Felix Coss, of Brooklyn, Third Pedestrian Killed By NYPD in Last 15 Months

A pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk with the signal in broad daylight was struck and killed by an on-duty NYPD officer in Williamsburg this weekend, and the department says no traffic laws were broken.

Felix Coss. Photo via New York Post

Felix Coss, 61, was crossing Broadway at Hooper Street at 4:30 p.m. Saturday when he was hit by an officer driving a marked van from the 90th Precinct, according to reports and photos of the scene. From the Post:

“It was a tragic, unfortunate accident,” a police source told The Post.

The veteran female officer was making a left-hand turn from Hooper Street to Broadway and failed to see the Coss, a teacher at the Beginning with Children Charter School, a source said. Coss was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No criminality and no traffic-law violations are suspected, police said.

Contrary to NYPD’s assessment, repeated without question by the Post, It is in fact against the law to strike a pedestrian with a motor vehicle in New York State. At minimum, it seems the officer who struck Coss with sufficient force to end his life would have been in violation of the state’s careless driving law. However, since NYPD routinely fails to cite civilians who injure and kill pedestrians, it stands to reason that the department would choose not to enforce the law following a crash caused by one of their own.

Not counting chases in which a suspect fleeing police struck a bystander — the latest instance resulting in the death of a 4-year-old child — Coss is at least the third pedestrian killed by an NYPD driver in the last 15 months. Last February, Ryo Oyamada was hit by an officer on 40th Avenue in Queensbridge. Oyamada’s family, stonewalled by police after his death, has since filed suit against the city and NYPD. In April 2012, officers in a cruiser reportedly ran down Tamon Robinson, who they suspected was stealing paving stones, in Canarsie.

Though NYPD-involved crashes that cause civilian injuries and deaths are not uncommon, the department does not release data on such incidents. A Streetsblog query concerning NYPD crashes, sent to the department’s public information office in March, was not returned. As far as we could find, no other city agency keeps tabs on the number or severity of crashes that involve NYPD vehicles.

This fatal crash occurred in the 90th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Mark DiPaolo, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 90th Precinct community council meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 30 Montrose Avenue, Community Room, at 7:30 p.m. Call 718-963-5309 for information.

The intersection where Felix Cross was struck is on the border of City Council districts represented by Diana Reyna and Steve Levin. Contact Reyna and Levin to encourage them to take action to improve street safety in their districts and citywide.

  • Mark Walker

    No traffic-law violations suspected. Not even failure to yield to a pedestrian? If the police driver did yield, why is the pedestrian dead?

  • Still Anonymous

    He was wearing an invisibility cloak, obvi.

  • Keith Williams

    This is disgusting – and the first exhibit I will cite for years to come to anyone who thinks the NYPD cares about pedestrians.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Now we have a school teacher killed in broad daylight by a uniformed police officer. Imagine if the roles were reversed – teacher kills police officer. Still no criminality? We all know the answer to that one.

  • Joe R.

    Unless the police car had the siren and lights on the driver was clearly in the wrong here. Police can’t go through red lights unless they’re on call, although many do.

    What’s it going to take to shake up the police department? The NYPD is a bunch of out-of-control thugs with guns who routinely harass citizens without cause, and without consequences. The first mayoral candidate who will cut the force by 50% gets my vote. Bonus points if they will repeal the gun control laws so anyone without a felony conviction can have a concealed carry permit. At least that would even the odds a bit between the police and us.

  • Driver

    If the driver was turning as reported, he most likely had the green light as well, although not the right of way. Even a citizen would get a measly failure to yield ticket in this instance.

    Joe, your solution is not the answer. Cutting the police force in half would still leave a force of power hungry thugs, just half as many.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, but that smaller police force would be too busy with real crimes to harass the citizenry over nonsense. When we have police details giving out tickets for cyclists slow-rolling red lights, then that means we have too many police. Even from the standpoint of the cops, I’m sure they hate this. Most people going to the police academy don’t want to be cops to give cyclists tickets.

    I interpreted the chain of events differently. When the article said Mr. Coss had the green light and the turning police car hit him, for some reason I had a mental picture of the police car hitting him right before turning. Maybe that’s because I nearly got hit myself by a police cruiser running a red light one night (no sirens, no lights).

    Regardless, traffic laws were broken here any way you look at it.

  • Guest

    If this “veteran officer” driving in broad daylight “failed to see” a pedestrian in a crosswalk, we clearly should not be trusting her with a gun.

    Unfortunately, we are apparently still trusting her with both the firearm and the the car! In fact, we’re providing them and paying her to continue putting lives at risk. Truly disturbing.

  • Guest

    ““It was pretty frantic, a lot of cops came,” said one witness”

    The more to destroy any evidence and intimidate and confuse potential witnesses the better! Standard operating procedure under Ray Kelly’s police state…

  • Rob

    DNA now reporting that she seen on a cell phone and refused to turn it over.

  • Anonymous

    I know someone who used to work with him. She said he was a *great* guy–kind, conscientious, you name it.

    I hope his family sues the police, gets discovery on that officer’s cell phone, and crushes them for what they did–including the obvious coverup of an appalling act of violence.

  • Anonymous

    This is terrible, a schoolteacher, that was dedicated to his job, is
    run over and killed. If it’s proven true, that she was her cellphone,
    the NYPD should take action. This was just wrong.

  • Andrew

    Even if she wasn’t on her cell phone, the NYPD should take action. She struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing legally in a crosswalk. She broke the law, even without a cell phone.

  • Brian

    Those charged with enforcing the law against themselves will always do the wrong thing. Call it an ‘accident.’ Oppose speed cameras, because machines don’t care about ‘who you know.’ Allow cops to park ‘illegally.’ Etc.

  • Nathanael

    We need to name the “police officers” who committed these crimes, if it’s possible to find out their names. Only then can the grand juries start indicting them.

    You see that the NYPD is doing its best to cover up their names, for purposes of, well, running coverups. This is the aspect of the crime that journalists can stop.

  • Nathanael

    Contact the DA’s office too. Or… perhaps better… anyone who is considering *running* for DA.

  • Nathanael

    “A fish rots from the head”. It would probably be wisest to dissolve the NYPD and start an entirely new organization. You could hire former NYPD officers, but only if they passed a background check to make sure they weren’t involved the NYPD’s coverups, false imprisonments, hit-and-runs, etc….

  • Anonymous

    If they both had the green light, how did she break the law?

  • Anonymous

    If they both had the green light, how did she break the law?

  • Joe R.

    Failure to yield to crossing pedestrian while turning, as required by law.

  • Anonymous

    NYPD does not lie, coverup, Police Officer misconduct.
    NYPD does conduct indepth, extensive investigations in to all cases of
    reported Police Officer misconduct.
    Let’s not throw stones at the cops and then dial 911 when we’re in trouble.
    The Felix Coss is a horrible, terrible, tragedy, accident.
    They both had the green light, maybe she just didn’t see him.

  • Ian Turner

    Gadea,

    I don’t mean to indict the NYPD as an organization, but it is factually inaccurate to say that the NYPD does not lie or cover up police misconduct. There are so many examples that Wikipedia has its own list of them!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Police_Department_corruption_and_misconduct

  • yordalis

    I that teacher is really really nice

  • yordalis

    I am one of student he teach Spanish

  • Andrew

    4-03(a)(1) Green alone:

    (i) Vehicular traffic facing such signals may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits any such movement. *But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.*

  • Andrew

    “I didn’t see him” is not an excuse; on the contrary, it’s an admission of guilt.

  • Andrew

    Clearly, the pedestrian fell out of the sky and landed directly in front of the car. It was a tragic, unfortunate accident.

  • Rosie

    Thank you, you were a wonderful teacher class of 1984 “Our Saviour School” RIP Mr Coss

  • Mrc5130

    A definite tragedy all around but there was no attempt by the nypd to cover up what was an accident, I’m curious as to what facts the author has when he says the department routinely fails to cite civilians in accidents with injuries or death to pedestrians

  • Ayendi

    My Spanish teacher mr.coss was strong and still is strong so he will be okay. He’s in a better place now . Now and always his students won’t forget him. Every tear I let out is for him. I will pray for him every night. I will make sure that none of the students he had would ever forget him. God needed you mr coss. He needed your ways so went and got you. Sure he may have got you in a painful and tragic way but it hurts your family and friends more. Since you are with god now I know that you will be watching over us and makeing sure we do our best. Wen god took you I’m glad that I remember you nd I’m glad that you are at the gates of heaven a waiting for god to open those gates . May the Virgin Mary,Jesus, God, and all the little angles be with you. RIP
    Till then….
    Ayendi the last girl you gave a hug too on the last time I saw your smile.

  • ROSEMARY

    First. of all to Ayendi. thank you for loving Mr.Coss. !! He was my cousin and a great teacer and person here in Puerto Rico all our family our devastated …praying all to the LORD for understanding and acepting this tragicc news .also asking to solve this accident to protect others from this tragedy for all his co workers ,teachers and students we the Family give our Love Back to all. May he be rememberd always …GoD Bless to all and Félix RIP Love Rosemary

  • Lisette

    RIP Mr Coss!!! Great teacher that impacted my kids lives in Brooklyn New York. He was a devoted teacher a great person!!! RIP. Sending Prayer.

  • Pedestrian Error

    The police explanation is factually inaccurate. Failure to yield when turning is a traffic law violation, whether the road user going straight across your path is a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a driver. A driver who turns left without looking and strikes another motorized vehicle is usually cited for their failure to yield, whether or not they claim not to have seen the other vehicle.

  • ShennyMdz

    Mr Coss was an exceptional person and Great Human being. We Will all miss him tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP.

  • Anonymous

    We can not let this travesty fade away.

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