Complaint Filing by Survivor Questions How NYPD “Quality of Life” Sweep Could Result in Death of Motorcyclist In the Bronx
NEW YORK (August, 21, 2012) – Adalberto Gonzalez, 26, will eventually recover from his broken leg and related injuries, but he’ll never get over the loss of Eddie Fernandez, his best friend and motor bike buddy, who was killed on August 11 when his Honda was rammed from behind by an NYPD patrol car allegedly enforcing a “quality of life” infraction in the Bronx. Gonzalez, seated behind Fernandez when the bike was hit, today through his attorney filed notice to begin a civil action as a result of the incident. He has also lodged a complaint with the independent Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) that investigates police misconduct allegations.
Peter Ronai, Esq., of Ronai & Ronai, LLP, said Gonzalez, the son of a NYC public school teacher, is heartbroken over the death of his long time friend and wants to make sure that all the facts come to light to explain how what should have been a benign enforcement procedure, by the department’s own policies, could turn deadly.
“Why did Eddie have to die and Adalberto suffer his serious injuries, especially if the NYPD was following its adopted policies regarding motor bike quality of life enforcement?” asked Ronai. “These young men were not a threat to the officers or the community. They were not the criminals that have justifiably outraged the citizens of the Bronx. They were hard working, law-abiding guys who enjoyed riding bikes. Their loved ones and the entire community deserve to know the whole truth about what happened that afternoon and why.”
Ronai said he was pleased that the Department has taken the two yet unidentified officers off the street pending the outcome of its internal investigation. However, he said that the public has a right to know as soon as possible not only the identities of all the officers involved, but the actions of the chain of command that afternoon as part of the chronology of events that led to the death of Fernandez and injuries to Gonzalez. “There appears to be nothing routine about the way in which this was handled,” commented Ronai. “So far this appears to be a fatal incident that was totally and completely avoidable if it had been handled properly. Numerous eyewitness accounts, many substantiated through videos, tell a very different story from the police versions. ”
Ronai noted that earlier this year there were published reports quoting commanders in the 41st Precinct as saying department policy was not to chase suspected unregistered off-road motorcyclists, or, in certain cases, to “box in” the alleged culprits. “Where does it state in the NYPD manual that it is okay for officers to use their patrol car to ram a motorcycle they suspect of being unregistered or driven by someone without a helmet?”