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.