Video Shows Cops Not Even Trying to Save Man they Struck on Eastern Parkway: Family

Richard Smith and Julie Floyd, siblings of Ronald Anthony Smith, are calling for justice for their brother, who was killed by the NYPD in April on Eastern Parkway. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Richard Smith and Julie Floyd, siblings of Ronald Anthony Smith, are calling for justice for their brother, who was killed by the NYPD in April on Eastern Parkway. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The police officers who were speeding along the median of Eastern Parkway before they fatally struck a Brooklyn man earlier this year failed to give proper medical aide to the gravely wounded man and must be fired, family members asserted on Monday as they called for justice in the face of seven months of unanswered questions.

Julie Floyd describe the “horror” of watching a still-unreleased video that she says shows Officers Orkhan Mamedov, who was driving a police van that was making a routine personnel transfer, and partner Eval Siegel striking Ronald Anthony Smith as he stood in the median of the wide roadway — then driving another 35 feet with Smith on the hood of their van before stopping the vehicle, yet not seriously performing CPR on the victim.

Anthony Smith was killed by a police officer driving a van.
Anthony Smith was killed by a police officer driving a van in April. Family photo

“The officer had a cell phone in one hand and was doing a one-handed CPR that was extremely delayed,” Floyd told reporters in front of the headquarters of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which has opened an investigation. “And it’s not like they jumped out of their vehicle and started doing CPR on him. They waited and then eventually every now and then one hand would push down on his chest.

“The cops murdered my brother and swept it under the rug and tried to pass him off as a homeless person. And he wasn’t homeless,” Floyd continued. “He leaves behind sisters, his mother, his brother, nieces, nephews, people who loved him and are still mourning him to this day. Those officers need to be fired. I don’t know if they are on the street now. I don’t know what they’re doing. But they get to go home to their brother. And I don’t get to go home to mine.”

The NYPD has declined to comment on the case since confirming in April that both officers were put on modified duty pending the investigation. On Monday, an NYPD spokesman only said, “The incident remains under investigation by the Force Investigation Division.” (The state Attorney General is also investigating, which is standard in all cases when a police officer is present at a civilian death; the AG’s office showed the Smith family the video, but has not released it yet.)

The lawyer for the Smith family, David Rankin, said he’s been forced to sue the NYPD to release body camera footage from the officers involved in the crash because the NYPD won’t release it, despite it being public information.

“One of the disgraces of our city right now is that we’ve been asking for the video and it hasn’t been provided,” he said. “Now we’re suing them for the video that everybody acknowledges is going to be publicly available. They don’t have a good faith argument to suggest we’re not going to get this video, so why are they forcing us to sue them for it? Why is our city like that? You all should be seeing what the city is doing.”

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Monday’s press conference (from left) featured lawyer David Rankin, Richard Smith, Julie Floyd and Loyda Colon of The Justice Committee. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The family’s reaction to the slow pace of the NYPD reaction and the lack of answers provided by the agency all stem from a horrific April 7 crash, which witnesses and now the video seen by the Smith family suggest involved a speeding police van rushing to make a red light at the intersection of Schenectady Avenue, where Smith was panhandling.

Rankin focused on the police recklessness in the case.

“This is one of the things that happens in New York City hourly, daily; you see police officers in cars and vans turning on their lights and just disregarding all the traffic laws,” he said. “Those lights are designed for very specific emergency purposes, and this tragic case is an example of two officers who just turned it on and drove recklessly and killed somebody. We have to have zero tolerance for these type of traffic violations. There’s no reason to have the NYPD continue to behave as though the law doesn’t apply to them. It just has to stop.”

He added that Smith’s family is “very thankful that the CCRB appears to be taking this matter seriously.”

The family is also considering a lawsuit. Such suits are quite common, as motor vehicle settlements comprise the largest share (67 percent) of city settlement payouts:

Vehicle crashes were responsible for 67 percent of the city's payouts in 2020. Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Vehicle crashes were responsible for 67 percent of the city’s payouts in 2020. Graphic: Comptroller’s Office

Those payouts add up to a lot of money, roughly $142 million in 2020:

Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller’s Office

The NYPD is particularly expensive for the city:

Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller’s Office

And here’s how the NYPD’s settlements break down. Obviously, police brutality is far more costly to the city, but vehicles are a notable second:

Graphic: Comptroller's Office
Graphic: Comptroller’s Office

For now, dollars and cents aren’t Julie Floyd’s top priority. Justice for her brother is.

“Where’s was their CPR?” she asked, linking the cops’ failure to perform cardio pulimary resuscitation and the police department’s slogan. “Where was their courtesy? Where was their professionalism? Where was their respect for this man? He wasn’t dirty. He wasn’t no bum off the street. That’s my brother. … He helped out in pantries, in voting places. And I don’t think he deserved to go out like that, standing on the street, minding his own business, and then getting swept under the rug like a piece of garbage. I want something done. Because anybody could put on a blue uniform. That doesn’t make you above the law. They should be fired, prosecuted, to thrown in jail, whatever it is you have to do to get them off the street.”

Loyda Colon of The Justice Committee, which is helping Julie Floyd and Richard Smith, likened the Smith case to that of Ryo Oyamada, the 24-year-old student who was run down and killed by police in 2017. Oyamada’s family eventually won a settlement from the city, but the NYPD never acknowledged responsibility for the death, and rejected entreaties for measures to prevent deadly police crashes in the future, the family said.

“In that case, the NYPD said that the [squad] car wasn’t speeding, but later, evidence showed that the NYPD lied,” she said. “We are standing here today with the family of Ronald Anthony Smith to demand that Mayor Adams and the police commissioner stop hiding. Release the video. And fire officers Orkhan Mamedov and Eval Siegel.”