CYCLE OF RAGE: Cyclists! Unite Today Against NYPD Violence and Intimidation

Here is the tackling incident on Thursday that will stoke rage today.
Here is the tackling incident on Thursday that will stoke rage today.

That wasn’t a mere tackle — that was the shove that might finally pushed us over the edge.

Hours after a Midtown North captain tackled a cyclist off his bike on Thursday, several advocacy groups announced that bike riders will gather in fury at the West 54th Street stationhouse today at 4 p.m. This week’s timeline explains the fire this time:

  • On Monday, a cyclist named Joseph Chiam was fatally struck on Eighth Avenue at 45th Street by a truck driver who fled.
  • Later that day, cops announced they knew who the driver was. But he was not arrested.
  • The death came on the same day that Streetsblog and other outlets reported a 20-percent uptick in roadway injuries to pedestrians and cyclists in the first 28 days of 2019.
  • Nonetheless, police started a ticket blitz against cyclists in the neighborhood, even writing tickets for actions that are not illegal, such as cycling without a helmet.
  • Then on Thursday, the cyclist, who is black was tackled by a cop, who is white, while other cyclists, mostly hard-working delivery bike riders, were ticketed.

Except for the tackle, it’s the same basic pattern that follows all cyclists deaths — the NYPD goes into its standard 72-hour plan, a three-day ticket blitz against the very victims of the violence itself.

But this time, cyclists aren’t merely taking to Twitter with angry rants or posting pictures of cops parked in bike lanes. They’re going to show up in force at the stationhouse on Friday to demand answers from Inspector Mark Iocco as to why his officers are attacking cyclists with physical violence and legal intimidation.

It’s not as if Iocco is doing such a good job with the “protect” part of “protect and serve.”

In just two years, 975 people were injured in crashes in the Midtown North precinct, a rectangle generally bound by Lexington Avenue, 45th Street, the West Side Highway and 59th Street. More than half — 560 — were cyclists and pedestrians. Two died. Virtually every one of the injuries — and all the deaths — were caused by drivers.

Yet Iocco’s officers wrote only 264 speeding tickets last year. And they wrote only 460 tickets for failure to yield to a pedestrian, a common crime that leads to many injuries. By comparison, officers at the neighboring Midtown South precinct wrote 2,743 failure to yield tickets.

So tackling cyclists or writing tickets to delivery workers because they are using an illegal e-bike to fulfill orders that Iocco’s residents place to begin with is not the way to meet the mayor’s Vision Zero goal because cyclists aren’t causing the deaths and injuries on Iocco’s streets. Will the mayor do anything? Did anything ever happen to that cop who tackled the cyclist on Jay Street last year? Of course not. These violent officers are answerable to, apparently, no one.

So united, cyclists, and show up in force today at 4 p.m. at 306 W. 54th St.