Ray Kelly Ignores Council Member Inquiry Into Death of Rubin Baum

NYPD is being characteristically closed-mouthed concerning the crash that killed Upper East Side pedestrian Rubin Baum, as Commissioner Ray Kelly has ignored a request from a City Council member to be apprised of the department’s investigation.

Rubin and Denise Baum. Photo via Daily News

Baum and his wife Denise were struck at Park Avenue and E. 59th Street on Saturday, September 22, as the couple attempted to hail a cab. According to reports, the driver of a Mazda sedan ran a red light and struck a minivan. The Mazda spun into the Baums, killing Mr. Baum and injuring Mrs. Baum.

Baum, a decorated Korean War medic, was 80 years old.

A few hours after Baum was killed, NYPD announced to the media that “no criminality was suspected.” On September 28, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, who represents the district where the crash occurred, sent Kelly a letter requesting that NYPD “conduct a full investigation” into the crash.

“I ask for you to share the results of your investigation,” Garodnick wrote. “Further, please advise if NYPD has referred this case to the Accident Investigation Squad for additional investigation and/or to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office regarding possible criminal charges.”

Kelly has yet to respond to Garodnick. “We look forward to hearing back from the NYPD on the results of their investigation,” Garodnick told Streetsblog in an emailed statement.

At a public event on October 5, long-time street safety advocate Charles Komanoff asked Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance if his office has issued subpoenas for “black box” data from the vehicles involved in the crash. Vance said he didn’t know, and said that obtaining such evidence is “complicated.”

As a candidate in 2009, Vance said that as district attorney he would consider vehicle black box data “critical” to crash investigations, and that he would issue subpoenas to acquire it.

Vance’s office does not comment on vehicular crimes. An email from Streetsblog to NYPD regarding the crash, the investigation and Garodnick’s letter has not been returned.

Earlier this month, the City Council passed a package of bills to regulate delivery cyclists. Legislation intended to compel NYPD to comply with state law in its handling of traffic crashes, which kill hundreds of New Yorkers a year, remains in limbo.

  • Senior for Safety

    Are Christine Quinn, Jess Lappin, and Jimmy Vacca working on this with Dan Garodnick or are they too busy chasing down delivery guys on e-bikes?

  • Eric McClure

    @735b89a8424168b112e4f61c1b23f249:disqus , cars only kill. E-bikes almost hit people. That’s serious.

    The lesson from all this delivery bike stuff, I think, may be to call one’s Council person every time you observe a driver breaking the law. Nobody in the Council will get any work done, since the phones will ring off the hook all day, but maybe, just maybe, someday motor vehicles will be considered as dangerous as bicycles.

  • Bolwerk

    It’s hard to see what purpose the NYPD even serves anymore. They seem to cause more violence than they fix, so “stopping crime” is probably out. Ray Kelly literally is not made to answer to any elected civil authority. 

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