Reporting by the New York Daily News suggests that an August 2015 car accident involving Mayor Bill de Blasio was covered up for political reasons.
“On a Saturday morning in August 2015, Mayor de Blasio was in the back seat of a black NYPD Chevy Tahoe bound for an event in Harlem when a driver changing lanes slammed into his ride,” the report says.
No injuries occurred as a result of the accident; but, allegedly in part to protect “optics” surrounding de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative — specifically launched to reduce traffic-related deaths with stricter enforcement — the accident was covered up.
Howard Redmond, commanding officer of the mayor’s executive protection unit, was “furious,” and the NYPD immediately moved to hide the incident from the public eye. “As per CO [Redmond] no one is to know about this,” Sgt. Jerry Ioveno texted members of the unit. “Not even the other teams.” He stressed, “No one is to know.”
“Is [de Blasio] pissed?” Ioveno asked in a text message. A detective responded, “Not really.” Still, according to text messages from an executive protection unit cop, Jorge Bravo, “Redmond [is] hell-bent that this doesn’t get out to anyone, we need to kill the story.”
“He went off on OPTICS of this detail — the little things (double-parking and crosswalk shit),” he added. “No one is to know; also, Eagle was not in the limo … are we clear guys please?”
“He’s pissed about people knowing the story of the accident, not the accident itself. And that the limo was brought back to [Gracie Mansion] and a press guy could have taken a picture,” Bravo wrote. “He asked me to tell you guys all this and that we all need to be sharper.”
According to sources for the NY Daily News, Redmond “allegedly ordered that the cop behind the wheel, Detective Edgar Robles, be officially listed as the driver of a backup SUV” in order to “more plausibly claim the mayor wasn’t in the vehicle involved in the collision.”
A $10 million discrimination suit has already been filed by a black detective — and six others — on de Blasio’s security detail for allegedly discriminatory practices in his duties. Attorney Marshall Bellovin has cited this incident as further evidence of a “lack of transparency.”
“The text messages I’ve seen describe a plan where no one was to know that the mayor didn’t remain in his limousine after the accident. … There is even language in the texts that no one was to know about the police report concerning the accident,” Bellovin said. “The common thread between the accident and my clients’ cases is the lack of transparency.”
This is not the first incident involving members of the mayor’s personal protection detail. New York City first lady Chirlane McCray was involved in an accident that has resulted in multiple ongoing lawsuits. Redmond himself was involved in another crash in January 2018, and Christopher Pizzo involved in yet another in July 2018.
“It was nice working with you guys,” Robles texted after this latest accident, seeming to make a joke about being transferred. “Stop it,” another detective wrote, and a third agreed: “Dude really — stop! That shit happens bro!”