New Video Shows Cop Car Ram Dirt Bikes Twice Before Fatal Crash
HUNTS POINT — The first time the police cruiser struck a dirt bike that Adalberto Gonzalez was riding one afternoon last August, he managed to clamber onto a friend's bike and speed off, newly released surveillance videos show.
The second time the cruiser hit the friend’s bike. That time, Gonzalez did not get back up.
Instead, he launched from the bike and broke his leg on the pavement, according to his lawyers.
“I’m going through a lot of pain, a lot of medications,” Gonzalez, 27, said Monday at Bronx Criminal Court, where he arrived on crutches ahead of his trial that is set to begin this week.
He was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving and resisting arrest following the Aug. 11 crash near Randall Avenue in Hunts Point.
“I just want this all over with so I can get my life back,” he said. “That’s all.”
Eddie Fernandez, the friend whose dirt bike Gonzalez jumped onto, also jettisoned onto the pavement when the cop car rammed it from behind, the footage appears to show.
The Bronx District Attorney’s office handed over the videos to Gonzalez’s defense attorney last week after repeated requests for the evidence, according to the lawyer, Cesar Gonzalez Jr., who is not related to his client.
He said the videos clearly show the police car pursuing the bikers, apparently in violation of a department policy not to engage in the risky chases.
“The police cruiser made a beeline for the two riders,” the lawyer said, adding that he planned to show much of the footage in court. “I think the video speaks for itself.”
Gonzalez is suing the NYPD for $20 million, claiming the officers involved in the crash acted with criminal negligence, according to his civil lawyer, Peter Ronai.
The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment Monday on the crash or the lawsuit.
The video also shows the period before the crashes, when the men raced down and across Randall Avenue and onto the sidewalk on their dirt bikes, which are not street legal.
Their driving caused at least one car to veer out of the way, according to a criminal complaint.
Gonzalez is stopped at an intersection when the footage shows the police cruiser approach from behind, swerve to the right and knock him off the bike.
Back on his feet, Gonzalez then races down the sidewalk as an officer gives chase on foot and the cruiser pulls a U-turn, the video shows. Gonzalez then hops onto the back of Fernandez’s bike.
Moments later, the cruiser rounds a corner and rams the bike from behind, the footage shows.
"It came with such speed and force to hit him," said Carmen Gonzalez, the biker's mother. "I don't understand what was the reason."
The family has called for the officer who drove the car to be suspended and face criminal charges.
The Bronx DA’s office has declined to bring charges against the officer, deciding after an “extensive review of the evidence” that Fernandez’s death was accidental, according to a statement by spokesman Steven Reed.
“If there was any issue of negligence, it did not rise to the level of a crime and therefore was not presented to the grand jury,” Reed said.
Gonzalez's trial is expected to begin Thursday.