Brooklyn Pol Blasts NYPD Chief Who Victim-Blamed Woman For Her Own Death

Council Member Mark Treyger. Photo courtesy of NYC Council, John McCarten
Council Member Mark Treyger. Photo courtesy of NYC Council, John McCarten

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South Brooklyn Council Member Mark Treyger blasted the top cop who victim-blamed the woman that was killed by the driver of a massive sanitation truck on Thursday morning, calling out one of so-called New York’s Finest for turning a blind eye to drivers’ recklessness and instead blaming the woman for her own death.

Police Department Deputy Chief Charles Scholl of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South faulted 67-year-old Deborah Mutell for getting run over by the truck, insinuating that she had not been careful when she stepped out onto 86th Street near Bay Parkway on her way to work before sunrise.

But Treyger — who grew up on Bay Parkway — said Scholl has clearly never walked the streets of the own community he’s supposed to protect and serve, otherwise he would know how dangerously drivers operate their multi-ton vehicles as they speed, go through red lights, and cross double yellow lines in the residential neighborhood.

“I have seen for years the recklessness and irresponsibility of drivers in this industry operating at night with virtually no accountability — blowing through red lights, speeding — so if he saw what I saw, he would think twice before making that statement,” the pol said Friday, standing at the corner where Mutell’s body was split in two by the wheels of the massive truck. “I disagree with the chief wholeheartedly.”

Council Member Mark Treyger standing at the corner of 86th Street and Bay Parkway, where he says he regularly sees massive trucks speeding and going through red lights. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Council Member Mark Treyger at 86th Street and Bay Parkway, where he says he regularly sees massive trucks speeding and going through red lights. Photo: Julianne Cuba

On Thursday, during a live interview with PIX11, Scholl attempted to exonerate the driver and instead blame Mutell, along with all pedestrians in general — putting the onus on them to be careful.

“We encourage pedestrians at that time of the morning to be very cautious. It’s not light out yet,” Scholl said, without offering any advice to drivers to slow down or be acutely aware of their surroundings.

But neither Treyer nor another local were shocked by the fatal crash, given how fast and reckless motorists drive in the area. And the number of crashes — including those less-serious, and which don’t get reported — in just one year prove how dangerous the area is for pedestrians like Mutell.

Last year, there were 93 crashes on 86th Street between 21st and 23rd avenues, which are on either side of Bay Parkway, injuring one cyclist, eight pedestrians and 15 motorists. A year earlier, there were 104 crashes on just those two blocks, injuring one cyclist, three pedestrians and 10 motorists. That’s 197 crashes in just two years on two blocks. By comparison, a two-block stretch of Bay Ridge Avenue on either side of commercial Fourth Avenue in the adjacent neighborhood had 76 crashes over the same time period, injuring nine pedestrians and 10 motorists.

Police had also claimed that Mutell had crossed the street “mid-block,” but even Scholl admitted on-air that he wasn’t sure what exactly happened. 

“I don’t know where this happened, if it happened mid-block, we encourage all people, as we did years ago to ‘cross at the green not in between,’ cross at corners, not mid-block,” he told PIX11.

Treyger also called demanded that the city’s Business Integrity Commission, which is in charge of overseeing the notoriously reckless private sanitation industry, come forward with the name of the carting company and suspend its license. The company itself must also take responsibility for the woman’s death, Treyger said.

“It is absolutely outrageous that we have not heard or seen a statement from the private sanitation company up to this point — and that fact that BIC has not issued a statement is also equally outrageous. We demand accountability and justice in the name of our families and communities,” he said. 

A spokeswoman for the Business Integrity Commission called the crash a “horrible tragedy” and said that police are investigating, but she declined to comment on whether the city was aware of what company was involved.

Streetsblog requested an interview with Scholl, but the NYPD public information office denied the request.