8 UNDER 8
STREET JUSTICE ACTIVISTS STENCIL MEMORIALS FOR 8 CHILDREN KILLED BY DRIVERS THIS YEAR
Safer streets activists bicycled over 50 miles to 8 sites where children have been killed by automobile, and painted a memorial at each site demanding justice
What: Bicycle ride to 8 locations in Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens where children under 8 years old were killed by automobile. At each site a memorial will be created.
New York, NY: On Friday, October 11, Jaied Figueroa, age 2, was killed by a driver, making that 2 children this week, and at least 8 children under 8 years old killed by automobile this year alone.
On Sunday, October 13th, street justice activists with Right of Way will respond by cycling more than 50 miles, through 4 boroughs, to stencil 8 sites where children younger than 8 have been killed by automobile this year. In 5 of these cases, the NYPD has not filed any charges. In one, the NYPD charged the driver only with leaving the scene but not with any crime connected with the child’s death. In only two was the driver charged with any substantial offense: in one, the driver was fleeing police in a high-speed chase; in the other, the driver was DUI.
“Instead of investigating the crash site to determine the driver’s speed or checking phone records to determine if the driver was distracted, the NYPD routinely blames the victim, declaring the child the perpetrator of his or her own murder for doing something all kids do, like playing with a ball,” said Keegan Stephan, a member of Right of Way.
“Right now, from Staten Island to Flushing, it is unsafe to be a child on the streets of New York City,” said Stephan. “We have to start enforcing traffic laws that protect pedestrians, cyclists and children being children. We have to start by charging drivers with the appropriate crimes when they break those laws.”
“When I grew up I rode everywhere,” notes Right of Way member Benjamin Shepard, a father of two. “But now we’re concerned that the roads present a real risk for our kids and our communities. You should not put your life on the line when you ride a bike through the city. The NYPD’s dereliction of duty is killing people every day.”
“City streets are the common property of all of us, but they’ve been expropriated by drivers, with the active collusion of the NYPD,” said Michael Smith, another member of Right of Way. “If you want to get away with murder in this town, do it with a car. The cops won’t investigate. In fact, they’ll sympathize.”