We couldn’t help notice that, while police information czar Paul Browne was seemingly chatting up every media outlet in town about his boss coming to the aid of a fallen pedestrian this week, we were adding two letters to our stack of NYPD freedom of information rejections.
As we announced last week, in most of the pedestrian fatality cases for which we’ve filed FOIL requests, authorities have reportedly determined the driver was not at fault. Some cases are months old. Yet of the 10 requests submitted so far, NYPD has declined to release any information pertaining to eight deaths. By contrast, within hours the department supplied the press with meticulous details of Wednesday’s collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian, a scene Commissioner Ray Kelly happened upon en route to the St. Patrick’s Day parade. We can’t sum up the double-standard any better than Streetsblog reader BicyclesOnly:
This is blatant manipulation of public
information by the NYPD and they’ve got to be called on it. The media
should demand an explanation from Browne right now as to why
there is a different policy concerning release of public information on
crashes depending upon the identify of the victim.
Of course there was no such demand from reporters, who were content to package Wednesday’s incident as a heartwarming slice-of-life feature.
Meanwhile, the City Council may soon try to force NYPD to loosen its grip on crash information for the good of all New Yorkers who don’t happen to fall in the presence of our heroic police commissioner.