The Manhattan DA will not press charges against the cabbie who fatally struck 9-year-old Cooper Stock on the Upper West Side in January. “They told me there is nothing in the law right now that specifies that he can be charged with any crime,” Stock's mother, Dana Lerner, told Yahoo News of the DA's decision. "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.”
The cab driver, Koffi Komlani, was given a summons for failure to yield. He has not driven passengers since he hit Stock on January 10 at Riverside Drive and 97th Street, but he still has his license.
The Yahoo News report states that "Under New York law, criminal charges can only be brought if a driver who injures or kills a pedestrian commits two misdemeanors at a time," but this is not true. The "Rule of Two" is merely a guideline prosecutors use to explain why they often do not charge drivers who kill or maim people. There are plenty of instances in which the driver seemingly committed two misdemeanors and the DA's office declines to prosecute, including cab driver Mohammed Himon, who seemingly committed several misdemeanors when he jumped the curb and struck a British tourist in Midtown last August, causing her leg to be amputated.
This is what made yesterday's news of a guilty plea to a manslaughter charge in the fatal Williamsburg hit and run death of Raul De La Cruz so notable.
Nearly two weeks ago, the DOT announced a series of improvements to the neighborhood where Stock was killed. Councilmember Helen Rosenthal introduced "Cooper's Law," which would strip cab drivers of their licenses when they kill or seriously injure pedestrians. The bill is currently in committee.