Commander of Downtown Brooklyn Precinct Has Dangerous Driving Record
5:25 PM EDT on October 7, 2022
This fish drives terribly from the head down.
A police precinct so notorious for its officers rampant placard abuse and reckless driving that it won Streetsblog’s renowned March (Parking) Madness contest this year is led by a commander with a long rap sheet of his own, including a guilty plea for dangerous driving, a new police database reveals — raising questions about the station house's well-documented indifference when it comes to enforcing the rules of the road (especially against themselves).
The 84th Precinct's commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Adeel Rana, admitted to operating “his personal or department vehicle in an improper fashion" while he was a lieutenant in 2017, driving "at an excessive speed,” “disobeying traffic signals,” and driving "against the flow of traffic” without police necessity — transgressions that came to light thanks to the Legal Aid Society’s new comprehensive database on law enforcement misconduct, which it unveiled last week.
In 2018, Rana pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge during an internal department investigation that included guilty pleas in four other violations, including 43 “wrongfully made” entries in a command log, and frequent absences or late arrivals. Under the terms of the guilty plea, he paid $517 in restitution and was docked 60 vacation days, according to the public records. An NYPD spokesperson declined to provide more details on the violations or the penalties.
But advocates now say his disciplinary record calls into question not only how a white shirt with a troubled past can seamlessly rise through the ranks to become a deputy inspector, but whether his own recklessness behind the wheel explains why his rank-and-file officers so flagrantly disregard street safety, too.
"I wasn't surprised to learn that the commanding officer of the 84th precinct had a history of reckless driving. Precinct officers routinely park illegally and obscure their plates to avoid red light cameras. Officers aren't too concerned with enforcing our traffic laws either, they never take action against drivers who routinely block bike lanes, putting cyclists at risk of injury," said the anonymous user behind the Twitter account @NYCBikeLanes.
Rana’s recklessness shows no signs of abating. Earlier this year, Streetsblog found that the car parked in the commanding officer's spot at the Gold Street station house in Downtown Brooklyn had been slapped with more than a dozen tickets for speeding in school zones and blowing through red lights between Dec. 31, 2019 and Oct. 6, 2021. That same car has gotten three more speeding tickets since then, city records show, all between April 13 and Aug. 6, 2022. Two were in Brooklyn and one was in the Bronx.
But Professor Keith Taylor, a retired NYPD assistant commissioner now with John Jay College of Criminal Justice said it's no surprise that an officer with a tarnished record could rise through the department because cops’ ascension to leadership positions within the NYPD are the result of a “political process,” meaning an appointment from higher up that ultimately gets the okay from the mayor’s office.
“Because it’s a political process there are sometimes blemishes in officers’ careers that will be overlooked,” he said.
Taylor also said that an officer’s record doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, since it doesn’t say what happened before and after.
“Without knowing the facts, it sounds very much as if this inspector was driving to an emergency incident … and that’s why the devil is in the details for understanding what the punishment is actually for,” he said.
Taylor added that a cop with a regular lead foot probably wouldn’t make it very far, but that just one such driving incident is not career-ending — the same type of reckless behavior that Police Officer Ceasar Munoz was allegedly engaged in two years ago when he hit and killed 20-year-old Sofia Gomez Aguilon while going 60 miles-per-hour through a red light in the Bronx.
“It’s possible that given the extenuating circumstances of each of the situations that this individual officer was involved at the time of the violation, it may have resulted in a penalty that was not career-ending," Taylor said.
But advocates wonder if the Downtown Brooklyn stationhouse’s lack of enforcement against reckless drivers is reflective of Rana’s own alleged disregard to traffic safety dating back to that 2018 incident for which he pleaded guilty. The area is filled with placard abuse and with drivers, many of whom are cops, who illegally block bike lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks, and fire hydrants with impunity.
And the precinct is also a hotbed of collisions. Since just the start of this year, there have been 759 reported crashes, causing 295 injuries, including to 53 cyclists and 53 pedestrians, according to Crash Mapper.
"We have not seen adequate enforcement of illegal parking in the 84 and across the city,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler, whose district includes the 84th Precinct.
And Restler’s predecessor, who tried for so long — and failed — to get the NYPD to do their jobs (and to stop parking their own cars illegally, see above) that he ultimately introduced legislation to let citizens take the illegal practice into their own hands, told Streetsblog that Rana’s record is “serious" and that he owes it to the public to explain.
“It seems like a very serious violation,” said former Council Member Steve Levin. “They seem like serious enough violations that certainly need to be addressed head on and if the public is to have confidence in the precinct, he needs to address that.”
But Levin added that during his 11 years in office he still could never get a straight answer from anyone, even Rana, as to who was responsible for enforcing traffic safety rules, and that the problem starts at the very top. Former Mayor de Blasio in 2019 announced a new policy for members of the NYPD that would strip employees of their city-issued parking placards if they get too many moving violation tickets, including, for the first time, requiring a review of their camera-issued tickets, like the ones associated with Rana's license plate. It's not clear how many cops, if any, the policy has impacted since it went into effect.
“The chain of command is always very complicated, for who was responsible for issuing traffic violations, for placard violations, or parking in the bike lanes. I’m not absolving the 84th precinct. My frustration was always for not having a clearer directive and for allowing placard abuse and blocking right of ways," he said. I think that problem goes much higher than a single precinct commander.”
Neither the NYPD nor Rana responded to requests for comment.
Julianne Cuba joined Streetsblog in February, 2019, after three years covering local news and politics at The Brooklyn Paper. There, she also covered the notoriously reckless private carting industry and hit-and-runs. A 2015 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism Master’s Program, she lives in Brooklyn. Julianne is on Twitter at @julcuba. Email Julianne at email@example.com
More from Streetsblog New York City
Wednesday’s Headlines: Concerted Effort Edition
The Great Lawn will be closed to the public six weeks earlier than normal because of those damn rockers. Plus other news.
Broadway Vision: Watch 15 Years of Transformation in a Single Streetfilm
It's hard to see the big picture of just what has been accomplished between Times and Union squares. That's where Clarence Eckerson Jr. comes in.
What Do ‘Livable’ Streets Look Like in an Era of Driverless Cars?
In today's Brake podcast, Kea Wilson asks Bruce Appleyard what future livable streets have in a world of autonomous cars.
NYPD Steps Up Effort Against Illegal Mopeds, But Some Advocates Want a Different Approach
The NYPD seized some illegal wheels from delivery workers in the middle of their route on Wednesday, part of a stepped-up effort.
Astoria Organizers Lead the Way on Street Safety with a Reddit Strategy
The western Queens neighborhood has become a hub for a new kind of safe street advocacy.