The taxi driver who killed a 9-year-old boy as he crossed an Upper West Side street with his father in January has now been charged by the Manhattan District Attorney. Koffi Komlani was arraigned in criminal court on October 7th and charged with one count of Failure to Exercise Due Care, which is a traffic infraction. The penalty, if convicted, is a maximum 15 days in jail, a $750 fine, and a license suspension.
Komlani was released on his own recognizance, and his license was suspended at the time of his arraignment. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 4th.
Cooper was holding is father's hand as they crossed West 97th Street at West End Avenue when Komlani turned into them, striking both and killing the child. After the fatal crash, Komlani was issued a summons for failure to yield and released.
In May, Stock's mother, Dana Lerner, said the DA told her they would not press criminal charges against Komlani. "They told me there is nothing in the law right now that specifies that he can be charged with any crime,” Lerner said at the time. "The laws in New York state which say you can kill someone and not face any real consequences are appalling, and they need to be changed.”
In February, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, introduced "Cooper's Law," intended to strip cab drivers of their TLC licenses if they kill or maim a pedestrian as a result of failing to yield. The City Council passed the bill in May. Following a series of pedestrian deaths, the DOT also announced safety improvements on the Upper West Side, including the intersection where Cooper was killed.
It's unclear why the DA has now charged Komlani, but Cooper's mother is far from satisfied, telling the Daily News, "He wasn’t speeding, he just didn’t stop. He hit two people and a child died. That’s not a traffic violation. That’s a crime."
Paul Steely White, the Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, says, "This is not Justice. This late and tiny penalty does not fit the crime. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that DA’s finally start holding reckless drivers accountable for their criminal actions."