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City Council's Proposed Bill to Force NYPD to Investigate Serious Crashes

According to today's Brooklyn Paper councilman Steve Levin's proposes a bill to force the NYPD to investigate all serious bicycle crashes. As reported by Natalie O'Neill, the bill put forward Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg), would require the NYPD to follow state law, forcing to cops to investigate collisions that result in serious physical injury, rather than just ones in which "death is likely." It could also add hundreds of trained traffic experts to the force.

Quoting Levin: "It's vital that police investigate these cases more thoroughly," . "Reckless drivers should know there are consequences."

The followd several high-profile car-on-bike collisions in which cops made serious mistakes, as alleged by Levin. The paper reported these high profile bike crashes as examples:

• The case of Michelle Matson, a Greenpoint artist who was stuck by a hit-and-run driver and suffered a broken back in October 2011. Public records indicate cops let the case go cold and did not properly investigate because there was no fatality.

• The case of Stefanos Tsigrimanis, a musician who was killed by a truck driver in Fort Greene in September 2010. Cops didn't pursue the case until 10 days after his death because they incorrectly believed he there was no risk he would lose his life.

• The case of Clara Heyworth, a marketing director killed by a drunk driver in Fort Greene in July 2011. The District Attorney could not pursue the case because police did not go arrive at the scene until at least three days after the crash, limiting the amount of evidence obtained.

• The case of Mathieu Lefevre, an artist killed by a truck driver in October 2011. Cops made errors in the police report, failed to collect evidence at the scene, and are now facing a lawsuit from the victim's family for allegedly withholding videos and documents from their investigation.

According to the article, the NYPD's patrolman's handbook is not consistent with that law, noting that cops must investigate only when "death is likely."

Levin's believes his bill would change that. It calls for the agency to have at least five so-called collision Investigation Squad officers trained at each precinct, bumping up the number from 19 to 380 citywide. One such officer would be on call at all times in each precinct.

"Horrifying, life-changing crashes shouldn't go unresolved," said Michael Murphy of Transportation Alternatives.

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