Friday’s Headlines: Cops Must Do Better Edition
Memo to rank-and-file NYPD: There are no “accidents.”
There was a crash on the Upper West Side on Wednesday, dutifully reported by the Upper West Side Rag, that stands out from the other 31,900-plus crashes that have been reported this year (yes, there are roughly 245 reported crashes every day in New York City, about 100 of which cause injuries or fatalities).
The Rag story is a short one about a pedestrian in a crosswalk who was struck by a turning driver when both “had” the light — an extremely common situation. The Rag’s tipster (our friend Ken Coughlin) was on the scene and told the cop that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right of way, only to be told by the cop, “Yes, but accidents do happen.”
Accidents do happen. Think about that for a second. Think about the fact that a cop said that.
Any driver striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk, by definition, has not acted accidentally. Either the driver failed to exercise due care, failed to yield, drove recklessly, was distracted or acted with intent. Even an instance of mechanical failure could not be termed an “accident,” as drivers are required to keep their cars in safe working order. Under any of those circumstances, the driver should have been ticketed.
Coughlin, a member of Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side, was disturbed by his exchange with the officer, who said “accidents do happen” twice in the exchange, he said.
“I was shocked, but unfortunately, not surprised when the cop said that,” he said. “Both the pedestrian and the left-turning driver had the light, and the cop took that as just one of those things that happen. Meanwhile, the driver was free to go on his way and continue failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Eliminating all unprotected left turns would save a lot of lives and injuries.”
We reached out to the NYPD to learn three things:
- the extent of the victim’s injuries.
- if the driver was charged.
- And if the NYPD had a comment on the officer’s statement that this was just “an accident”?
Well, two out of three ain’t bad: The victim was not badly hurt and was in stable condition at St. Luke’s. The driver was “issued a summons.” On the third question, no comment. But at least the summons is an indication that, indeed, there are no accidents!
In the meantime, there was other news yesterday:
First, the MTA had a big briefing on congestion pricing that was embargoed until this morning. All that means is all the outlets — NYDN, Gothamist, NY Post, The City — finally got to post their versions of Dave Colon’s scoop from earlier this week.
Now the other news:
- The man caught on camera killing Jordan Neely will surrender on Friday to face manslaughter charges. (NYDN, NY Post, NY Times)
- Another outlet has jumped on the NYPD for hogging space, something we documented throughout March. (Next City)
- Riders Alliance and two key state allies — Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas — penned a Daily News op-ed celebrating the budget deal that led to “victories of more subways and faster buses” and credited “transit riders’ growing power, the expanding ranks of riders in the Legislature itself, and, at least for now, a newly collaborative spirit at the MTA and in the Capitol.” Let’s hope it lasts.
- We led Thursday’s headlines with our coverage of the vigil for cyclist Adam Uster, but Gothamist did the story a few hours later.
- A driver was injured, and killed his passenger, after fleeing cops and slamming into a truck. (NY Post)
- Cops are looking for the hit-and-run driver who injured a kid in Brownsville. (NYDN)
- Crain’s offered a primer on what to do if you’re on a subway and someone is having a breakdown. Top piece of advice? Do not behave like the killer of Jordan Neely. “De-escalate” is the order of the day.
- Speaking of which, can you believe the NYPD tried to charge two Jordan Neely protesters with terrorism? (Patch)
- Here a super-bad tweet by Council Member Ari Kagen, who seems to think that drivers are the ones being punished by congestion pricing (lest we forget, drivers have been punishing us for decades!):
I am a subway rider, but I refuse to punish drivers. No to Congestion Pricing! pic.twitter.com/yeZQUSMoyO
— Council Member Ari Kagan (@CMAriKagan47) May 11, 2023
- Seven more garages are unstable, the Buildings Department says. (NYDN)
- And, finally, over four months in late 2022 and early 2023, Streetsblog Editor in Chief Gersh Kuntzman fanned across the city exposing scofflaws who cover or deface their license plate to avoid speed or red light cameras. Now, as the saga ends, Kuntzman looks back wistfully at a successful campaign that caught cops, firefighters, court officers and plenty of regular New Yorkers — plus led to a hit song, “Criminal Mischief (For Adam White).” Enjoy the end of the saga: