The video and the verdict

April 29, 2010 1:47:15 PM PDT
It's enough to give you a case of mental whiplash. Or at least leave you scratching your head. Because we saw the cop push the bicyclist - in fact the videotaped incident, which went viral on the Web, clearly showed former NYPD officer Patrick Pogan push cycling activist Christopher Long.

But today a jury cleared Pogan of assault and harassment charges during a confrontation a year ago last summer, when a group called Critical Mass held one of its many protest rides, pushing for more cycling lanes and laws in New York.

But Pogan was convicted of lying about the about the clash. Initially he reported that Long steered into him and knocked him down. The video - taken by a tourist and played 2.3 million times on YouTube - shows something very different: It shows Pogan walking into Long's path and then pushing him and his bike to the ground.

We weren't in the jury room so we don't know why the jury exonerated the former officer on assault, but then convicted him for lying. If there are any new developments in the case, we'll have them tonight at 11.

And we've returned to Haiti, with our Marcus Solis, who was there hours after the earthquake in January. Tonight he looks at the ongoing efforts to rebuild the poorest country in this hemisphere - an effort that has not been exactly successful to date.

The tent cities, Marcus reports, are bigger than ever, and they've become more elaborate, with plywood and sheet metal. Haitians, he says, are hunkering down. And within these tent cities are so-called "child safe zones" so kids have a place to play and learn.

Marcus begins his series of reports from Haiti, tonight at 11.

We're also following what is now a huge environmental disaster, an oil slick now within three miles of land off Louisiana, and 25 miles south of the nearest populated point of land.

The slick - from an oil rig explosion last week - is now growing by 5,000 barrels of day, five times more than originally thought. And tonight, BP, the owner of the oil rig, is asking for government help in dealing with the oil slick.

We're also heading to St. Vincent's Hospital. The venerable but bankrupt historic medical center is closing its doors tomorrow. So who's left as a patient on the eve of the shutdown?

And the most far-reaching story in terms of worldwide implications is happening in Belgium, where the lower house of parliament has voted to criminalize the wearing of full Islamic face veils in public. If it becomes law - and the Senate is expected to approve it - Belgium would be the first country to outlaw Muslim attire.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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