Wednesday’s Headlines: ‘It Wasn’t Us!’ Edition

Smile, you're on culprit camera.
Smile, you're on culprit camera.

Our top story: Gothamist did a broad overview of the crisis in Mayor de Blasio’s open streets program yesterday (welcome to the party!) that featured lots of solid reporting by Chris Robbins and Jake Offenhartz.

It also featured a juicy nugget — namely that a City Hall source claimed that the NYPD was involved in the now-infamous theft of barricades under cover of darkness from Driggs Avenue by the driver of an Amazon-branded van. Gothamist’s original story had a “no comment” from the NYPD (just as the agency had “no comment”-ed us last week), so we checked back with New York’s Finest about the source’s allegation:

“This is false,” said NYPD spokesman, Sgt. Edward Riley.

Amazon is also denying involvement, so we’ll keep you posted if we hear more.

In other news:

  • America breathed a sigh of relief as a Minnesota jury returned the obvious guilty verdict for ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd last year (NY Times). One thing worth noting: The verdict hinged on two factors that are not often present when cops kill: incontrovertible video evidence and testimony by the current chief of the Minneapolis Police Department that what Chauvin did to Floyd is “in no way, shape or form” department policy. Would NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea ever testify against a fellow officer? Let’s hope we never have to find out.
  • Meanwhile, several outlets did the obvious story about how New Yorkers celebrated the verdict (NY Post), but Gothamist added value by asking mayoral candidates about their police reform plans.
  • Downsized: The MTA workforce is 7 percent smaller than it was just two years ago (NYDN). Meanwhile, agency debt is soaring (NYDN, NY Post, WSJ)
  • A man was crushed to death by a truck driver. No charges. (NYDN)
  • In a Daily News op-ed, Betsy Plum and Kate Slevin argue for congestion pricing. Even agrees, more or less.
  • The Post covered the insanity of those Perth Amboy cops who arrested Black kids for riding bikes.
  • The demolition of the site of the former NYPD Manhattan tow pound is finally being prepped as a park. (CHEKPEDS)
  • Mayor de Blasio’s daily presser was dominated by happy talk about the creation of a new precinct in Southeast Queens (QNS). Good thing for him that he didn’t take our old man editor’s question, which was going to ask if the NYPD will promise that the new station house won’t become just another NYPD frat house of illegal parking and reckless driving, as Streetsblog chronicled last month and earlier.