Brooklyn, NY - In a strongly worded statement issued after a social media video showed local residents harassing a tow truck driver and freeing a car about to be towed, the NYPD has said it will have zero tolerance for anyone who abuses any of its traffic agents.
According to reports in The Daily News (https://nydn.us/2QIVGn8), the incident took place at the corner of 44th Street and 15th Avenue on Thursday after an NYPD traffic agent hooked a minivan up to his tow truck and began filling out the paperwork on the vehicle.
A group of passersby managed to detach the car from the tow truck, and video posted to social media shows the grey Honda Odyssey pulling away from the truck’s tow bars, with onlookers encouraging an unknown driver to quickly leave the scene.
The video shows the traffic agent disgustedly taking some of his equipment back from a Chasidic man who had removed it from the top of the minivan, and then being intercepted by two more men as he placed his hand on the driver’s side door of the vehicle, ostensibly to prevent him from leaving, the driver speeding away as soon as traffic cleared.
Sources told VIN News that the car was parked near a fire hydrant and had not allowed the15 foot clearance of the hydrant as required by law.
The New York Post (https://nyp.st/2QFVDbH) reported that the person who drove the car away was a member of Shomrim and not the owner of the vehicle. A spokesperson for Shomrim told VIN News that Shomrim had nothing to do with the incident.
Voices can be heard on the video laughing and making negative comments to the traffic agent as he returned to his vehicle, one repeatedly saying “what a loser” while another intoned, “you are going to lose your job for acting like an (obscenity).”
Other comments had a racial overtone, with one man saying to the African American traffic agent, “You work in the wrong precinct. You should work in Harlem. They’ll kill him over there.”
The NYPD said that it had increased patrols in the area in response to requests from community leaders who said that illegally parked vehicles were creating traffic, hindering both area residents and emergency vehicles.
A statement issued by the NYPD read “We will not tolerate out traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video… This is disgusting behavior against an officer who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”
According to News 12, a license plate check revealed a list of more then $1,000 in parking violations issued to the vehicle.
The NYPD said that it could not comment further on the incident at this time, but sources told VIN News that an arrest is expected within the next few days.