Cyclist Says She Was Nearly Hit, Then Harassed, by NYPD in Upper Manhattan

While cyclists in Midtown, the West Village and other areas have reported incidents of NYPD entrapment and wrongful ticketing this summer, a resident of Upper Manhattan says she was almost struck by officers in a marked cruiser, who then yelled obscenities at her.

Our tipster, whom we’ll call Joan, is an experienced NYC cyclist. She was riding through Hamilton Heights, in the 30th Precinct, at 6:30 on the morning of July 31, on her way to Central Park. Here is her account, edited for style and clarity:

I was riding my bike south on St. Nicholas Avenue, just after crossing 145th Street, with the green light, [when] a cop car double-parked on the right made a u-turn in front of me — apparently without looking or he would’ve seen my bright orange jersey in his mirror. Thankfully I just barely missed a collision. After passing I heard the cop yelling so I stopped and turned around. The cop in the passenger seat called me a “Jackass” three times, gave me the finger, and the driver took off.

Joan got the car number — 2516 — but did not see if the vehicle was assigned to the 30th Precinct. An Internet search turns up a 2009 photo of NYPD car 2516, but it’s an older Crown Vic which could by now be out of service. The cruiser in the photo is from the Transit Bureau Manhattan Task Force.

Joan has reached out to Community Board 10, and has an interview scheduled with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

“I’m appalled by this,” Joan says. “It’s bad enough that we have to deal with this kind of driving and aggression from motorists. But to experience this from the police has made me very afraid.”

Streetsblog has a message in with NYPD about this incident. We’ll report if we hear back. We’ll also keep in touch with Joan concerning her CCRB complaint.

  • Eric McClure

    They really should place the

    Courtesy
    Professionalism
    Respect

    decal on the inside of the police car.

  • Joe R.

    Or replace it with a more accurate one which says

    Discourtesy
    Unprofessionalism
    Disrespect

    This makes a very appropriate acronym besides.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    There are good cops and bad cops. I’d be more concerned with more organized police actions which are at the direction of more senior officers.

  • moocow

    99% of (cops) give the rest a bad name.

    -Steven Wright

  • Daphna

    I had something happen near there that was different but also similar in some ways. I was heading south on Broadway at West 153rd Street. An off duty fireman illegally rapid backed his SUV the entire length of a block in pursuit of a free curbside parking spot. He almost hit me with his dangerous, unlawful driving as I was cycling. He called me a “f*cking cyclist” and yelled other obscenities.

  • Philly Bicycle Journal

    This why people should invest in a helmet cam. So its not your word against theirs.

  • Anonymous

    In any other city that would ring true but this is NYC and we have the NYPD….. and the top…. um yeah they thought stop and frisk was a great idea.

  • Anonymous

    Which one do you use? I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a Muvi HD or a Contour HD.

  • Anonymous

    NYPD has systemic problems all the way through. The type of behavior described is tolerated and even encouraged. Cops believe they are above the law because the institution fights hard to make sure that cops actually are not subject to the law.

    Sure, there are some good cops, but even the best person will absorb the institutional culture over time.

    The thousands of “good” cops who do nothing to stop the illegal and immoral behavior of their colleagues, even though they know it is wrong, are evidence of the corruption.

    Where is Frank Serpico?

  • Anonymous

    Floating in the river or run out long ago.

  • Daniel

    I hope something comes of the CCRB complaint. But the reason I haven’t invested in a helmet cam or reported any cop misbehaviour is simply because I have little reason to believe this is just a pair of bad cops. Every interaction I’ve had with the police points to an institution which lacks a connection to the world outside their blue walls. If CCRB had any effect we wouldn’t have two cops in a car behaving like common thugs in the first place. We wouldn’t have cops ignoring the god awful way many New Yorkers drive.

    A few years ago my car was stolen. I didn’t consider this a dire emergency so I called my precinct to report it, no answer. After a few tries I called 311, “call 911”. I called 911, “call 311”, called 311… called 911 again which took a short report this time and then said “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” A few hours later the police did call. The theives had plowed into another car. The police had no way to know that I had called 911 so they didn’t know my phone number, but had talked to a neighbor that got them in contact with a friend of the family who had gotten them it touch with my wife who got them in touch with me. And now we enter the 1960’s… not only did the police not have any way to connect the licence plate to my 911 call in the field, they couldn’t even do it at the station and were surprised to hear that I’d reported the car stolen hours earlier. They did not have access to a computer, and wrote up the report by hand on paper and passed it along to typing pool, where there were three older women who typed on actual typewriters onto forms with carbon paper dups.
    I doubt an organization still using mechanical typewriters and a typing pool 30 years after everyone else moved on to better things is geared to accepting feedback or has any interest in improving their operations. I think the only chance we have at a well run police department is in the retirement of Ray Kelly. Unfortunately, he has Robert Moses like grip on the minds of the mayoral front runners.

  • Guest

    This reminds me of an encounter in LA a few years back. Ped signal turns to “walk”. Parking Enforcement car blasts left through the crosswalk, then warns those of us trying to cross that we can’t because now the ped signal is flashing “wait”.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been thinking about doing it for essentially the same reason. Which one should i get?

  • Living upstate, after having moved to Europe for a while: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Serpico#Retirement

    I think this entry says it all about what you can expect if you decide to, as Serpico would say, be a lamplighter to expose systemic corruption (in case Snowden/Greenwald/Miranda aren’t somehow enough). You get the feeling he was decidedly not comfortable remaining in NYC.

  • Anonymous

    Or just put a sticker on each police cruiser “Assholes On Board”

  • Rabi Abonour

    What are New York surveillance laws like? In some states, trying to go after a cop with helmet cam footage will just get *you* in trouble.

  • bill gluckman

    Oh please because someone called you names it’s news worthy if it WAs just some random person who did the same thing you would have just went about your day get over it everyone these days are such cry babies.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Just to be clear, bill, by ‘someone’ you mean the police, and by ‘called you names’ you mean ‘almost struck by a cruiser’, right?

  • CB10 resident

    I live in CB10 and this is one of the most useless CBoards. Call them about dirty shirts, call them about traffic issues, call them back quality life and you nobody returns phone calls and if you are lucky you might get a form to tell you to come to the next mtg to address your concerns. Over the years they have had numerous changes in leadership and the same old same old committees who do nothing. Hopefully, the next Borough President will see the light and overall this community board since they lack any integrity or common sense to assist residents.

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