Cops Blow Off Witnesses To Brooklyn Crash That Injured Cyclist

The aftermath of the crash that multiple cyclists witnessed and police allegedly took little interest in. Photo: via @joemewler
The aftermath of the crash that multiple cyclists witnessed and police allegedly took little interest in. Photo: via @joemewler

A police officer who responded to a crash that hospitalized a cyclist got the driver’s side of things and ignored a trio of witnesses who tried to tell him what happened, according to one of the outraged witnesses.

A Twitter user who goes by @joemewler shared a picture of the aftermath of a collision between a driver and a cyclist on Wednesday night. But instead of becoming just another tweet chronicling yet another collision among many on Jay Street (where 61 people were injured in 54 crashes last year), this social media post morphed into a very different story once police arrived.

According to “Mewler,” a member of the NYPD’s traffic division initially pulled up to the scene, and after Mewler and two other witnesses asked the officer for an assist blocking traffic while the victim was lying in the street, he refused and drove off.

And it only got worse when a patrol officer arrived.

As Mewler tells it, the officer got the driver’s side of the crash and appeared satisfied without talking to anyone else on the scene, despite the presence of three witnesses who actually wanted to talk.

“We tell him that the driver was clearly speeding, trying to beat a red light. The cop immediately begins to ask us about how the #bikenyc victim was riding,” he tweeted.

Mewler told Streetsblog that he found the incident “very troubling,” and that he filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau on Thursday morning. The cyclist, by the way, is believed to be OK.

Mewler’s story isn’t happening in a vacuum. It’s happening in an environment where the mayor has asked the NYPD to help make the Green Wave a success, as cyclists continue to be on the receiving end of officially sanctioned hostility.

The crash wasn’t even the first crash between a driver and a cyclist on the road that day. Earlier in the day, a driver making an illegal U-turn on the Downtown portion of Smith Street slammed into a cyclist heading north. In that instance, the cyclist said he didn’t call the police because he didn’t trust the criminal justice system. Like Claudia Galicia’s story of police officers interrogating her instead of the man who doored her twice this month in Manhattan, police shrugged at assaults on cyclists: in one case responding officers questioned on whether his assault even happened to him and in the other case nearby officers just refused to help in any way. And in July, police responding to a cyclist who said she was doored on Flatbush Avenue instead spent their time interrogating the her and told her she wasn’t allowed to ride on Flatbush.

“The NYPD has a long history of victim blaming and speaking prematurely in the wake of traffic crashes, and too often they take the word of drivers in cases where pedestrians and cyclists aren’t able to speak for themselves,” said Joe Cutrufo, the communications director for Transportation Alternatives. “I can’t picture a scenario in which someone’s apartment is robbed and the police throw shade at the tenant.”

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG