According to the New York City Police Department, two officers have been placed on administrative duty while an investigation is being conducted to determine whether or not they improperly pursued an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) before it collided with a tractor-trailer last week. Both the driver of the ATV and his passenger were killed in the accident.
After the collision that occurred early on Friday morning in Long Island City, Queens, the cops, Niketas Janios and Marya Cardona Quintero, were disarmed and deprived of their firearms and shields. According to the authorities, the ATV was travelling in the incorrect direction on the Queensboro Bridge when the collision took place.
The collision took place a few weeks after Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell announced that the Police Department would be increasing its enforcement against illegal dirt bikes and ATVs. The announcement was a part of a crackdown on quality-of-life offences that Mr. Adams has committed to enforcing in his administration, an approach that had fallen out of favour under his predecessor.
The Mayor of New York City issued the following statement at the time of the announcement in June: “For years, these dirt motorcycles have sped across the streets, not only annoying New Yorkers but also breaching laws and threatening lives.”
According to the spokesperson for the mayor, Fabien Levy, an inquiry is now being conducted to determine the specifics of the collision.
According to the police, the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that was involved in the collision was going the wrong way on the eastbound lower highway of the Queensboro Bridge at 1:30 in the am on Friday. Angel Lopez, who was driving the ATV and was 22 years old at the time, and his passenger, whose identity the police did not reveal, were both thrown off the vehicle when it crashed with a Freightliner truck.
Both Mr. Lopez and his passenger were declared deceased at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital. Mr. Lopez passed away at the site of the accident. The truck driver, who was 36 years old and remained at the site, was not charged with any crime, according to the police.
After the incident, a guy who claimed to have been riding beside Mr. Lopez informed The New York Daily News that police had been following the ATV before to the collision.
According to the chief spokesperson for the police department, Julian Phillips, the Force Investigation Division is looking into the incident at this time.
If the investigations decide that the officers who worked in the 108th Precinct behaved inappropriately, they may face disciplinary action that ranges from a warning to the loss of vacation days or even termination from their positions.
The head of the officers’ union, the Police Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, voiced his disagreement with the decision to reprimand the police on Sunday.
According to what he had to say, “The New York Police Department has to evaluate if policing quality-of-life concerns is actually a priority.” Because residents are fed up with unauthorised motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), the city’s police officers and other law enforcement personnel have been instructed to make it a top priority to remove these vehicles from the streets. They should not be penalised for completing the task that they were sent out to do, since it was the one that needed to be done.
Police are expected to promptly alert radio dispatchers and patrol supervisors when they commence pursuit of a suspect in accordance with the policy of the Police Department, which permits officers to pursue automobiles when it is essential to apprehend a suspect. However, law enforcement agents are compelled to put a halt to the pursuit if the danger to members of the public or to themselves is higher than the potential gain from a speedy arrest.
When the mayor announced the crackdown, the police said that between January 1 and June 16 of this year, officers had confiscated 1,921 dirt motorcycles and ATVs. This number represents an increase of about 88 percent compared to the 1,022 vehicles that were taken during the same time period in 2021.
Despite the fact that the off-road vehicles do not have any safety equipment and that using them is against the law in New York City, riders may be seen weaving past pedestrians and vehicular traffic or cruising in groups along major thoroughfares.
They are often engaged in crashes with pedestrians and other cars, and they produce a torrent of complaints to 311 about reckless driving and noise. In addition, they pose a threat to the public’s safety. According to the authorities, lawbreakers also utilise the automobiles to perpetrate violent crimes like armed robberies and shootings in public places.