Over Three Months Later, NYPD Still Withholding Raulston Crash Info

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With at least six crashes leaving three injured and two pedestrians and a cyclist dead, it has been a particularly hellish week to walk and bike the streets of New York. And while information about such incidents is vital to making conditions safer and preventing future fatalities, NYPD continues to withhold crash reports from the public.

On December 14, 2009, Streetsblog reader BicyclesOnly submitted a Freedom of Information Law request for documents related to the investigation of the crash that killed cyclist Solange Raulston, who was struck by a truck driver on Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint on December 13. On December 21, NYPD denied the request on the grounds that it "would interfere with law enforcement
investigations and/or judicial proceedings." The denial was appealed on
January 8. At that time, information as basic as the exact location of the crash remained unknown.

In a letter from NYPD dated March 29 — three-and-a-half months after Raulston was killed — the appeal was denied, again citing an "ongoing investigation." As allowed by law, the next step would be to appeal the denial to the State Supreme Court, which must be done within four months.

In January, Streetsblog filed 10 FOIL requests in fatality cases where press reports either made no mention of charges against the driver or
indicated that the driver was immediately cleared of culpability. To date, NYPD has issued denials for seven of those requests. We have appealed those denials, and will continue to file requests for reports on subsequent crashes.

  • Just to flesh out the picture, the spot where Raulston was killed is considered by some the most dangerous intersection in Brooklyn, and press reported shortly after the incident that “the driver remained at the scene and will not be charged.”

    There is a huge public interest in information from the NYPD police investigation on how this crash occurred. NYPD is hiding the information as part of a blanket policy of foot-dragging and noncompliance with the Freedom of Information law.

  • On my daily commute to work I bike by the New York Supreme Court, passing by its facade inscribed with these words… “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government”.

    These words instill a good vision of justice, but so many unjust realities like this *pattern* of NYPD denied FOIL requests makes the inscription only as good as the judges in this court building make them a reality here and now. Great post Streetsblog. Let’s up the pressure, changing the absurd autocentric-driver-privilege won’t happen if we don’t.

  • Peter Meitzler

    If one visits google/maps and calls up these intersections, it’s plain to see that posted on either side of McGuinness at the entrance to Nassau those signs indicating no trucks except local deliveries. Equally for Norman Ave. I believe the truck involved was a flatbed truck. Where on Nassau can a flatbed pull up from that direction for loading? What counts as local anyway? A Sunday flatbed truck delivery/pickup? And that Nassau, like Norman Ave., is a very narrow two-way street. Greenpoint Ave. is the designated truck route, no?

  • Dave Pagl

    Ms. Raulston’s family is interested in exploring whether there is a basis for a wrongful death suit. We are now looking for eyewitnesses to the accident or anyone who was present at the scene of the accident in its immediate aftermath. Please leave your contact info in email to davepagl@gmail.com. Thanks for caring. Dave.

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