“No Criminality Suspected” Stencils Spotlight Lack of Traffic Justice

A stencil memorializes Martha Atwater, who was killed when a pickup truck driver jumped the curb and crushed her on the sidewalk in Brooklyn Heights. NYPD said that "no criminality is suspected." Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/txup/8558703767/in/set-72157632997479421##Time's Up!##

Last night, a group of activists traveled to the sites of eight traffic fatalities and stenciled paint memorials for those who lost their lives walking or biking in crashes for which NYPD declared “no criminality suspected” within hours of the crash. This morning, Time’s Up! led a memorial bike ride to the eight crash sites.

In a plea for justice from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the stencil memorials ask, “Why, Ray, Why?”

Memorials were stenciled for:

In all of these cases, NYPD declared there was “no criminality suspected” of the driver. While NYPD has recently modified how it handles crash investigations, results have yet to be seen.

  • Anonymous

    More coverage + photos over at Gothamist: http://bit.ly/13XCerP


    Ray Kelly’s AUTOmated, police-state machine simply ignores traffic violence as a crime. In this way NYPD brutalizes all NYC street users, keeps us in fear of transforming our streets, and devastates those who are left wondering: Why, Ray, Why, have we lost someone we love?


  • Peter

    While I applaud the effort to draw attention to the issue Martha Atwater was killed just a few blocks from her home. Dozens of friends, her husband and her two children will see this regularly.

    This seems insensitive, no?

  • Daphna

    I am glad to read about this type of activism and awareness-raising. I am glad other groups besides Streetsblog are taking actions to raise awareness of the number of deaths by auto and the lack of consequences for the drivers. I think it is great that Times Up! is working to keep pressure on the NYPD for their lack of investigation and their lack of charging drivers when improper driving is evident. I am glad that Gothamist also covered this.

  • I can’t speak for her family, but if one of my family or friends were killed I’d want a proper investigation.

  • Joe R.

    I’ve little doubt seeing that stencil every day will be painful to her family and friends, but I can’t think of a better way to make other people aware of this issue. Most people don’t take an issue like this seriously until it hits them in the face (no pun intended). Either they need to lose a loved one in a traffic incident, or see an incident happen in front of them. This stencil could have almost the same effect. The media could help too. The same way they got people all worked up over bicycles, despite bikes not being statistically that dangerous, they could do the same for motor vehicles. Sadly, I doubt they will because the media are largely controlled by their advertisers, with auto companies being high up on the list. The only way this issue will be solved is by making enough people angry about it through a grass roots movement. Even then, the legislators will be reluctant to do anything to curb auto dominance because those in power drive. They will listen to votes however. If we start voting people out of office who won’t fix this problem, the next ones in will listen.

  • Anonymous

    That was more or less my first thought too: how awful for everyone who knew those people. But I suspect that there will be a wide range of reactions from the people closest to them–everything from “That’s an abomination” to “Thank goodness someone sees this for the injustice that it is.” Because my sense from knowing people in these sorts of situations is that the feeling alone in finding it injustice is one of the worst parts.


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