Has the Reverend Al Sharpton been on a bicycle at any point in the last 20 years? Or ever in his life? Whether he has or hasn't, he's joining tonight's Critical Mass protest, the monthly traffic-blocking mass bike ride that (full disclosure!) we've ridden in ourselves, though not in New York, because in New York they round everyone up and throw them in jail. Oh, here's the thing: it's a protest of the NYPD's policy of not giving a shit about anyone's civil rights, and Sharpton is attending it with Nicole Paultre-Bell, the fiancee of Sean Bell, the man the NYPD shot 50 times for no goddamn reason. "Although the degree of abuse is clearly different," Critical Mass organizers write (NO SHIT), "the message of the groups is clear;" we all hate cops! Full press release below. (It reveals that Sharpton will be riding in a pedicab.)
AL SHARPTON WILL JOIN CRITICAL MASS CYCLISTS IN AN EFFORT TO STOP NYPD CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSES
WHAT: Rally followed by Critical Mass Ride
WHEN: Friday, May 30, 2008 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Union Square Park South at 14th Street
New York, NY (May 30, 2008) - Tonight (5/30), cyclists will come together with Reverend Al Sharpton, Nicole Paultre-Bell, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and others in the community outraged over the NYPD's attack on civil rights, for a pre-Critical Mass rally. The rally, organized by Freewheels, will draw attention to the common pattern of NYPD harassment experienced by diverse groups of law-abiding citizens. Mr. Sharpton and Ms. Paultre-Bell are expected to join the Critical Mass ride in a pedicab following the rally.
Although the degree of abuse is clearly different, the message of the groups is clear; The NYPD's actions must be addressed and dealt with by Mayor Bloomberg.
"Considering the efforts from other parts of the administration to increase non-polluting transportation, we are asking the NYPD to work with the cyclists instead of using unconstitutional tactics to stop the ride", says Barbara Ross, Time's Up! bicycle advocacy volunteer.
Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of non-polluting transportation, which takes place in hundreds of cities around the world. Critical Mass and other group rides have contributed to the increase in cycling and safer streets.
Video evidence of NYPD civil rights abuses from past critical mass rides can be seen at: http://blip.tv/file/784711/
Additional video evidence of the NYPD's harassment campaign against the Critical Mass can be made available to the press.