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01/03/2010

Critical Mass Loses First Amendment Court Fight Against NYPD

 



 

By Heather Grossmann

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — A judge ruled against an activist cycling group Tuesday in  lawsuit against the NYPD, despite public outrage over a controversial 2008 video showing a cyclist being pushed off his ride by a police officer in Times Square.

The Critical Mass bicyclist group said that police violated their First Amendment rights by unfairly ticketing them. The group also claimed the NYPD used extreme policing techniques to get them off the road during their monthly Friday night bike rides, but the court didn't buy their argument.

“The court recognized that the policing of Critical Mass rides was not based on any attempt to infringe First Amendment rights, but rather stemmed from Critical Mass bicyclists’ lawless behavior, which included intentionally blocking traffic, riding through red lights, and cycling the wrong way on both one-way and two-way streets," said city lawyer Mark Muschenheim.

Critical Mass also asked the judge at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to prohibit the NYPD from requiring groups of 50 or more riders to get a parade permit, a request that was also denied.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said in the decision that the NYPD’s enforcement was intended “to ensure the safety of the public and the riders alike.”

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