Watch out, meat heads: While administering street justice to cyclists who dare touch your precious vehicle, keep in mind you may be photographed for posterity on the internets. And that photo may lead to other photos, like this one here, depicting one Gus Gonzalez, who Streetsblog believes is the man who allegedly assaulted a cyclist during a road rage on Ninth Avenue incident last month. A lawyer used the license plate seen in the photos track down the vehicle's owner; it's registered to Flushing resident Laura DiSpirito, whose Facebook page (since made private) shows her on the beach with her husband "Gus." We'd know that gut anywhere.
And Streetsblog did even more reporting than any respectable "blog" really should, getting on the phone to the Manhattan DA's office. A staffer confirmed that a defendant named Gus Gonzalez has a court date scheduled for July 13th, when he will face a charge of third degree assault. The cyclist, Ray Bengen, faces "criminal mischief" charges—for slapping the SUV in an attempt alert the driver that he was cutting him off in the bike lane.
Tellingly, third degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor, as is the charge filed against Bengen. So in the DA's eyes, touching someone's ride is as criminal as assaulting someone's body. To be fair, the ride in question is a Ford Excursion.
Streetsblog's Ben Fried justifies publishing the photo because "if you drive away from the scene of a confrontation after inflicting bodily harm on someone, and you get to preserve your anonymity, it's a license to act like a sociopath." We're just running it because this guy's an asshole (allegedly!). As for Bengen, he told WCBS 2, "From what I understand, this is the state of New York against a humble, English Jew driving down a bike lane.