— News (@TheLocalPressBK) January 11, 2019
A group of Brooklyn residents helped a motorist escape a tow truck operated by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday. Video of the incident made its way to social media on Friday when a Twitter user posted the footage in order to apparently help the NYPD identify some of the culprits.
Brooklynites can be heard shouting in the video as the driver guns their minivan to break out of a set of tow bars previously deployed in the Borough Park neighborhood at the corner of 44th Street and 15th Avenue.
Much of the off-camera commentary is in Yiddish but some of the taunting becomes racial–clearly directed toward the NYPD traffic agent, who is black.
“You’re in the wrong precinct,” someone says. “He should work in Harlem. They’ll kill him over there.”
Another voice is somewhat more sympathetic.
“Oh this is so bad,” a man says, “the guy worked his ass off for a half hour.”
The incident also made waves on the Kensington Brooklyn NY Facebook group where the post’s author noted:
“Scofflaw motorist” HAS 37 VIOLATIONS including 3 School Zone Speed Camera Violations🤬
… Boro Park Shomrim member Moshe Steinberg Unit-22 caught on tape assisting scofflaw motorist flee from NYPD. Steinberg is also seen harassing NYPD officer as bystander taunts the officer with racist remarks.
Both the Twitter and the Facebook post identify the Shomrim–a Jewish neighborhood watch volunteer group–as taking part in helping the motorist dodge the tow truck’s grasp.
“I thought Shomrim was suppose to assist the NYPD?” the Twitter user asked out loud in a separate post.
The NYPD issued a stinging rebuke of the crowd’s behavior.
“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel told the New York Daily News.
“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”
The traffic agent had reportedly already completed all the necessary paperwork and thus the driver’s information was collected so they are still expected to ultimately pay the necessary fine at least. They could also face additional charges.
[image via screengrab/Twitter]