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CCRB Opens Probe into Police Driver Who Killed Man on Eastern Parkway

Anthony Smith (inset) was killed by a police officer driving a van at Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Avenue. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman/Julie Floyd

The Civilian Complaint Review Board has opened an investigation into the death of Anthony Smith, the man who was run over and killed by an NYPD van driver on Eastern Parkway earlier this month — and the victim's sister is demanding that the driver of the vehicle be fired.

The NYPD declined to provide new comment on the latest developments stemming from the April 7 crash, and the CCRB could not provide any information beyond confirming the beginning of its investigation of the crash, which witnesses and media reports suggest involved a speeding police van rushing to make a red light at the intersection of Schenectady Avenue, where Smith was panhandling.

Anthony Smith was killed by a police officer driving a van.
Anthony Smith was killed by a police officer driving a van.
Ronald Smith

The Police Department has not properly kept Smith's sister, Julie Floyd, updated on its internal investigation, she said. She was not aware, for example, that the police have placed the driver on "modified" duty, as Streetsblog reported last week.

"They're dicks," she said of the police. "The officers involved should be fired. If one of us runs a red light on Eastern Parkway, there are 30 cops on us immediately, and there's a risk of us getting shot. But they think they can just carelessly run someone over and walk away because he was 'homeless' or 'panhandling.'

"It doesn't make any sense. If nothing else happens, they need to lose their jobs," she added.

Council Member Crystal Hudson has also called for the officers to be fired. She has not received a response from the NYPD since issuing her statement last week, she told Streetsblog on Monday.

The state Attorney General's office has already announced that it is investigating the crash also, but that's a standard practice any time a police officer is involved in the death of a civilian.

Floyd also pushed back on the prevailing narrative of her brother as "some kind of bum," she said.

"He was loved," Floyd said about the blood sibling with whom she was adopted at a young age. "He did love to panhandle. I don't know why. He didn't have a lot of money because he was always being taken advantage of by girls. And he loved animals. People used him."

She said her brother was living in an SRO in Brooklyn at the time of the crash, but sometimes lived with her in Queens. "He loved Brooklyn and always ended up there. He worked part-time in a bodega."

Floyd said her brother was 5-foot-3 and weighed no more than 100 pounds. As such, she was stunned when she saw a photo of the huge dent on the front of the police van.

"That van must have really been moving," she said.

She said the family is considering a civil suit against the city and the NYPD.

Such suits are quite common, as motor vehicle settlements comprise the largest share (67 percent) of city settlement payouts:

Vehicle crashes were responsible for 67 percent of the city's payouts in 2020. Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Vehicle crashes were responsible for 67 percent of the city's payouts in 2020. Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Vehicle crashes were responsible for 67 percent of the city's payouts in 2020. Graphic: Comptroller's Office

Those payouts add up to a lot of money, roughly $142 million in 2020:

Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller's Office

The NYPD is particularly expensive for the city:

Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller's Office

And here's how the NYPD's settlements break down. Obviously, police brutality is far more costly to the city, but vehicles are a notable second:

Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller's Office

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