The New York Police Department is investigating an incident in which, it is alleged, an off-duty police officer pointed a gun at a cyclist who tapped on his car window.
Cyclist Ryan Stepka, 36, says he was riding through New York’s Greenwich Village when a car came close to side-swipeing him. Stepka says he tapped on the Golf’s heavily tinted windows as he rode alongside to alert the driver to his presence but when he was again denied space at a traffic light by the car, he dismounted and approached the driver.
It was at this point, Stepka claims, that the driver drew a weapon
"As he rolled his window down, he points a gun at my face," Stepka said. "No words were exchanged, I was just too stunned."
Presumably believing he had made his point, the driver then took off, but Stepka pursued him while calling the police. He was told to return to the scene of the incident and wait for police to arrive but as he did so he spotted the car parked up with two patrol cars in attendance.
"I yelled, 'Stop the guy! He pulled a gun on me!"' Stepka said. "They surround the car with their guns drawn, and he rolls down the window and must have shown them his badge because they all lowered their weapons."
According to Stepka’s lawyer, the officers then appeared to close ranks.
"They started getting physical with him," lawyer David Hoffberg said. "He got upset, but he certainly didn't break any laws."
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident.
The Department does not have a great record when its comes to its treatment of cyclists. In 2008 an officer deliberately knocked a Critical Mass cyclist off his bike and then lied about the incident in a police report. A video of the incident which went viral on Youtube, disproved his version of events. The officer, Patrick Pogan, resigned from the force and was later convicted of falsifying the criminal complaint that claimed the cyclist knocked him over.