as it spent creating a safe bicycling infrastructure that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers could be using every day.

[snip]

Anonymous's picture
Paul (not verified)

So are we to assume that the the bike lanes would have gotten over $2m had Critical Mass stayed in and watched Dancing With The Stars?

Anonymous's picture
Greg Faber (not verified)

somehow i doubt the city would have spent any additional money on bike paths had there been no critical mass.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Exactly

"Everyone knows that if you just stay at home watching television (preferably home shopping network) and do as you are told without making waves, that you will get everything you want out of life without having to ask, and the world will be a better and safer place.

Here's another Paul (any relation?), as quoted by Newsday:

""The Police Department stands ready to accommodate the rides in a lawful manner, but all of our efforts to date have been rebuffed,"" said Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne. ""Meanwhile, individuals who persist in breaking the law inevitably incur costs for society.""

Notwithstanding the inference that city bike riders are recidivist criminals, there's another way of looking at the NYPD's conduct.

""Retired Det. Marquez Claxton, who spoke yesterday on behalf of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a frequent critic of police waste, said it was ""curious"" that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was devoting so many resources to Critical Mass.

""Given these actions, you have to say there is something other than effective law enforcement strategy here,"" Claxton said. ""There seems to be something of a vindictive, personal nature guiding these police decisions.""
"

Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)
Here's more

"NY City Police Dept Spent $1.32M To Suppress Bike Rides

In a Nov. 16th Streetsblog article, Charles Komanoff wrote, ""Time's
Up [New York City's Direct Action Environmental Organization] took its
campaign for safe bicycling into the economic arena this morning with
release of a report documenting the Bloomberg administration's
squandering of New Yorkers' tax dollars in suppressing the Critical
Mass bike rides. With the City Hall steps as backdrop, the grassroots
environmental group released a report I helped prepare, estimating that
police and other agencies spent $1,320,000 harassing and arresting
Critical Mass riders from September 2004 through August 2006.

""This figure comprises:
- $1,000,000 spent by the NYPD policing the rides and processing
arrestees...
- $150,000 spent by the Manhattan District Attorney's office charging
arrestees and trying cases
- $170,000 spent by the NYC Law Dept. bringing and settling lawsuits
against Critical Mass (the ""Bray"" and ""Time's Up"" cases)

""During the same two-year period the city spent less than $700,000
planning, engineering, and installing bike lanes in the five boroughs.
Thus, over the past two years New York City spent twice as much
suppressing two dozen bicycle rides as it spent creating a safe
bicycling infrastructure that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers
could be using every day. At the City Hall event, Marquez Claxton, who
does public relations and political affairs for 100 Blacks in Law
Enforcement Who Care, called the NYPD's suppression of Critical Mass a
'personal campaign' by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. 'When you see
such illogical allocation of police resources,' Claxton said, 'you have
to conclude that the impetus is personal vindictiveness rather than
dispassionate analysis.'...""

To read the full story on Streetsblog: http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/11/16/nypd-spent-132m-to-suppress-monthly-bike-ride/"

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
Not that I agree with them...

But, the cops probably think they're making the streets safer for peds and more convenient for motorists by cracking down on bikes.

Besides, if they tolerate the disrespect for authority that holds sway on the CM rides, people might lose respect for the cops. Of course, they could just issue more assault rifles to puff up their egos.

Anonymous's picture
Sam AA (not verified)

"""NYPD spent $1.32 million chasing bicyclists""
A title worthy of a tabloid. I have been cycling with NYCC for the whole season. Every time I came in contact with NYPD I found them to be entirely professional.
S."

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
professional

acting professional has nothing to do with the headline.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
"""I found them to be entirely professional"""

"Count your blessings. And consider that not everyone has had your good fortune.

I hear all kinds of stories from people. A woman I know (mother of three, with responsible corporate job) recently told me about being ticketed for ""riding on the sidewalk"" on the Upper West Side. She was straddling her bike, with panniers loaded from shopping, as she walked to the curb. She said she started to protest but the cop slapped the ticket on her and said, this will teach you to argue with me. He was angry and she was afraid she would be arrested, so stayed silent. Note: in writing the ticket, the cop lied about her conduct in order to exercise power over her. Isn't justice supposed to have some relationship to truth?

For the record, I too have had many encounters with police officers whom I have found to be professional, personable, even caring. We all have. (I even encountered them during Critical Mass rides, pre-RNC.) Anyone in this club is capable of distinguishing and appreciating such public service. And I doubt any of us are ungrateful for it.

That doesn't mean that abuses don't exist and that we shouldn't protest when they happen. Right now, they are happening a lot to bicyclists. Perhaps only a minority of officers are perpetrating it, but there does seem to be some sort of mandate from above. The city's policy toward cyclists, de facto as well as de jure, should concern you, even if you are unmoved about the indignities experienced by other cyclists --those who do most of their riding south of the GWB."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Granted it's an L.A. story: pedal error-ten dead-no prison

"Elderly Driver Who Killed 10 Gets Probation
By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 20) - An 89-year-old man whose car hurtled through a farmers market, killing 10 people, was let off on probation Monday by a judge who said he believed the defendant deserved to go prison but was too ill.

George Russell Weller was convicted Oct. 20 of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in a case that renewed debate over whether elderly people should lose their driver's licenses.
Weller, confined to a sickbed, was not in court for his sentencing.

Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson said he agreed completely with the jury and called Weller's actions callous and showing ""an enormous indifference to human life.""

Weller was 86 when his 1992 Buick Le Sabre plowed into the crowded farmers market on July 16, 2003. In addition to the 10 killed, more than 70 people were injured.

Weller could have received up to 18 years in prison, but the judge said Weller's health problems, including severe heart disease, would make him a burden on prison authorities and taxpayers, and that imprisonment would most likely kill Weller.

Defense attorneys argued that Weller was a victim of ""pedal error"" in which he panicked and mistook the car's accelerator for the brake. Prosecutors said he was careless to the point of criminal negligence.

The judge noted that Weller had enough control of his vehicle to avoid cars and trucks within the farmers market.

""Mr. Weller chose to steer into the people, plowing into the crowd and literally launching bodies into the air as his car sped 2 1/2 blocks,"" the judge said. The judge also called Weller's apologies hollow."

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Are terminally ill people free to commit crimes?

"Weller could have received up to 18 years in prison, but the judge said Weller's health problems, including severe heart disease, would make him a burden on prison authorities and taxpayers, and that imprisonment would most likely kill Weller.

It reminds me of the Bab Ballad ""Mister William"":

""Good Gracious Me!"" that sympathetic Secretary cried,
""Suppose in prison fetters MISTER WILLIAM should have died!
Dear me, of course! Imprisonment for LIFE his sentence saith:
I'm very glad you mentioned it - it might have been For Death!"""

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