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Family Of Killed Cyclist Mathieu Lefevre Sues NYPD For Withholding Information

Mathieu Lefevere's mother Erika speaks at a rally demanding NYPD accountability for accident investigations involving cyclists.
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Mathieu Lefevere's mother Erika speaks at a rally demanding NYPD accountability for accident investigations involving cyclists. John Del Signore/Gothamist

Fed up with being stonewalled by the NYPD, the family of Mathieu Lefevre—an artist who was killed by a flatbed truck driver while riding his bike in Williamsburg in October—has filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court. At the beginning of December, the NYPD rejected the family's request for information under the Freedom of Information Law [FOIL], informing their lawyer that the investigation into Lefevre's death was ongoing, and therefore the NYPD would not share any documents related to said "investigation." You can read the lawsuit in full below.

The Lefevre family believes that there are glaring holes in the NYPD's investigation, which has resulted in zero charges against the driver, who drove away from the scene and denies any knowledge of killing Lefevre. In a previous letter to the NYPD Highway Patrol, attorney Steve Vaccaro cites numerous flaws in the investigation, ranging from lost evidence (investigators failed to collect blood found on the truck's front) and conflicting statements from the NYPD about how the accident happened. Lefevre's mother has also blasted the NYPD for not having the decency to return her calls, and not letting her know the driver would face no charges—which she learned from reading about it in the press.

The lawsuit argues that "the NYPD cannot show that the disclosure of the records concerning Lefevre's death would interfere with its investigation, because the investigation is nearly concluded. [Investigators] Sheehan and Bono both admit that NYPD has gathered all of the evidence it intends to gather in the Lefevre investigation... NYPD asserts that release of records concerning Lefevre's death would jeopardize an impartial trial or adjudication. But NYPD has already announced there will be no criminal charges... Absent criminal charges, there is no right to a trial by jury, and therefore no chance of a tainted adjudication."

In his summary of the suit, Vaccaro concludes, "The Lefevres seek only to learn the truth about the death of their son." The NYPD, it seems, seeks only to cover its ass—and its pattern of sloppy, half-hearted investigations into accidents involving cyclists.

Lefevre - FOIL - Notice of Petition and Petition

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