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Video Unmasks NYPD Lies About ‘Resolved’ Bike Lane Complaints

Until there are consequences for lying, city employees will continue to break the law. But also, why are cops misspelling their own names on emails? Therein lies a tale.

12:02 AM EST on January 31, 2024

Graphic: Streetsblog Photoshop Desk|

Connect the dots: It’s corruption.

Smile for the camera, NYPD!

Government workers have abused their city-issued parking placards to turn the bike lane on the northbound side of Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn into an unofficial parking lot. But thanks to a conveniently placed Department of Transportation camera, I’ve been able to document the rampant corruption — both in the illegal parking and in the falsified claims of enforcement.

The camera, typically employed for traffic analysis, points at 345 Adams St. and gives a 24/7 window into rampant placard misuse and lies told by NYPD officers required to enforce the lane.

Before a complaint was filed (left) and after. Note that the cars in question did not move.Photos: NYC DOT

Since mid-November, I have used the camera to file 311 complaints for illegal bike lane parking — and then utilized the footage to document the police response. Between Nov. 15 and Jan. 25, I filed 54 complaints. At first, I hoped to see cops from the 84th Precinct make a good faith effort to respond, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. I encouraged other to file complaints as well. Overall, various individuals filed 1,177 complaints over the time period in question.

In approximately 27 percent of cases, officers falsely claimed that the vehicles parked in the bike lane were no longer there — despite photographic evidence to the contrary.

The resolution of more than 1,000 311 complaints.Graphic: NYC Bike Lanes

The most common NYPD response claimed officers "took action to fix the condition." However, this always resulted in no discernible action – no tickets and no tows. In every case, the illegally parked driver stayed put despite whatever action NYPD supposedly took. If officers opted to issue drivers a warning, we have no way of knowing for sure.

In 251 instances, the police deemed action unnecessary — again, despite photographic evidence showing bikes lanes were, in fact, blocked. Blocked bike lanes pose a dangerous risk to cyclists, forcing them to navigated into traffic to sometimes deadly consequences.

The NYPD claimed to have upheld the law by issuing a ticket on mere 66 occasions, a disappointingly low number that may itself be overstated: According to How’s My Enforcement, a website that tracks parking violations, NYPD issued just five summonses on Adams Street since Nov. 15.

Illegal parking is, at its core, against the law. When law enforcement officers falsify responses to 311 complaints, they are also committing a crime. These reports are public records, and tampering with them can be a felony, particularly if the intent is to defraud the government.

After I filed a complaint about NYPD officers falsifying public records in response to my Nov. 17, 2023 311 complaint, the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau investigated.

Unfortunately, the investigation was lacking. Sergeant Mostafa Bennejima neglected to consider my photo evidence and relied on demonstrably false statements from his colleagues that the “cars that you complaint [sic] about left the location.” Video from day of showed the offending vehicles did not move even after NYPD officers declared the issue resolved and closed the complaint.

This officer even spelled his own name wrong.

A separate investigation — into a complaint filed on Jan. 8, 2024 — led Sgt. Maurice Hogans to contact the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office about their employee parking in the bicycle lane. It’s unclear what they’re asking — it’s illegal to park a personal vehicle in the bike lane, even if you work for Eric Gonzalez.

Why the NYPD is asking the DA about its illegal parking is completely beyond us.

Brooklyn DA spokesman Oren Yaniv declined to comment on Hogans’s investigation, but stated that “employees are instructed to obey parking regulations, and those who don't are subject to a ticket or tow."

The solution to this illegal parking predicament seems clear – replace armed NYPD officers with traffic enforcement agents to respond to 311 service requests. We can also increase accountability by requiring responding agents to photograph street conditions.

Until there are consequences for lying, city employees will continue to break the law. Placard abuse isn’t a problem about parking, but rather corruption.

Streetsblog published this story anonymously because its author has been harassed by police officers.

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