New York Times: Judge Faults Police for Delays in Providing Records of Fatal Accident

Lefevre Ruling

A judge criticized the police on Friday for dragging their feet in releasing records and reports to the family of a cyclist who was fatally struck by a truck in Brooklyn last year, saying the department had “needlessly delayed” handing over documents.

The family of the cyclist, Mathieu Lefevresued the police in January, three months after his death, alleging that the police had illegally denied their request for records about the collision, for which the driver who struck Mr. Lefevre received only routine traffic summonses. Mr. Lefevre’s case became a rallying cry for traffic-safety advocates who have urged stronger penalties against drivers who kill cyclists and pedestrians.

Eventually, though, in April, the police complied with the family’s requests for information, so their suit became moot, and the judge, Peter H. Moulton of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, dismissed it in his ruling on Friday — but not before chiding the police.

While some delays were inevitable consequences of the investigation, Justice Moulton wrote, there was “no adequate explanation” for others, like the department’s difficulty in finding officers’ log books containing relevant information.

“While these delays in production were longer than necessary, and were no doubt more than agonizing to petitioners, the N.Y.P.D.’s records have now been produced,” he wrote.

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