After accusations that the NYPD grossly mishandled its investigation of a cyclist's death in October, a City Council hearing was organized on Wednesday where advocates and other victims of hit-and-run accidents voiced their anger towards the NYPD, a department which many say often withholds evidence and refuses to properly charge drivers.
Executive Officer of the Transportation Bureau John Cassidy was on hand and defended the NYPD's handling of transportation safety, referencing the city's 33 percent decrease in traffic fatalities over the past decade.
But when questioned for specific statistical information, NYPD representatives struggled throughout various points during the hearing to provide concrete answers and instead choked up ambiguous responses such as, "Not sure we can provide those numbers. That would require a hand search. Because reckless endangerment charges involve a narrative."
Cassidy did mention, however, that an astounding 48,556 summonses given to bike riders in 2011, as opposed to only 25,000 tickets given to truck drivers in the city.
Perhaps even more disconcertingly, the entire five boroughs has only one NYPD Accident Investigation Squad with only 19 detectives, three sergeants, and one lieutenant.
Councilman Steve Levin spoke at the hearing and said, "I’m a little bit outraged. My concern with this case is there is a carelessness that has gone into this that has compromised this investigation."
At the center of the hearing was artist Mathieu Lefevre's tragic death in October after he was struck by a flatbed truck in Brooklyn. Lefevre's mother, Erika Lefevre, traveled from Canada in order to attend the hearing and demanded, "I want disclosure, I want to get the truth, that’s why I came to New York once again. I do not believe drivers who cause deaths should be able to walk away without consequences."
According to previous reports, Lefevre was struck and killed by a driver who fled the scene and wasn't identified for days. The NYPD announced no charges would be made against the driver. Court papers filed against the NYPD claim the "NYPD allowed blood and paint marks from Mathieu's bike on the truck to wash away in the rain without any documentation."
On Wednesday, Lefevre's mother was joined by a packed room of public officials and cyclist advocates who rode their bikes to attend the hearing in honor of her son and other cyclist victims.