A newly released graphic video captures an NYPD cruiser hitting a dirt bike during a chase in Hunts Point, Bronx, killing the biker and injuring his passenger.
Eddie Fernandez, 28, died in the Aug. 11 collision. Adalberto Gonzalez, 27, was injured and arrested. He is now suing the city for damages, claiming the police officer violated procedure when he intentionally rammed Fernandez’s dirt bike.
His attorney, Cesar Gonzalez, said the video shows wrongdoing on the part of Police Officer Eddie McClain and that a grand jury should have convened to charge McClain with a crime.
“I would feel a lot better if they [the district attorney] had put it before the grand jury and let them make a decision, because then the people of The Bronx have spoken," Cesar Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez was allegedly riding a dirt bike with no license plate and no helmet when Officer McClain spotted him and swerved towards his bike. Knocked onto the sidewalk, Gonzalez fled on foot and then jumped on the back of Fernandez's dirt bike, also unregistered. The officer chased them in his cruiser before slamming into the back of them.
Gonzalez broke his leg in the collision. He faces charges of resisting arrest and reckless endangerment when his trial begins Mar. 13 in Bronx Criminal Court.
Defense attorney Peter Ronai filed a $100 million claim to bring the civil suit to trial, alleging that Gonzalez suffered psychologically from the crash.
"The police officer barrels into them like a scud missile," said attorney Peter Ronai. "They were dead ducks. They had no chance. Their only crime was riding a dirt bike. They paid with their lives."
When Fernandez’s brother, John Fernandez, saw the video, he said of his brother: "It looks like he didn't even look back. He didn't know what was behind him."
Ronai said of his client: "Psychologically, he's ruined. Watching his best friend die was not easy."
Steve Reed, spokesman for Bronx DA Robert Johnson, said the office believes the crash was accidental. “Upon an extensive review of the evidence and circumstances of the incident, it was our determination that a sustainable criminal case could not be brought,” Reed said.
According to NBC, Gonzalez has no criminal history aside from the August arrest.