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Charles Hynes

NYPD: Pedestrian Killed Himself by Running Into Stopped Police Cruiser

1:24 PM EDT on April 22, 2013

NYPD has reportedly changed its story about what happened to Tamon Robinson, the man who suffered fatal injuries when he was chased by officers in a police cruiser through a housing complex in Brooklyn. Whereas witnesses said police ran Robinson over, NYPD now claims the victim killed himself by running into the police cruiser, which wasn't moving.

Meanwhile, the Daily News reports that, a year after the crash, District Attorney Charles Hynes has yet to decide whether to bring the case to a grand jury.

Tamon Robinson, 27, was loading paving stones into an SUV at Bayview Houses in Canarsie on April 12, 2012, when according to press accounts he was chased by officers who believed he was stealing the bricks. From a Times story published a week later, after Robinson had died: "Mr. Robinson ran toward his building, but a police car hit him before he reached it, according to a police report about the events."

The Times said the Internal Affairs Bureau was investigating Robinson's death.

Contrary to the initial NYPD account, on Saturday the Daily News reported that the official NYPD report claims "the police car was stopped on a footpath outside the Bayview Houses last April when Robinson 'did run into' the vehicle, causing him to fall backward and strike his head."

This story would strain credulity even without conflicting reports from people who saw the crash. 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.”

The Daily News says an independent expert has been hired by Hynes's office to reconstruct the crash. “We can’t make a decision until we have the final report," said a Hynes spokesperson.

NYPD sent Robinson's family a bill for damage to the cruiser, but rescinded it after the media picked up the story.

In another instance of NYPD using a police car as a deadly weapon, last August officers rammed a dirt bike in the Bronx, killing the bike's operator and injuring a passenger. The Daily News notes that the NYPD Patrol Guide "prohibits 'ramming' in an attempt to stop a vehicle."

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