Updated: Mar 8
Eliel Cruz, email@example.com
Amidst a string of NYPD car crashes, Family of Ronald Anthony Smith Gathers at Vigil In front of AG’s Office
New York, NY: On Wednesday evening, in the wake of two NYPD car crashes injuring one New Yorker and killing another, the family of Ronald Anthony Smith, who was struck and killed by officers driving an NYPD van last April, held a vigil at Attorney General Letitia James’ Office. The Smith family was joined by Councilmember Crystal Hudson, other family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD, and advocates in calling for the AG to complete her investigation into the case and prosecute both officers.
"Attorney General Letitia James should have finished her investigation and brought charges against Officers Orkhan Mamedov and Evan Siegel months ago,” said Julie Floyd, sister of Ronald Anthony Smith. “Instead she is forcing us to stand outside in the cold demanding an end to the hell she is putting me and my family through. We need AG James to do her job and swiftly prosecute Officers Mamedov and Siegel."
Recently released data from the Office of the New York City Comptroller show that NYPD has cost the city millions in car crash settlements: “NYPD is responsible for the highest number of crash claims and the largest share of settlements. Between FY 2012 and FY 2021, the City settled $246.8 million in NYPD crash claims representing 37.7% of the total spent by the City on crash claims overall.”
In contrast to prosecutors for the Tyre Nichols case, who gained indictments within 19 days, and the previous NYS AG, who gained an indictment of Officer Wayne Isaacs for killing Delrawn Small in under three months, it’s been almost a year since the Attorney General’s Office began investigating, and AG has yet to conclude the investigation or make her decision about whether or not to prosecute the officers.
“Back in 2016, the Attorney General at the time took less than three months to investigate my brother’s case and indict Officer Isaacs on murder charges,” said Victor Dempsey, brother of Delrawn Small (killed by the NYPD in 2016). “By 10 months, we were preparing for the murder trial. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted from the jury - but we did get a speedy, thorough investigation, real transparency and real prosecution from the AG’s Office. The Smith family deserves at least this much.”
The family and advocates say Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell must also take action.
“The NYPD and City of New York have historically and routinely shielded abusive officers from accountability, allowing them to continue to harm and kill New Yorkers,” said Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee. “Officer Mamedov has a history of abuse with at least 20 misconduct allegations lodged against him. In the interest of public safety, Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell must fire Officers Mamedov and Siegel and Attorney General Letitia James must prosecute them.”
“Last April, the NYPD killed a beloved Brooklynite named Ronald Anthony Smith in a cruel and callous act,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “Mr. Smith was standing on the median of Eastern Parkway when an NYPD van driven by Officers Orkhan Mamedov and Eval Siegel sped through a red light, struck him, and dragged his body more than 30 feet before coming to a stop, at which point they failed to render aid. In the wake of this senseless killing, the officers have not been fired, charged with any crime, or otherwise held accountable for their heinous actions. Tonight’s vigil is a demand for Mayor Adams and the Office of the Attorney General to deliver accountability; to hear the pleas from this mourning family; and to deliver accountability.”
“I and other families who’ve lost loved ones to the NYPD stand with the Smith family,” said Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez (killed by the NYPD in 1994). “It’s unacceptable that the AG is dragging the investigation, while the Smith family is waiting in anguish. We must work together to make sure the AG prosecutes Officers Mamedov and Siegel and Mayor Adams fires them from the NYPD. We cannot afford to stay silent.”
"Once again another individual has died due to the recklessness and negligence of the NYPD,” said Jon McFarlane, VOCAL-NY Civil Rights Union Leader. “The officers failed to perform even the most basic medical care for Ronald Anthony Smith. This callous disregard for human life is made more alarming by evidence showing officers were speeding and driving down an Eastern Parkway median and may have been watching a soccer game while doing so. This abhorrent act of misconduct cannot go unpunished and AG James, Mayor Adams, and NYPD Commissioner Sewell must take immediate action to hold these killer cops accountable."
Background: On April 7, 2022, Ronald Anthony Smith was killed by NYPD Officers Orkhan Mamedov, who was operating the vehicle, and Evan Siegel, as they recklessly drove an NYPD van down a median in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, struck Mr. Smith and then dragged his body another 35 feet on the hoodIn December, AG James, who is investigating the case, finally released video of the incident publicly. The footage shows Officers Mamedov and Siegel run a red light, drive opposite traffic, and speed on the median for no reason, without any regard for Smith, anyone else in the road, or those in custody who were passengers in the van. The footage also shows Officer Mamedov unlocking his phone to a soccer game, raising questions about whether he and Officer Siegel were watching the game while speeding through Crown Heights.
About the Justice Committee:
Since the 1980s, the Justice Committee (JC) has been dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City. The heart of our work is organizing and uplifting the leadership of families who have lost loved ones to the police and survivors of police violence. We empower our community to deter police violence, hold law enforcement accountable, and build people-led community safety through grassroots organizing campaigns, community empowerment, political education, our CopWatch program, and by developing safety mechanisms and projects that decrease reliance on police. By building solidarity with other anti-racist, immigrant and people of color-led organizations, the Justice Committee seeks to contribute to a broad-based movement for racial, social, and economic justice.