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Monday’s Headlines: Placard Privilege Edition

Absolute placard corrupts absolutely — but this upstate DA takes the cake. Plus other news.

Photo: WXXI News|

Meet Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who hates cops doing their jobs of trying to give her a speeding ticket.

We've often said that absolute placard corrupts absolutely, but this video of an upstate District Attorney abusing her privileges as a driver, abusing her position as a top elected official and abusing a police officer just trying to do his job is one of the most egregious things we've seen in a while.

Watch Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley do her worst in this body cam video posted by WXXI News after the April 22 incident. We'll have some notes below:

There's no sound for about 20 seconds because that's how body cam video works.

Note 1: Webster Police Officer Cameron Crisafulli gets out of the car and is immediately met by Doorley's dog, who could have attacked the officer. How dare she release a dangerous animal at the officer.

Note 2: Doorley admits she was speeding and refuses the officer's request that she remain outside her garage — a reasonable request given the danger of traffic stops for police officers.

Note 3: She calls up his supervisor (twice!) in a possibly criminal attempt to obstruct governmental operation or resist arrest. She tells the officer, "Go away!"

Note 4: She ignores his legitimate order to not enter her house (where, again, she might have a gun). She curses at him and says she had a bad day. And then she says the magic words (from a Streetsblog perspective): "Do you think I even care if I was going 20 miles an hour over the limit?" (We do!)

This is the worst kind of entitlement: the top law enforcement official in the county can't be bothered to drive the speed limit in her massive Chevrolet Tahoe from her downtown Rochester office to her suburban mini-mansion. And she can't accept that a police officer — one of the very people on whom her cases depend — would have the temerity to pull her over. Laws are for the little people, after all.

After the incident, Doorley, a Republican, started spinning like America's greatest yarn factory. "Once I realized that the intention of the [police car] was to pull me over, I called the Webster Police Chief to inform him that I was not a threat and that I would speak to the officer at my house down the street,” she said in a statement issued after the police had released the body cam footage. She ended up pleading guilty to the ticket.

Her troubles are likely just starting. The City Council in Rochester, the main city in mostly rural and suburban Monroe County, voted unanimously to ask for an investigation by Attorney General Letitia James, as the Post reported. And no doubt some enterprising reporter (backed with a Streetsblog assignment letter) will start digging into whether Doorley does a good job prosecuting vehicular crimes. Our guess, based on her own words, is that she doesn't care.

In other news:

  • Initium habemus! The big news on Friday was that the MTA revealed its start date for congestion pricing: Sunday, June 30 (unless any of the lawsuits are successful). (ABC7, NY Times, NYDN)
  • Oh, and if you want an exemption, good luck with that. (MTA website)
  • Speaking of people who want an exemption, driver advocate Tom Wrobleski of the Staten Island Advance called congestion pricing the "biggest motorist rip-off in history." Really, Tom? What about the ripoff that car drivers have very quietly perpetrated on the rest of us since about 1910, when our cities were redesigned to accommodate these behemoths, our air started becoming increasingly toxic, and our lives have been sacrificed under your wheels (see below)? And if you don't believe me ...
  • ... Charles Komanoff has a stirring piece about how we got congestion pricing, going all the way back to its earliest days (looking at you, John Lindsay!). (Washington Spectator)
  • Enough about congestion pricing, apparently there is some kind of federal funding that Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis likes. (Advance).
  • Double-duty Wrobleski also wrote about how much he hates the idea of a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit. (Advance)
  • The Daily News explored the latest fatality stats on New York City roads — which is one of those externalities of cars that we were talking about above.
  • The MTA won't be able to use facial recognition to enforce fare evasion in the subways (Gothamist), but it will roll out some more discounts (Gothamist).
  • Exclusive! The Post saw a cool bird! (By the way, Post editors: You hate congestion pricing so much, but cleaner air and fewer cars mean maybe we'll see more cool birds in the future!).
  • Comedians came together to honor Kenny DeForest, who died on a bike in Brooklyn last year. (NY Times, which keeps calling his death an "accident," which it was not)
  • Here's a luxury experience we don't oppose: A Blade bus. (NY Times)
  • Remember ghost cars, Mr. Mayor? This ghost was coming from inside the house! (NY Post)
  • Some people aren't so jaded that they actually appreciate street vendors. Think about how much joy they give. This kid knows. (NY Post)
  • Cops are becoming bus drivers after busting peaceful protesters. (Hell Gate)
  • More celebrities are coming to the subway announcements. (The City)
  • Happy 190th anniversary, LIRR. (Mass Transit)
  • Yes! Let's expand subway service by restoring a link between Staten Island and Brooklyn. (Gothamist)
  • Everyone supports firefighters. So why is Council Member Joann Ariola trying to make this a culture war with a divisive symbol that appropriates the American flag? (NY Post)
  • The Brooklyn Democratic Party machine is broken. (NY Post)
  • And, finally, here's some mixed messaging from a group that supposedly wants safer streets when, it appears, it only wants more cars:

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