Police Arrest Maniac Who Tried to Drive Over a Cyclist — And He Should Never Have Been on the Road!

Police arrested city firefighter Brauley De La Rosa on Monday after he tried to kill a cyclist with his car days earlier. Photo: Liz Gonzales
Police arrested city firefighter Brauley De La Rosa on Monday after he tried to kill a cyclist with his car days earlier. Photo: Liz Gonzales

Cops arrested the city firefighter who days ago tried to mow down a cyclist with his car, despite initially letting the recidivist reckless driver leave the West Side Highway scene without initial charges.

Police say 27-year-old Brauley De La Rosa was driving with a suspended license on Thursday when he started shoving a biker with the grill of his Dodge muscle car near 24th Street — a disturbing incident that was caught on video and published by Liz Gonzales of Barstool Sports. What was not caught on video was what started the exchange. Gonzales has said De La Rosa ran a red light and almost hit her and her dog before taking on the cyclist, who refused to back down, and remained on the scene because De La Rosa initially took his cellphone.

New York’s Finest arrived in time before the driver and the cyclist had left. They initially let the off-duty firefighter drive away in his maroon Dodge Charger — cars marketed specifically as tough machines and as “Unmistakable Muscle” but then launched an investigation Friday after the viral video had been aired by multiple media outlets.

Police charged De La Rosa with reckless endangerment and driving without a valid license — his license was suspended at the time of the incident — after he turned himself in at the 10th Precinct on Monday, according to the New York Post. Cops would not provide more details about De La Rosa’s suspended license, and the state Department of Motor Vehicles did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s unclear why police did not so much as run De La Rosa’s plates or ask for his driver’s license at the scene. (De La Rosa, who lives in Yonkers, told Gothamist that he thought the outrage over the incident was “totally blown out of proportion.”)

“Pretty incredible stuff that the police responded to this attempt to kill a guy with a car and none of them figured that they’d run the license of the driver who tried to kill a guy with a car,” said cyclist (and, full disclosure, Streetsblog contributor) Dave Colon. 

If they had, they would have discovered he should not have even been on the road for another reason besides having a suspended license — De La Rosa’s car has been nabbed 11 times for speeding in a school zone — enough that the vehicle could have been impounded by cops under the provisions of a pending bill by Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander.

The bill is opposed by Mayor de Blasio, but Lander said Monday that it’s necessary for keeping maniac drivers, like De La Rosa, off the road. 

“We need stronger tools to combat sociopathic driving,” the pol wrote on Twitter after news of De La Rosa’s arrest.

De La Rosa’s camera violations only came to light after another video was posted to Twitter Monday. The plate was then run through the Howsmydrivingny database of camera violations.

That video also shows police pull up to the scene and then just seconds later let the off-duty firefighter drive away, despite police continuing to tell reporters that “both parties left the scene prior to police arrival.”

How police handled the incident is in stark contrast to the NYPD’s ongoing crack-down against cyclists — cops seem more inclined to ticket and arrest innocent bikers for not having bells or helmets (which are not required by law), or for riding illegal e-bikes, than they do aggressive drivers in 3,000-pound vehicles who actually try to hurt other people.

“That video is a clear-cut example of the privilege given to cars in the city of New York. [But] cyclists without bells, cyclists without bells, delivery people making deliveries, those seem to be the criminal charges they want to pursue,” said Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso during a press conference held before De La Rosa’s arrest. “But when a [driver] is pushing a person, a cyclist, over with their vehicle, they’re using that vehicle as a dangerous weapon and we need to talk about what police should be doing in those types of cases.”

Reynoso was joined by Manhattan Council Member Helen Rosenthal, members of Transportation Alternatives, and safe-streets advocates on the steps of City Hall Monday to demand the driver be held accountable before police had made the arrest.

The pols and advocates also called on the city to install right-of-way street cameras as part of a pilot program so that motorists cannot continue to get away with reckless driving.

“Not only did (De La Rosa) attempt to run a cyclist down, but he also drove through a cross walk against a red light. This behavior is unacceptable, and is excellent justification for the City to pilot the installation of right-of-way street cameras,” said Rosenthal. “Pedestrians and cyclists should not be at the mercy of drivers who have the ability to injure or even kill them. It’s time for New Yorkers to regain control of our streets.”

The FDNY did not respond to a request for comment following De La Rosa’s arrest but a spokesman said earlier that day that arrested FDNY members typically receive 28-day suspensions.

  • Andrew

    Did I read that correctly? A 28-day suspension for attempted murder?

  • Joe R.

    How about if you intimidate anyone with your car in any way (that should even include stuff like allowing passengers in your car to throw stuff at cyclists) you get an automatic lifetime driving ban? This guy has proven beyond a doubt he lacks the proper temperament to drive a motor vehicle. He should never be allowed to drive again.

  • Komanoff

    Great, ongoing coverage of this story, guys. But please drop “maniac”‘ from future headlines and body copy on this and similar incidents. It serves to “otherize” dangerous drivers by relegating them to an aberrant category, when IMO it is *driving* itself that inevitably gives rise to this type of conduct. In this case, “Firefighter” or “Motorist” would have been descriptive enough and not taken us down the otherization path. Thanks.

  • ddartley

    De Blasio opposes Lander’s Reckless Driver Accountability Act? I didn’t know that. Why? I looked (a little bit) for answers and all I found was Streetsblog’s own article a week or two back about Gounardes’s similar bill, and commenter “City Hall watcher” attributed it to de Blasio’s fear of NYPD. I have long thought that de Blasio is politically afraid of NYPD but I’d want some evidence before agreeing that it’s the cause of his opposition to Lander’s excellent bill. Any insights?

  • Outrageous that it took a city councilman and the public to get the NYPD to do its job. Isn’t this a police state? Aren’t there license plate readers? Didn’t a terrorist mow down pedestrians just a few miles south on the same highway? This is outrageous. Good work, fellow citizens in identifying this perp from Yonkers. “First Responder” privilege needs to end.

  • r

    De Blasio opposes it because it would result in lots of cops and firefighters getting their cars booted, as this story proves. He’s terrified of the cops, for sure. So there you go.

  • John M. Hammer

    One summer I was cycling through the parking lot of a Queens shopping center when a car cut across some empty parking spaces instead of making a proper left turn in the lot’s travel lane and headed straight for me. I honked my horn, he noticed me, we both swerved and came to a stop. His window was opened, I said, “Please don’t cut corners when turning,” and he started cursing at me. I continued on my way to where I intended to lock up my bike. I heard his tires squealing, glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed him doing a quick 180° to come back toward me. I thought he was going to curse at me some more but when he started to get close and wasn’t slowing down I jerked my bike to the side and he just missed me. I heard him yelling curses as he passed. He stopped his car, backed up, and took another run at me. Again I got out of the way. He stopped, backed up, and took a third run at me – this time I popped up onto the nearby sidewalk. He stopped near me yelling curses, I shouted back his license plate number and told him I was calling the police. He yelled a little more than burned rubber and left the parking lot.

    Shaking, I called 911. 10 minutes later, three cars of NYPD arrived. One of the officers had two striped on his uniform, another had three. I explained what happened, gave them a description of the guy’s car and the guy (as much as I was able to see him from the chest up), and the license plate number. The cops told me they couldn’t do anything because he hadn’t hit me; that if I wasn’t injured and my bike wasn’t damaged, “…he’s just being an asshole and we can’t arrest him for that.” Now of course that’s wrong, what he was doing was – at the very least – criminal menacing (little different than pulling out a gun and purposely shooting it in someone’s general direction) but I was too upset to think about that. So no arrest even though there were witnesses willing to make statements, no warning, not even a report. What if I had a video? I didn’t but I asked about that. “Nope, that wouldn’t make any difference, he didn’t do anything illegal.”

    Off duty and retired FDNY and NYPD are, in my neighborhood, among the biggest parking scofflaws and angry road-raging bike-haters I encounter. There’s one stretch of bike lane that adjoins a park which is filled with placarded parked cars almost every summer weekend day and holiday – even though there is plenty of legal parking on all three other streets which bound that park. I have multiple times been put at unnecessary risk while on my bike passing near the entrance of a combined NYPD/FDNY training site by off-duty jerks who couldn’t stand the thought that a bicycle was in front of their car in or out near the guard booth. It’s very demoralizing.

  • Vooch

    The first crime is assault with a deadly weapon with intent to cause grave bodily harm.

    “…..A first degree felony assault can carry up to 30 years of prison time, while an aggravated assault may carry up to 25 years of imprisonment. Second degree assault is a class D felony, and imposes a term of anywhere between 2 and 7 years of prison time. As you can see, even second degree assault charges are extremely serious crimes. Class E felonies require prison time of anywhere from 1.5 years to 4 years, and typically fall under the second degree assault charges…..”

    ( most anything can be criminally defined as a deadly weapon – for example a stick or even fists )

    It’s also a felony to take a cell phone to prevent a victim from call for help.

    So at least 2 felonies

  • Ian Turner

    How can you be a firefighter if your license is suspended?

  • qrt145

    Based on some of his comments, he empathizes with scofflaw drivers, so maybe he is worried that his car will be impounded when he becomes unemployed in a couple of years and no longer gets driven around by the police.

  • totally agree. charles, i’m sure there’s some sort of psychology study that has been done on what happens to otherwise calm people when they drive.

    if you haven’t read the great book “AMongst the Thugs” it shows how in england regular people become insane every saturday when their football team is playing. this seems like the same thing.

  • Dan

    The cops told me they couldn’t do anything because he hadn’t hit me; that if I wasn’t injured and my bike wasn’t damaged,

    On one hand I’m surprised that they said that because that is very clearly attempted assault. On the other hand, I’m not surprised at all that police officers chose to do nothing.

  • qrt145

    Are firefighters required to keep a valid driver license at all times?

  • qrt145

    “‘I’m sure there’s some sort of psychology study that has been done on what happens to otherwise calm people when they drive.”

    Well, there is this famous documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFHT1lw3vSI

  • William Lawson

    And yet, never forget that if the driver had done that to a cop, his car would have been pumped full of bullets, and they’d justify the killing by holding a press conference at which it was stressed that the driver was committing an act of attempted murder and that lethal force was appropriate.

  • holy sh*t

    that is…is that a documentary?

  • Cookie23

    Maniac is very accurate. What else do you call someone who makes repeated attempts to run someone over and steal their cell phone?

  • Komanoff

    Oh yeah, Bill Buford’s classic work, sounds totally apropos, thanks.

    @Cookie23, my point was that whereas the *behavior* was indeed maniacal, calling the perp a maniac only serves to absolve *driving* and the vast/complex structures that encourage it, of responsibility in constantly pushing “normal” (or even borderline) people over the edge. It doesn’t help, and it isn’t quite true, either.

  • AMH

    “both parties left the scene prior to police arrival.”

    Aside from the obvious ways the NYPD abetted this criminal, is anyone going to prosecute them for this blatant lie?

  • AMH

    The most outrageous/ironic thing about chopping up the greenway with all those dangerous new bollards is that drivers are free to mow us down just steps away from them.

  • qrt145

    I think “thug” would be more accurate.

  • Agree. This kind of driving is quite normal and we should use this as an example of just how widespread it is. So much of the media wants this to just be about a maniac driver and one of those entitled, angry cyclists but this is really about an entire system of driving that fosters entitlement, even violent entitlement, among car owners.

  • It’s misleading to say Mr De la rosa was trying to drive over the cyclist. I don’t believe he was. He was trying to casually menace the cyclist using his car, which is something that drivers do all the time. He should not be characterized as a maniac IMO. Better for the public to read about an ordinary driver who got too bold, too aggressive, too sure of himself, forgot about respecting the rules of the road, and other road users, and ended up behind bars and facing some serious charges. Calling him a maniac kind of separates him from the larger problem, which almost every driver is a part of.

    There should be severe punishments for everyone who even suggests they are going to weaponize their vehicle. Even the slightest intentional nudge needs to be categorized as assault with deadly weapon.

  • Jacob

    Kinda like how when a robber “casually menaces” a victim by pointing a gun at them. Happens all the time so it’s fine.

  • Omykiss

    Yah really, 10.31.17… NEVER FORGET

  • bolwerk

    Not going to judge qualifying his sanity, but his behavior makes about as much sense as playing Russian roulette.

  • JackDeeRipper

    This is nothing but domestic terrorism.

  • Reader

    I think that’s the commenter’s point. Not that it’s fine, but that “casually menacing” people has become so common that very few people think it’s wrong anymore. Only changing the equation when it comes to punishment and enforcement will change this mentality.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I don’t know anything about FDNY but a lot of the contracts between agencies and labor are spectacularly lenient. Infamously, SFMTA bus operators can’t be fired or even suspended for losing their licenses. They just get reassigned to non-operating duty.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    How about on you 13th violation for speeding in a school zone you get a prompt drone strike?

  • vnm

    The biggest hero of this whole affair, in my opinion, is Liz Gonzales. If this hadn’t been captured on camera and posted to social media, it seems like the NYPD would have let a guy with a suspended license stay on the road after nearly running someone over on purpose. Really, neither the NYPD nor the FDNY come out looking good here. (To state the obvious.)

  • djx

    NYC’s Bravest, and you’re going to take the bread out of the mouths of his family and his brave soul off the job when he could be the guy pulling your daughter out of a burning building. Stopping him from getting to the thankless job where he could be saving you and a baby who grows up to stop the next Hitler or stop the next AOC?

    C’mon, give the BRAVEST a little bit of the respect they deserve. Give them a little appreciation. Sheesh.

  • Bill LIndeke

    little known fact: maniac is an inverse portmanteau of “casual menacer”…

  • Joe R.

    Or for driving without a license:

  • How is that related unless they’re the ones driving the truck?

  • Has anyone run BdB’s plates or those of his entourage through How’s My Driving?

  • Agreed!

  • mal

    Shirley thats a ‘take the piss post?’
    Trouble is this numbskull will think he’s a hero.
    The police have some explaining to do

  • Rags Corrigan-Fields

    Most FDNY are wonderful and heroic and do the job and live their lives without breaking the law. I happily show them incredible amounts of respect and appreciation. Why should I show the same respect to someone who breaks the law?

  • qrt145

    I think it’s safe to assume that the comical references to Hitler and AOC indicate that the post you are replying to was meant as satire.

  • Rex Rocket

    Every Mayor is afraid of the NYPD and its Union. No exceptions.

  • Driver

    The real question is with the professional courtesy generally extended to active FDNY, how egregious were this guys violations that he still ended up with a suspended license?

  • vnm

    I doubt every firefighter is required to drive the truck. Unless your job requires you to drive a truck, the FDNY should be totally free to hire people who don’t have drivers’ licenses.

  • AlexWithAK

    That’s just for being arrested. But also I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the worst punishment he ends up getting.

  • AlexWithAK

    It’s so demoralizing though that it takes a journalist with somewhat of a platform and video evidence to prompt action on an incident like this. How many times has this exact same scenario been played out with zero consequences? (See the story below from John.)

  • Ian Turner

    Poe’s law.

  • Ian Turner

    Unbelievable.

  • MTW

    Got to be satire.

  • Joe R.

    They would probably even call it an act of terrorism. Meanwhile, doing the exact same thing to a cyclist would have elicited zero consequences if not for a bunch of people calling for the NYPD to take action. It still may elicit close to zero consequences. It wouldn’t surprise me if the judge ultimately takes some sort of plea and dismisses this with a fine.

  • Joe R.

    Unfortunately, it took a bunch of people screaming at the top of their lungs to get the KGB, oops I mean NYPD (hard to tell the difference these days), to actually do the job they’re being paid to do. Yes, this is a police state. Has been for a long time, at least since the second half of the Guiliani administration. I used to fear the criminals. Now I fear the cops more than the criminals.

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