Tamon Robinson, of Brooklyn, Chased and Killed by NYPD Officers in Cruiser

The NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the death of a Brooklyn man who the department says was run down by officers in a police cruiser.

Tamon Robinson. Photo via ##http://gothamist.com/2012/04/21/death_of_man_run_over_by_cops_being.php##Gothamist##

Tamon Robinson, 27, was loading paving stones into an SUV at Bayview Houses in Canarsie on the morning of April 12 when, according to accounts, he was chased by officers who believed he was stealing the bricks. The Times reports:

Mr. Robinson ran toward his building, but a police car hit him before he reached it, according to a police report about the events, which took place around 5:30 a.m.

An autopsy on Friday determined the cause of death was an accident, the result of complications from blunt impact injuries to the head, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said.

Friends and family say Robinson, who sold scrap building materials in addition to his job as a barista, had permission to take the pavers. Regardless, initial coverage parroted the NYPD narrative — Cops Bag Brick Bandit! — and did not question how or why a man on foot was struck by officers giving chase in a police car.

After the Times broke the news of the internal affairs probe last Friday, DNAinfo reported that, according to witnesses, “police at the scene pulled Robinson from under the car, yelling ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ before bouncing him off the hood of the car.”

“It’s crazy what the officers did to my son,” said Robinson’s mother, Laverne Dobbinson.  “[They] ran him over then beat him up afterwards.”

Hours after the incident, investigators were examining a police cruiser, which was oddly positioned in a walkway inside the complex and had a dent in the front driver’s side fender.

The family has hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who specializes in police brutality cases and is conducting his own investigation. “I don’t know how we go from someone being chased by the police to someone being run over and killed,” Rubenstein told the Times.
  • KillMoto

    1) Sickening misuse of the word “accident”, NYT: “An autopsy on Friday determined the cause of death was an accident”
    2) How much you want to bet the dashboard cam was broken when the cruiser was returned at the end of the shift, 
    3) Don’t police cars have “black boxes”, so We the People can know how fast the police car was moving at the moment the police killed him?

  • Anonymous

    Really, I think this might be the most sickening story ever posted on Streetsblog. It has everything:
    1) gross racism (does anyone honestly think a white guy would’ve been treated as less than a bollard the way this man was?)
    2) a wildly disproportionate police response to the alleged crime
    3) lack of police accountability (so far . . . and suspect for all time, since I think we all know how this police investigation is going to turn out)
    4) use of a motor vehicle as a pure, unadulterated lethal weapon–by the NYPD, almost certainly the single biggest group of pedestrian and cyclist killers in the city, probably in the world
    5) gross indifference on the part of the police to the effect of their actions on the people most nearly concerned (they knocked on Robinson’s mother’s door right after the event but didn’t tell her what had happened to her son).
    This must end.

  • @dporpentine:disqus You outlined everything that has left me speechless about this death. Yes, it must end.

  • Glenn

    How much do bricks go for these days? I looked it up and it’s about $350 for a thousand. Or 35 cents a brick. Hardly a theft worth a dangerous police pursuit. Even if the officers didn’t care one cent about the value of a human life (perhaps), the damage to the police cruiser would cost more than the value of the items they only suspected were being stolen. And they would have the SUV he was loading the bricks into to help them track down and sort out what the situation was.

    But something doesn’t add up. Why did he run if he was innocent? Why did the police pursue if he was only committing a minor misdeamenor theft? Or what the better question is perhaps did the officers say to him to freak him out?

  • Anonymous


    Why did he run if he was innocent?

    Maybe he was worried he’d get shot if he pulled out his wallet.

  • Brad Aaron

    @b0b5a0cf4ee09ff380fd46de4055393f:disqus Unless we accept that it’s okay in certain circumstances for police to run over people they suspect of committing crimes, those questions are beside the point.

  • Albert

    Maybe Tamon was running from what looked to him like a car that was about to hit him.

    I expect I’d run too.

  • Glenn

    Brad, What I’m I’m saying is that there’s something completely out of this world about this case. The police must have done something over the top to intimidate Tamon to make him run. And then to pursue him and hit him with the vehicle over at best a minor property crime seems totally out of proportion. The police must have made him feel that his life was in danger whether he cooperated or not, and it seems that they didn’t stop with threats. Serious police misconduct seems to be at work.  

  • National Car Association

    “I’ll give you my keys when you pry them from my cold, dead hands!”
    Who needs a gun when a car will do?

  • Too late to talk about rushing to Judgement.  The NYPD IMHO has already smeared his name.  IMHO they also have paid trolls on the news articles attempting to anonymously smear him.

    I love the line, if he was innocent, then why did he run.

    Like guilt or innocence has anything to do with this.  The NYPD’s own statistics on the stop and frisk clearly show that innocence has nothing to do with police attitudes towards the community.


    Anyway in his mind (before he was brain dead) , the NYPD has a reputation of killing first and investigating (or smearing in this case) later.  I don’t blame him for not wanting to cooperate with people who rush to judgement and initiate punishment on the streets.  Killing the kid doesn’t matter to them so minorities should be outraged.

    I don’t wanna hear any rush to judgement crap on TV either.  They rush to judge every day and killing like these are the result.  Why don’t they swallow thier own advise instead of trying to ram that PC crap down the public’s throat

  • JamesR

    Those of us who read this site daily – like myself – can get a little desensitized to the seemingly endless reports of vehicle-related carnage. This one, however, is so far beyond the pale that I don’t even know what to say, except to say that I’m completely horrified. When you zoom out and look at it in the context of the NYPD’s treatment of people of color in general, the horror is magnified further. 

  • Guest

    vehicular homicide.  

  • I ask Tamon Robinson’s family DO NOT accept a quick check from the NYC.
    Get a lawyer and do everything you can to defend your son in PUBLIC.  I love the way Trayvon Martin’s now separated parents got on TV and defended their son publicly.  Screw NYC.  If they want to allow NYPD to stop , frisk and/or kill people in the streets then let this thing play out in the media and in the public.

    They’ve already smeared Tamon in the news.


    So they cannot tell even bring up the rush to judgement issue.  The
    NYPD has smeared him before knowing all the facts in the case,  That
    sounds exactly what they say when the NYPD shoot someone and the public
    reacts to it. 

    The NY Daily News link which was pretty explicitly called Tamon a brick thief multiple times.

    Please get on TV and in the news and defend your son.  Don’t take a quick check so they can silence you

  • I loved this NYPD smear as well….

    A 27-year-old man tried to run away from cops after he was caught
    stealing paving stones out of a Brooklyn housing project — but got hit
    by a police car during the pursuit, police sources said.


  • The Truth

    The lack of more effective smear by the NYPD’s professionals indicates to me that Robinson had no criminal history.  The NYPD immediately “leaks” the rap sheet of every one of their victims to suggest they were thugs who got what they deserved.  So I’ve got to believe those details are lacking here only because the guy was never in trouble.

    Since it really looks like he’d have no reason to run… makes you wonder what the cops really did.

  • Steve F

    This just proves that it is easier to hit a pedestrian or cyclist with the 6 foot wide car, than with a 3/8 inch wide bullet.  Cars make it easier to kill than with a gun, it takes much less skill to aim a car.

    When the cops can tell me why they take a report of a man threatening people with a gun far more seriously than a man threatening people with a car, then I will begin to take whatever else they have to say seriously. 
    Report to the cops simply seeing a man with a gun, and the police are all over it like flies on s***, hit or kill someone with a car, and we see yawns; try reporting being threatened by a driver who forces you off the road, and the cops have been known to ticket the pedestrian or cyclist (this can be documented.)  Says Ray Kelley “Don’t bother us with traffic deaths, we have SERIOUS gun and drug crimes and terrorism to protect you from.”

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

  • Courtney howe

    he was my friend since grade school how could the police kill my friend over bricks the NYPD is gettin away wit way too much n something must b done

  • Anonymous

    Very, very up setting to me:'( This was my ex-fiance’s cousin!!! His funeral is 2morrw:((( Nypd r just disgusting pigs!!!

  • And the beat goes on. . .

  • Anonymous

    nypd is just doing their job

  • dporpentine

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Tamon Robinson since Michael Brown was killed for jaywalking.

    Like so many things, Tamon Robinson’s story is a reminder of how impossible it is to understand why one event can inspire mass protests but another, so similar to it, inspires twenty comments on a transportation blog. (And then a couple of short follow-ups necessitated by the usual “police change their story after being astonished to discover someone gives a fuck.”)

    Let’s repeat what happened here: because a couple of cops suspected an unarmed man of stealing paving stones, they killed him with a car. And then they allegedly screamed at him and abused him because he was unconscious and on his way to death.

    The corker: they didn’t even bother contacting his next of kin. After all, what’s another dead black body? What’s another person dead on a hood?

    I’m convinced the only reason this never became a widely read story is because the instrument used to kill Tamon Robinson was one we’ve collectively decided grants its user near total impunity.

    Even here on Streetsblog, where the problem of vehicular violence is highlighted practically every day, Tamon Robinson has vanished from sight. He back to being one family’s private horror story. And another shameful killing the police–and the cult of the windshield–have swept out of view.

  • Shalena Mason

    Yea doing their job of making sure they kill as many people as possible, and then try to cover it up.


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