FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 15, 2017
MTA Bridges and Tunnels Officer Who Struck Pedestrian
Indicted For Leaving the Scene of an Incident
Defendant Allegedly Struck Pedestrian on Brooklyn side of Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Put Him in Marked Patrol Car, Drove Him to Staten Island, and Left Him on Side of Road
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an MTA Bridges and Tunnels Officer has been indicted on charges of leaving the scene of an incident for allegedly striking a pedestrian in Brooklyn, then driving him over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and leaving him unattended on the Staten Island side of the bridge.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “That an on-duty officer would strike a pedestrian and leave the scene is shocking; that he would move the victim and ask him not to report the officer is even more egregious. The defendant’s post at the time of the incident was traffic enforcement – he should have been keeping pedestrians safe, not endangering lives.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Lawrence Ffrench, 42, of Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting as a felony and third-degree intimidating a witness. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 23, 2017. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 26, 2016, at approximately 7:00 p.m., near the corner of 92nd Street and Gatling Place, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the victim, a 41 year-old man, was crossing the street in the crosswalk walking toward the S53 bus stop when he was allegedly struck by a marked MTA vehicle driven by Officer Ffrench, thrown through the air and landed on the ground.
Officer Ffrench allegedly exited the vehicle, approached the victim – who was visibly injured and unable to walk – and placed him in the rear of his car. He then allegedly drove over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toward Staten Island, took the first exit off the right hand side of the road, Bay Street, then drove to a smaller access road in the vicinity of Tompkins Avenue and Wadsworth Avenue. He pulled the victim from the car and left him on the side of the road.
The officer allegedly asked the victim not to tell anyone who struck him and promised to call an ambulance, according to the investigation. The victim called 911, at approximately 7:38 p.m., and told the operator that he had been struck by an MTA police car and left in Staten Island. Emergency medical technicians responded and placed the victim in an ambulance. It is alleged that Officer Ffrench returned to the scene in his personal vehicle while the victim was in the ambulance and told the victim not to tell anyone that it was the defendant who struck him.
The victim was taken to Staten Island University Hospital where he remained for four days. He suffered numbness and pain to his right arm and swelling and pain to his right knee. He had surgery on his knee and continues to undergo physical therapy.
The case was investigated by Investigator John Moakley of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Internal Security Department, Special Investigations Division.
It was additionally investigated by Detective Investigators John Rodriguez and Robert Galvin, of the Kings County District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Joseph Piraino.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Prabhalya Pulim, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.