Council Member: Cops Shouldn’t Let Drag Racers Off With a Warning

Skid marks left after drag racing in Bay Ridge. Photo: Justin Brannan.
Skid marks left after drag racing in Bay Ridge. Photo: Justin Brannan.

Bay Ridge Council Member Justin Brannan is calling out members of New York’s Finest for letting four kids off the hook for drag racing in the residential neighborhood.

The punks were recently caught on camera hitting the gas inside their cars along Shore Road — a known hot spot for dangerous drag racing and drivers recklessly doing doughnuts near Bay Ridge Avenue.

But instead of cuffing the reckless motorists as police have done previously, cops from the 68th Precinct traveled to the drivers’ parents’ houses in Staten Island to give them a talking to, according to the local pol. Brannan initially praised the officers for sending the right “message,” but then had to backtrack after unleashing a Twitter mob calling for something a little more than a friendly warning.

“I agree more should have been done and I’m trying to find out why more wasn’t done,” Brannan said on Twitter. “The 68 has arrested drivers for drag racing before — as recently as last month. Not sure why this time was different.”

On social media, many Brannan constituents pointed out the absurdity of letting the drivers go without so much as a ticket for speeding and or recklessness, when cops regularly take kids’ bikes and delivery workers’ e-bikes

“The police department routinely confiscates bicycles from teenagers and e-bikes from the guys that deliver your seamless order. But if they catch you drag racing they just tell your mom,” account Bay Ridge Drivers wrote on Twitter.

Brannan has previously blasted the same precinct for ignoring the repeated drag racing that goes on in his community — which often leaves skid marks in the pavement — after police wrote young adults tickets for not having bells on their bicycles, and even confiscated some of their bikes during an unjust crack down back in April. 

Police defended their decision to visit Staten Island by saying only the cars had been identified, not the actual people inside them, and that if someone had been hurt or killed, they would have taken it more seriously.

“Instead of waiting for another incident, we responded to the registered owners’ homes and let the parents know what was happening,” the 68th Precinct wrote on Twitter. “Had there been an assault in this case, or leaving a collision with injuries, a different kind of investigation would have commenced, quite possibly leading to arrests. That was not what we had here.”

But had the vehicles been e-bikes, or regular two-wheelers without bells, instead of cars, safe-streets advocates mused that things would likely have gone very differently.

“I’m not trying to be difficult, but if they had been drag racing bicycles without bells on them, would you have confiscated their bikes?” wrote Transportation Alternatives spokesman Joe Cutrufo on Twitter.

Whatever your position on policing, roadways in Brooklyn’s Community Board 10 are dangerous. In 2018, 45 cyclists, 154 pedestrians, and 506 drivers were injured in 2,891 crashes, roughly eight collisions per day in a district comprising only Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG