New York City Jury Does What NYPD Is Unwilling To Do

Court Finds Driver In Bicyclists’ Death 95 Percent Negligent

February 9, 2012
Michael Murphy 646-873-6008

Today, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County found Abraham Soldaner negligent in the death of bicyclist Rasha Shamoon. In August 2008, Soldaner struck and killed Shamoon at the intersection of Bowery and Delancey Street. The NYPD allowed Soldaner to drive off without even a ticket. Shamoon's family sued the driver in a civil suit as their only hope for some justice.

"Three and a half years is too long to wait for justice," said Paul Steely White, the Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "It's no surprise that the NYPD failed to hold this dangerous driver accountable for his behavior. Time and time again, they've shown a shocking indifference to the need for stronger enforcement and thorough crash investigations. After the crash, despite numerous 911 calls, the NYPD failed to interview any of the eyewitnesses on the scene. Instead, they took the driver and his passengers at their word and let them drive off scot-free. Let this verdict be a public reminder that New Yorkers deserve better from the NYPD. It's unconscionable that the Shamoon family was forced to conduct their own investigation because the police did their job so poorly."

Dangerous driving is a public health and public safety crisis in New York City, and the NYPD has the power to stop it. Between 2001 and 2010, 1,745 pedestrians and bicyclists have been killed in New York City traffic and 142,485 have been injured.

"Next week marks a turning point," added White. "With Council Members Peter Vallone and James Vacca co-chairing a hearing on February 15 on the NYPD's traffic enforcement failings, it's time the NYPD be held accountable. They have no excuse for not vigorously enforcing traffic laws."

One of the witnesses scheduled to testify at next week's hearing is Erika Lefevre, the mother of Mathieu Lefevre. In October, a flatbed truck driver killed Lefevre at the intersection of Morgan Avenue and Meserole Street in Brooklyn. The driver left the scene of the crime, parked the vehicle a few blocks away and wasn't identified until several days later. The NYPD photographed the crime scene with a broken camera and they did not charge the driver with fleeing the scene or criminal negligence.

There is nothing "accidental" about the majority of crashes; 60 percent of fatal pedestrian and bicyclist crashes with known causes are caused by driver's dangerous and illegal behavior, according to an analysis of 80 contributing factors associated with crashes tracked by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

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