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.”

State Senator Marty Golden
State Senator Marty Golden

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.

Streetsblog will appeal has appealed NYPD’s decision to shield files related to Golden’s fatal crash from the public.

  • Adrian Horczak

    Good work Streetsblog. You can’t let politicians get away with corruption so easily.

  • Ken Dodd

    Golden would have been onto his buddies in the NYPD about this as soon as the news broke about his bike lane hijacking cop impersonating high jinx. He knew that the media would be looking into his driving history, and god knows what kind of corruption would be exposed by someone prying into NYPD records concerning his fatal crash. NYPD have been briefed about an incoming request, and told to reject it.

  • Vooch

    Now we need a enterprising reporter to dig into Marty Golden’s disability claim when he retired at age 33 from the NYPD with full benefits.

    99.9% chance it’s a fraudulent claim

  • Larry Littlefield

    Again, I wouldn’t push that idea. Despite the three-quarters pension, you take a huge hit if you leave the NYPD at 33, after perhaps 12 years rather than 20. It doesn’t make sense to do so for no reason.

    The fraudsters run up overtime in their 20th year, and THEN are suddenly disabled.

  • Vooch

    True to some degree – but given Marty’s extreme corruption in every other aspect of his life, I
    am willing to be his NYPD disability gig is also a fraud

    Note it’s a disability claim

  • Frank Kotter

    Cops gonna cop for cops

    (even when the copped-for copper has been on disability most of his professional life)

  • The idea that the police department even has the power to reject these requests is scandalous, and fundamentally undercuts the so-called Freedom of Information Law.

  • Larry Littlefield

    You’re a strange guy, Ferdinand. You take the union line that less well off workers outside the public sector should be paying higher taxes in exchange for less in public services.

    Except for the police. The only public employees “progressives” are willing to demand fairness and accountability from on behalf of the serfs.

    Guys like Golden are more consistent. No fairness or accountability from anyone.

  • Boeings+Bikes

    Reminds me of that scene in Spotlight, when the Boston PD was shielding child-molesters in the Catholic church and the Boston Globe was trying to get public court documents that we being shielded from “nosy reporters.”

  • Come, now. You have conflated two questions that have absolutely nothing to do with one another. I know that you are smarter than that.

    I do not begrudge police officers their pay or their other benefits for doing a dangerous and stressful job. (Indeed, the job should pay even more, and should carry educational requirements, toward the end of getting a better calibre of applicant.)

    At the same time, the police department should certainly not be empowered to keep as secret these vital pieces of information. This law-enforcement agency has no legitimate administrative role, and has no right to thwart inquiries by members of the public.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The police get more on average, in total compensation, than workers on Wall Street, let alone anyone else.

    But most of that compensation takes place late in their careers and during their long retirement. Starting pay is kept low, to reduce the caliber of applicant.

    In fact the PBA and UFA got that genius Bloomberg to cut starting pay to $25,000 per year back in the 2000s. Bloomberg had to fight against the PBA to get starting pay back up.

  • strangemonkey

    They are covering up corruption. Eric Schneiderman, Investigate Now!

  • strangemonkey

    And on the gravy train in Albany, like corrupt Sheldon Silver.

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