Reckless Cop Got 41 Speeding and Red Light Tickets

On Day 4 of Streetsblog's investigation into rogue police officers, we found a real sociopath.

The car that got slapped with 63 tickets, including 34 speeding tickets and seven red light tickets, is parked in the foreground of the general mess at the 23rd station house in East Harlem. Photo: Julianne Cuba
The car that got slapped with 63 tickets, including 34 speeding tickets and seven red light tickets, is parked in the foreground of the general mess at the 23rd station house in East Harlem. Photo: Julianne Cuba

The fight to save our streets from recklessly driving cops now has a poster child.

Streetsblog’s ongoing investigation into police officers who repeatedly speed and run red lights unearthed a true sociopath in blue on Tuesday: An Upper East Side cop with 63 summonses — including 34 camera-issued speeding tickets and seven tickets issued for being caught on camera running a red light — since 2014.

Streetsblog does not yet know the identity of the officer or employee at the 23rd Precinct in East Harlem with the atrocious record, but looking at the long record of his or her moving violations, it’s likely that the repeat offender lives in Queens.

Frankly, it’s not hard to keep up with this dangerous driver.

His reign of terror began in May, 2014, having been caught on camera twice in three days for speeding on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside. The vast majority of camera ticket recipients never get caught again — but not this guy. He was just starting.

  • In 2015, he received 14 more camera summonses — 13 for speeding and one for running a red light. All but one of them were in Queens. And all but one of those were in or near the same spot in Sunnyside: Queens Boulevard and 36th Street.
  • In 2016, he was caught on camera committing 10 more moving violations — nine for speeding and one for running a red light. Again, all of the speeding tickets were near Queens Boulevard and 36th Street.
  • In 2017, he got three more speeding tickets in Queens.
  • Last year, his six moving violations included two for speeding and four for running red lights — again, in basically the same area as the others.
  • And already this year, he has gotten six more tickets — five for speeding and one for running a red light.

Streetsblog is printing his or her full violation record (below right), as a service to anyone who lives in Queens (all data compiled by Howsmydrivingny, the invaluable database of camera violations and parking tickets:

This is the officer's full record. Source: Howsmydrivingny
This is the officer’s full record. Source: Howsmydrivingny

Under a pending bill by Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) that would allow the city to immobilize cars that have gotten more than five camera tickets in a 12-month period, this cop’s private vehicle could have been impounded several times over.

If only this cop was the only repeat offender…

Streetsblog has been chronicling the horrific driving records of cops’ private vehicles ever since Mayor de Blasio said he wanted to build or lease more free parking for NYPD officers as a perk for their hard work. Studies show that free parking dramatically increases the likelihood that someone will drive to work — which is particularly a problem when those drivers are cops.

In four days of running the plates on cars parked in NYPD-only parking spaces outside 11 station houses in Brooklyn and four in Manhattan, we checked out 593 police personal cars and found:

  • 461 cars — or 78 percent — had received some ticket or summons.
  • 348 cars — or 59 percent — had been slapped with a serious moving violation such as running a red light or speeding.
  • And 224 cars — or 38 percent — were repeat offenders of the most serious moving violations, with two or more.

“Reckless driving is a deadly problem. I’m troubled by the Streetsblog investigation showing high rates of repeated speed-camera and red-light violations for personal cars in officer parking spaces at NYPD precincts,” Lander said. “We need to take reckless driving far more seriously, whether those endangering the lives and safety of their neighbors are everyday New Yorkers, City Council Members, taxi/FHV drivers, or NYPD officers.”

Our latest effort focused on Manhattan, where there was an even higher percentage of serious violations, as the chart below shows:

UES cop chart

In the 1st, 5th, 23rd and 19th precincts, Streetsblog found:

  • 174 total cars.
  • 149 cars had received at least one parking or moving violation ticket — or 85.6 percent
  • 107 cars had at least one serious moving violation, such as speeding or running a red light. That’s 61 percent.
  • And 60 cars were repeat offenders for the most serious violations, or 34.5 percent.

One reminder: Camera-issued summonses are issued automatically when a driver exceeds 10 miles per hour above the speed limit. The tickets are sent to the car’s owner — in these cases, police employees — though we can’t be certain who was driving the car at the time of the infraction. That said, many officers get out of tickets when they are pulled over by fellow cops, who are less likely to write a ticket to a colleague.

The worst offenders in the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct were one cop with 24 parking tickets and another with four speeding tickets and a red-light ticket.

The Upper East Side should, apparently, count its blessings.

In Chinatown’s 1st Precinct, for example, the worst offenders included one cop with five speeding tickets; one with three speeding tickets and four red light tickets; one with 10 tickets overall, including five for speeding and one for a red light; one with 10 red light tickets and one speeding ticket; one with five red light tickets and six speeding tickets (another person whose car could be impounded under Lander’s bill); and one with five red light tickets and one speeding ticket — all in a tight-enough time frame that he or she could also have the car taken away under the bill.

 

In Tribeca’s 5th Precinct, the worst offenders include: one cop with six speeding tickets; one with five; one with nine speeding tickets; and one with 14 speeding and six red light tickets.

But nothing compares to the horrors committed by cops affiliated with the 23rd Precinct in East Harlem. In addition to the cop with 63 overall tickets, there was one cop with eight speeding tickets and three red light tickets and two cops with five speeding tickets and one red light ticket.

We asked City Hall to comment on whether the mayor is concerned about all these reckless drivers, and mayoral spokesman Seth Stein said only, “The Administration is concerned about anyone who drives recklessly, regardless of their job.”

Stein declined to answer a follow-up, seeking information on whether the city has a disciplinary program for dealing with cops like the sociopathic 23rd Precinct driver.

Stein’s comments came one day after de Blasio dismissed Streetsblog’s questions about why he wants to build more parking for officers whose driving endangers the public they are meant to serve. We wanted to know if the mayor was worried about his plan to encourage even more driving. Here is his answer in full (minus a bit of testiness between the mayor and this reporter):

I disagree with that on its face. … The fact is these are our first responders, we expect them to show up no matter what. We expect them to stay when we need them to stay. A lot of them live quite far from where they work. It is important for everyone to drive safely. That’s what Vision Zero is all about and Vision Zero is filled with consequences and you are seeing more and more consequences each year. But it makes no sense to say, “OK, we know a lot or our uniform service officers have to drive to work and we are not going to give them a park.” That makes no sense. We are clearly very adamant that everyone has to follow the rules and there are consequences for those who don’t. But if we want to stop placard abuse we need to do something the root causes.

In a follow-up question, we asked the mayor about his use of the words “have to” in relation to commuting by car. Certainly, 51 percent of the police force lives outside the five boroughs, but the base salary of a New York City police officer is $85,292 after five years on the force, an income that is roughly $35,000 above the citywide median income. There is no way police officer “have to” drive to work because there is no way a police officer has to live outside the city on that salary.

Again, the mayor was irritated.

“I just said it in the beginning of my answer and I said it in the beginning of my answer last time,” he said, referring to a similar question Streetsblog had asked when the parking plan was first introduced. “Because a lot of them live very far away from the city, there’s not always great mass transit options, a lot of them have to stay all sorts of hours, a lot of them have to show up on short notice. It stands to reason.”

It actually does not, said the co-director of Transportation Alternatives, the safe streets advocacy group.

“These numbers are beyond disturbing,” said Marco Conner. “They reveal a law enforcement agency acting with impunity and protecting its own, to the detriment of all New Yorkers.”

— with Julianne Cuba
  • Andrew

    Welcome to Manhattan!

    “I just said it in the beginning of my answer and I said it in the beginning of my answer last time,” he said, referring to a similar question Streetsblog had asked when the parking plan was first introduced. “Because a lot of them live very far away from the city, there’s not always great mass transit options, a lot of them have to stay all sorts of hours, a lot of them have to show up on short notice. It stands to reason.”

    On the working assumption that our scofflaw friend at the 23rd Precinct lives near his most popular location to receive tickets, he both lives and works a 4-minute walk from a subway station, and he has a straightforward 30-40 minute transit commute (even in the middle of the night) that many New Yorkers can only dream of.

  • lonianncarusso

    41 tickets? Come on you know who this cop is! Take away his license! IMMEDIATELY! Who is he? He is not special. Take him off the force. He is DANGEROUS. How can NY let him run up tickets like that? What are they waiting for?

  • satire

    Have some sympathy and understanding. They’ve got the most dangerous high-pressure job in the world. You want them to drive slow, always worrying about tickets, then they might be heading to save your wife or child from the thugs and gangbangers? Have some common courtesy and respect for the boys in blue.

  • lonianncarusso

    What? Sympathy? Are you kidding me? I almost got killed when I was walking in the street by a cop car! Are you insane? He must be punished for sure! Us citizens can not even get a couple of tickets and still drive. Give me a break! Most of the time they drive reckless GOING NO WHERE. I am sorry. They should pay their dues like everyone else. No excuses! Listen that is the job they choose. Yes it is dangerous. They are not required to work for the NYPD. They choose it. When you break the law cop or not. You must pay the consequences no matter what or what job you hold. No one is better than the other. THE LAW IS THE LAW. If you check out most of their records on driving plus all the other stuff. You could go on forever. No excuses. Do the cops have courtesy and respect for civilians when they are trigger happy? When they rape? When they steal drug money and drugs? Come on. Look at the picture. I totally disagree with you

  • crazytrainmatt

    67th is a pretty decent bike route from 1st Ave into the park and the zoo. The 19th precinct is constantly parked on the sidewalk there.

    https://goo.gl/maps/2coDFYg5Cdu

  • woodyguthrie

    So we see the real reason NYPD are against automated enforcement. It has nothing to do with any threat to their jobs. They just want to be able to drive with reckless abandon and not be held accountable. Automated enforcement makes it harder to use their badge as a get out of jail free card.

  • Literally the only purpose of these reports is to drive regular law-abiding people insane. The NYPD rule with an iron fist. They do whatever they want, and they always will. Corruption seems to be getting worse, not better. Just be glad for every day in which you don’t get killed by them IMO. That is the best an ordinary citizen can hope for from the NYPD.

  • I’d have way more respect for DeBlasio if he came out and said something to the effect of “Look I am a huge pussy and I am scared of the police, and that is why I am unable to criticize them ever. I am sorry.”

  • I thank you for using the word “sociopath”. This department’s utter lack of accountability has led to its members internalising the idea that everyone just needs to get out of their way.

    Perhaps one day we will have a mayor who will strengthen the civilian oversight which the law calls for.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Corruption seems to be getting worse, not better.”

    Watch the documentary The 75, and you might change your mind about that! Yes, it could be worse.

  • Andy S

    Missing /s ?

  • Joe R.

    You have all these license plates with multiple violations. A good start now is to report them to the insurance companies. We may not be able to do anything about this from a legal standpoint, but we can certainly hit them in the wallet. Maybe when their next insurance bill is something like $10K they’ll find another way to get to work.

  • Jacob

    “It’s better than it used to be” is an incredibly cynical excuse for the status quo.

  • Joe R.

    Corruption may have been worse in the past by some measures, but at least back then the cops didn’t routinely harass the citzenry by giving them all sorts of tickets for BS offenses. I used to be able ride my bike on the sidewalk right in front of cops and they didn’t give a shit. Granted, sidewalk riding may not have been illegal back then, but if it was, the law certainly wasn’t enforced. Ditto for other offenses. I don’t recall anyone on a bike getting red light tickets, for example.

  • Joe R.

    Here the word is very apropos. Generally only two types of people become cops. One type is the idealist who thinks he/she can make a difference. Unfortunately, this type usually burns out, quits, or abandons their ideals when they realize they can’t. The second type, which is the majority, are sociopaths/control freaks on a power trip who enjoy exerting authority over others just for its own sake. In this respect they’re not a whole lot different than Hilter’s SS or the Soviet KGB, only we call them police instead. The law isn’t a tool to keep order for these people. It’s an excuse to harass people, beat up people, and in some cases shoot people. Of course, this type thinks it’s above the laws they enforce, which explains the atrocious driving records found here.

  • AMH

    Keep the pressure on!

  • Aloyicious

    Sometimes it appears to me that our police force is in fact an occupying army of sadistic criminals who we enable through our tax dollars. I pray for a time of reckoning where we lay off not hundreds but thousands of these people. Let them play flag football on their own time, and pay for the privilege. As for public safety, we can handle ourselves.

  • Joe R.

    NYC has about 3 times the number of police per capita as most other large cities. We could lay off 2/3rd of the cops tomorrow and crime will probably remain the same. The difference is there will be less cops around to harass law-abiding citizens over petty laws, which seems to be what most of that extra 2/3rds does.

  • carl jacobs

    So you don’t know much about occupying armies then, I take it. Because if you actually thought the NYPD was an “occupying army of sadistic criminals” you wouldn’t be writing blog comments to that effect.

    You can always tell when people aren’t actually afraid of the police. They will say things like “You guys have guns. I am afraid for my life.”

  • carl jacobs

    In this respect they’re not a whole lot different than Hilter’s SS or the Soviet KGB, only we call them police instead

    You do realize that this statement is factually, historically, and morally illiterate, right. You do understand this?

  • Joe R.

    How so? Over the last 20 years we’ve seen the militarization of police departments in terms of both tactics and weaponry. We’ve also seen the increasing use of police to harass the citizenry for violating petty laws. We call it broken-windows policing, but it’s similar to the tactics used by the SS and KGB as a pretense to detain whomever they wanted to. We’ve even done summary executions, even if we don’t call them that, when police have used deadly force without justification. The only real difference I’d say is that such summary executions aren’t (yet) official policy. That’s coming soon, probably in less than a generation, in the name of national security.

    You can be a boot licker if you want. I think the police need to be slapped down, and hard. They used to be civil servants who worked for us. Now they think they own the city, and we just live in it. Their behavior here of violating the laws they’re charged with enforcing tells us all we need to know. It’s also interesting that police, especially the NYPD, support stringent gun control laws which effectively disarm the citizenry. Again, that was a prelude to what happened in Germany and elsewhere before they became police states.

  • carl jacobs

    Even a minimal amount of historical competence will establish beyond metaphysical doubt the difference between living in Warsaw in 1940 and living in NYC in 2019. If you really need the instruction, however, I suggest you go to YouTube, search for “Dr Timothy Snyder Yale University Bloodlands” and let him teach you exactly what it means to live under an organization like the SS. These preening displays of ersatz victimhood do nothing but insult the experiences of those who actually lived the reality.

  • Instead being laid them off, they could be deployed in enforcement against the type of law-breaking that affects the greatest number of New Yorkers most often: traffic infractions.

    With an appropriate level of an enforcement, we could stamp out speeding, stopping ahead of the stopping line, stop-sign running, turning without signalling, double parking, and all of the other illegal acts that drivers have become accustomed to getting away with and now feel entitled to commit.

  • bolwerk

    In the history of policing, has anything like this *ever* worked? Even allowing that there is a place for enforcement, things like this facilitate the creation of Orwellian fishing nets that at best don’t get get turned against the poor and marginalized until their original intent is forgotten after an election cycle or two.

    There are other solutions for stopping anti-social driving. One is to not even facilitate driving. You don’t need to ban anything; you simply affirmatively create an urban environment that doesn’t include driving, or at least includes a lot less of it.

    For that matter, nearly every problem facing society can be answered effectively without expanding use of police.

  • bolwerk

    ?this

    That’s to say nothing of the often-unmeasured cop-on-citizen crime that shit-eating liberals like Bill de Blasio cheer for.

  • Drivers behave the way they do because they know that there is a vanishingly small chance of their being caught breaking the law. The most immediate way to change this perception is to adjust enforcement priorities. Catching every single dangerous driver would not be possible; but it would not be necessary to catch all of them. We’d need only to catch enough of them to change the general perception about the likelihood of being caught, which, in turn, would change the trends in behaviour.

    You are of course right to suggest that the more fundamental answer is to create an urban environment that does not facilitate driving in the first place. That is a worthy long-term goal, the kind of thing that can be implemented on the scale of years to decades, obstructed at every turn by those klown kolleges known as Community Boards. Whereas, enforcement changes can be enacted immediately (or could be, if we did not live in the bizarro world in which the police arrogate to themselves the policy-making function, and ignore the policy directives of the elected mayor). The two approaches of remaking the built environment and putting enforcement pressure on badly-behaving drivers are not in competition with each other.

    And you make an incontrovertible point when you note that enforcement eventually devolves into excuses to target oppressed and marginalised communities. This sorry state of affairs arises from toxic police culture in general, and, in particular, from the extremes of New York City’s unaccountable and dangerously out-of-control department. Still, an announcement of an enforcement initiative against, let’s say, sexual assault would nevertheless be welcomed by most people (including by most people who dislike what our City’s police department has become). Police dysfunction should not be taken as a reason to oppose necessary evolution of enforcement priorities.

  • Joe R.

    Saying the police are like the KGB or SS doesn’t mean living in NYC now is like living in Warsaw in 1940. That’s a silly straw man you’re setting up. Thankfully, other facets of our society don’t resemble Hitler’s Germany, but the police isn’t one of them. However, the fact we already have one of the pieces in place is frightening. All it would take is for a authoritarian regime to get established, control the court system (effectively eliminating any limits which currently prevent the police from getting even worse) and you’re there. The police are limited now only because our legal framework will see to it that they’re punished if they overstep their authority. They’re not limited by training or temperament. If Hitler walked into office tomorrow, today’s police would be more than happy to act exactly like the SS did. That’s the kind of people we have on the force now. If you’re not more than a little frightened by this you’re living under a rock.

  • MyBrooklyn1

    Dont like cops Next time you need help call your local crackhead

  • Sal

    Lay off cops ? When the city goes ip in flames. Who will be here to protect us? Anonymous feminine liberal males that occupy this board??

  • Joe R.

    Protect yourself. Get a gun and carry it like the Constitution allows you. Also, the Supreme Court decided a while ago that it’s not the duty of the cops to protect individual citizens. All police really do is take a report after the fact.

  • Sal

    You’re a tampon man aren’t you. Inbet with pads, you stain your panties. Right buddy

  • I’ve said that for years. How did we survive as a species until 1880AD+ without police?? we managed….

  • this is not surprising. our system has gone down the rabbit hole so far, it’s almost not even retrievable. if you want to protect yourself from it, http://www.stloiyf.com

    or you can take your chances….

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