Three WCN legal observers were on duty on the March 2006 Critical Mass ride. The report below was submitted by Caroline S.
There were an estimated 200 Critical Mass participants. 4 were arrested for disorderly conduct, and approximately 37 tickets for traffic infractions were written. 3 arrestees were proceessed at the 1st Precinct and released last night; a 4th was held overnight.
The ride left Union Square heading north east, up park ave south, and the cops immediately started giving out tickets for 'running red lights.' It wasnt clear to WCN legal observers that people were actually running lights. Every intersection until about 23rd street had a couple of cyclists stopped by NYPD issuing tickets.
The ride got broken up because people did start stopping at lights. Often squads of scooters cops were following the sections of the ride, waiting for someone to run a light so that they could issue a ticket. The section of the ride I was with was followed without problems by a squad from 34th street all the way down to Washington Square Park. 3 of the arrests were made at 23rd and 7th ave. One half of the ride made it through the green light, continuing on 23rd west. The second half stopped at the red. The first 3 in that group were pulled off their bikes by NYPD officers and handcuffed. They were stopped at the red light. Olaf and I stayed at this location to get info from the arrestees. I tried to talk to the cops, but got very little in return. They were quite rude and were telling pedestrians who asked that the bikers were 'protesting cars,' and 'how would you feel if you were in an ambulance and it was blocked by this ride?'. Turco also said that 'no judge had ever ruled against him' when questioned by a pedestrian about the NYPD's behavior.
The 4th arrest was made in Soho, from what I can gather. I heard that the cyclist had a friend lock his bike up as soon as he realized that he was going to be arrested. The cops then proceeded to cut his chain and remove his bike.