From the New York Daily News on a case we are handling with Fred Lichtmacher, Esq (full article at https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-fatal-nypd-motorcycle-crash-20211114-5eqk7r3nvjewfjgirx5ftszi6a-story.html):
Two NYPD officers accused of callously leaving a motorcyclist and his girlfriend to die in the street after a high-speed Queens chase ended in a wreck could receive a paltry penalty of just 20 lost vacation days, the Daily News has learned.
A police prosecutor was expected to ask for the light sentence for each officer at a departmental trial set to begin Tuesday, according to two NYPD sources, with the father of one victim and his attorney infuriated over a punishment they disparaged as hardly fitting the crime.
“I think they should lose their jobs and a lot more than 20 days of vacation,” said Steve Goddard, whose namesake son perished with his girlfriend Amy Gutierrez in the Nov. 10, 2018, crash.
“That’s heartbreaking, to think that they covered this up from the beginning,” the devastated dad told The News. “They’re guilty. How come they’re not charged with trying to cover it up? With anything else?”
The hearing comes less than a week after the third anniversary of the fatal crash as the couple was chased through the streets of Sunnyside at 3:30 a.m. by two officers in an unmarked car with its lights flashing.
Officers Andrew Diaz and Oscar Lopez drove away after watching the motorcycle slam into another vehicle, with the victims left “bleeding and suffering” the street, and then opted to hide details of the lethal chase from their NYPD supervisors, according to a lawsuit filed by the Goddard family.
The initial version of the deaths from the NYPD presented the fatalities as a tragic accident.
“If two people are responsible for two deaths and they lose 20 days of vacation time, not even going to jail, what does that tell you about equality in the justice system when it comes to cops hurting civilians?” asked attorney Fred Lichtmacher, who represents the family.
Both officers face departmental charges of failure to notify a supervisor of a pursuit and failure to terminate the chase. A 2019 Facebook post from the 108th Precinct showed both cops and noted Diaz’s message for the community: “We are here to help!”
But the partners offered no assistance following the chase that ended with the deaths of Steve Jr., 22, and his 20-year-old girlfriend on that rainy November night three years ago, according to the lawsuit.
Only the diligence of the elder Goddard, who spent two weeks digging up videos of the wreck from security cameras at local businesses, exposed the lack of response by police after the chase.
The NYPD, after initially remaining mum about the deadly pursuit, launched its own investigation nine months later and finally identified the two officers. The probe put Goddard’s lawsuit on hold.
The motorcycle driver and his passenger were both thrown from the bike after colliding with a car as they drove the wrong way down a one-way street, with each pronounced dead at a nearby hospital after the police car disappeared into the darkness.
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