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Aggressive Driving

Maniac Driver Let Go By Cops After Trying to Kill Cyclist is Nothing New

11:33 AM EDT on June 8, 2019

The driver trying to kill the biker. Photo: Barstool Sports.

When biker Chauncy Young saw the news about another driver caught on video trying to kill a cyclist, his first thought was "been there, done that" — except that when when he was harassed and assaulted, and his would-be assailant let go by the cops, there was no video of it. 

"This happens, it really happens — road rage is normal in the city unfortunately," said Young.

Young said a reckless driver purposely hit him, messing up his bike, after he confronted the driver for going through a red light and nearly hitting him — a incident similar to the terrifying incident caught on camera along the West Side Highway this week. Young showed up at the precinct to try to get some help, but police similarly did nothing, he said.

"A car went through a red light & almost hit my bike. I caught up & spoke to him, he pulled over to fight me. I refused & biked away, he hit me & messed up bike. Another Bicyclist took pics. NYPD? No Action," Young wrote on Twitter. 

Young shared his disturbing story following the viral video of a rage-filled motorist who tried to kill a biker in Manhattan on Thursday. The maniacal motorist — now identified by Gothamist as city firefighter and Yonkers resident Brauley De La Rosa — drove through a crosswalk near the Hudson River Greenway and 24th Street after the light had turned red and pedestrians had the walk signal, according to Liz Gonzales, who wrote about the incident for Barstool Sports.

Gothamist has identified the driver as city firefighter Brauley De La Rosa . Photo: Liz Gonzales
Gothamist has identified the driver as city firefighter Brauley De La Rosa . Photo: Liz Gonzales
City firefighter Brauley De La Rosa is still driving recklessly after he tried to kill a cyclist with his car in June. Photo: Liz Gonzales

She said the driver, who was behind the wheel of what looks like a maroon Dodge Charger or Challenger — cars marketed specifically as tough machines and as “Unmistakable Muscle” — almost hit her and her dog, as well as the biker right behind her. (In the Gothamist piece, De La Rosa denies the details of the video.)

Gonzales quickly walked around the car, but when the biker confronted the driver, he went berserk — at one point, the muscle-man behind the wheel snatched the biker’s phone from his hand, and tried to run him over, physically assaulting the biker with his car as he shoved the biker forward with the car's grill.

Cops didn’t give the driver so much as a ticket and let him speed off — sending the message to every other driver out there that they can get away with attempted murder, or even actual murder, as long as their weapon of choice is a 3,000-pound car.

“If the guy had been threatened with a gun? Arrested. A knife? Arrested. Punches thrown? Maybe. A powerful metal box weighing 1000s of pounds? Okay, move along. When will this city change? The NYPD doesn't care. They just don't care,” wrote Clarence Eckerson Jr. in a comment on Streetsblog’s initial story on the assault.

But none of what happened came as a shock to Young or to other victims — they say that’s standard practice for New York’s Finest, who give motorists special treatment and treat bikers like second-class citizens.

"If you start following cyclists, cycling-activists & groups in almost any city, you will indeed see that running over (& killing) cyclists is seemingly quite legal these days as charges are rarely brought against motorists," wrote one cyclist on Twitter.

Another biker Jeremy Posner said he was biking on First Avenue near 61st Street when he had to slam on his breaks because a driver tried to make a quick left turn through the bike lane. Posner flew over his handlebars onto the ground and severely dislocated his shoulder. Although the car did not physically touch Posner, he called 911 and requested that police show up so he could report the reckless driver.

But police never came, he said.

“I called 911 and requested police and an ambulance and they didn’t even dispatch police” he said. “There’s no disincentive for the driver to do what he did to me. Absolutely no repercussions for the driver.”

Young and Posner's stories were just one of many shared in response to the video, which elicited an outpouring of responses, both from those who resonated with the biker’s life-threatening experience, and those who reflexively came to the abusive driver’s defense.

But even Gonzales, a self-proclaimed anti-biker, knew that what the driver did was wrong and he should be arrested. 

"Rarely am I on the biker’s side, but that driver almost hit me and (my dog) when we were crossing and the biker was right behind me and was also almost hit. I kept on moving, the biker did not," she said on Twitter. "Driver should be in jail."

Police did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but Gonzales said late Friday that cops called her to get more information about what happened. Police had initially let the driver go, so Gonzales credited her now-viral video for prompting NYPD to finally take action.

"Update: two detectives just showed get more information on the situation," she said on Twitter. "Look at the internet doing some good!"

Council Speaker Corey Johnson called the video disturbing, and said the "driver must be held accountable." Johnson said his district office, which includes the area where the incident took place, is in communication with police.

Streetsblog sent the Mayor’s office the video of the interaction, but top de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein deferred to the NYPD. FDNY say it's investigating the incident, said spokesman Myles Miller.

Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso, members of Transportation Alternatives, and safe-streets advocates will rally on the steps of City Hall on Monday at 1 p.m. to demand the driver be held accountable, and that the city pilot a right-of-way street cameras program.

"After deliberately trying to run over a cyclist, this driver received no ticket or disciplinary action by the NYPD. If that doesn't prove the special privilege that we give car owners, I don't know what does," Reynoso said.

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