NYPD Denies Request for Records on Marty Golden’s Fatal 2005 Crash
According to NYPD, releasing files on a widely reported collision that happened 12 years ago would be an "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
NYPD has denied a Streetsblog freedom of information request for records pertaining to the crash that killed Hariklia Zafiropoulos, the woman State Senator Marty Golden hit with his SUV in 2005.
Zafiropoulos, 74, and her sister were walking home from church on Third Avenue at 84th Street in Bay Ridge when Golden struck her. She died months later from injuries sustained in the crash.
NYPD told the press Zafiropoulos crossed against the light, but reports didn’t indicate what led police to conclude she didn’t have the right of way.
In situations where a motorist seriously injures or kills a pedestrian or cyclist, NYPD tends to adopt the driver’s version of events as the official account of the crash. NYPD findings are often later contradicted by evidence showing the victim was not at fault.
In 2008, Zafiropoulos’s estate sued Golden for negligence and recklessness, according to the Daily News. Golden settled for $750,000.
The crash was back in the news last month, after Golden flashed his City Hall-issued parking placard at cyclist Brian Howald and allegedly threatened to arrest him after Howald refused to exit a bike lane to make way for Golden’s chauffeured Cadillac.
After that incident, online sleuths found that city traffic enforcement cameras had cited Golden’s car 10 times for speeding in school zones or running red lights since 2015, indicating that Golden or his chauffeur continued to drive recklessly after he killed a person with his vehicle.
Weeks after his December stunt made headlines, Golden was still putting people at risk: his car was spotted blocking a crosswalk on New Year’s Eve.
Streetsblog filed a FOIL for the 2005 collision report and other relevant documents on December 13. NYPD rejected the request on December 26, on the grounds that granting it “would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
When rejecting a FOIL, in general NYPD either says the investigation is still open or cites the privacy of the parties involved. In this case, the crash happened over 12 years ago, the victim is deceased, and the names of those involved were widely reported. If privacy is somehow a legitimate concern, NYPD could redact whatever information it believes should remain concealed.
Golden is a former cop and a political ally of New York City police unions. Normally it takes weeks or months for NYPD to acknowledge a request for crash records, and additional time to determine whether to honor it. It took the department eight days (NYPD says it received the request on December 18) to deny the Golden FOIL.
will appeal has appealed NYPD’s decision to shield files related to Golden’s fatal crash from the public.