CCTV has shown that New York Police drove into a cyclist in an unmarked car, and then lied about it, according to the rider.
Security camera footage appears to show how, when an NYPD officer hit Brooklyn resident Ross Cunningham on April 5th, making a right turn without indicating in front of him, the cyclist got to his feet to come eye to eye with NYPD Sergeant Peter Villahoz.
The cyclist said he was offered an apology and an ambulance by Villahoz, although the driver was in fact Officer Kenneth Maslowski.
But Villahoz also asked the cyclist 'Why were you riding on the sidewalk?’, according to The Gothamist.
Mr Cunningham told The Gothamist: ”[It] is a completely insane thing because how would a car hit me if I was riding on the sidewalk?"
Mr Cunningham said: "I was very fortunate. I wasn't badly injured," he told Gothamist.
But his bike was damaged beyond repair and his phone screen was cracked.
When Villahoz asked, "What would you like me to do?” Cunningham replied "I'd like you to pay for it."
When a police report of the incident arrived in the post, Mr Cunningham said it was a false account of the incident , and intended to shift the blame away from the officers, saying the police car "was making a legal right turn with emergency lights when cyclist struck right side of vehicle."
But in the CCTV, no emergency lights can be seen when the cyclist is hit at 20 seeconds in:
A box on the official report is ticked to indicate that Cunningham was "not ejected" when, as the video shows, he was thrown from his bicycle.
In a letter sent to the NYPD Mr Cunningham and his lawyer said: ‘More fundamentally, we are concerned that the report was completed by Sgt. Peter Villahoz, a passenger in the vehicle that struck Mr. Cunningham, apparently without review by any other officer.
“This is so, even though another marked police vehicle arrived at the scene of the crash and was available to conduct an (at least ostensibly) neutral investigation of the crash.
“Allowing an officer to "investigate" and report upon a crash caused by a vehicle he occupied is rife with potential for mistakes or worse. That potential is plainly evident in the attached report.”
"This was police officers investigating themselves, and surprise surprise—they really did the most they could to exonerate themselves and minimize the harm that they caused," Mr Cunningham’s lawyer said.
"What I see, however, is that even when police fill out these accident reports for cyclists who've been involved in crashes with private parties, where police don't have any personal skin in the game, they make all the same sorts of mistakes in terms of blaming the cyclist."
"This is not my lottery ticket," Mr Cunningham said. "I'm not planning on suing the city. But at this point I just want them to be straightforward. All I want is to be able to go to the doctor, figure out if I'm okay, and carry on with my life."
An NYPD spokesperson said: "The collision investigation is ongoing and has not been finalized.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.