Meet 16 y/o Beanca Moise (pictured below)….
and her friend, also 16 y.o Jo-Anna Thiboutot (pictured below)…
both of whom were rushed to Kings County Hospital Center on March 14th, 2015, suffering multiple fractures and bruises after being struck by a car as they attempted to cross the street mid-block in a section of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. While the two (2) teens were in the emergency room being treated New York cops appeared and gave them each tickets for Jaywalking (i.e. for illegally or recklessly crossing the street without regard for approaching traffic) and I, for one, applaud the cops for doing so.
According to the New York Post Beanca said that she thought that the cops who were standing near her hospital bed, as doctors swarmed around her, were there to see if she was okay, but when realized that they were there to give her and Jo-Anna tickets for jaywalking she was no longer relieved. Beanca told the Post: “It was very insulting. I got hit by a car, and they came to the hospital not even checking if I was okay, and just gave us the ticket.” Memo to Beanca: Yes, they did, and yes, you recklessly caused your own injuries and earned your citation.
NY Police told the Post that they were simply following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” orders, an effort to end traffic deaths and injuries by cracking down on reckless drivers and pedestrians. Cops told the teens’ parents that the tickets were mandatory given the mayor’s “zero tolerance jaywalking policy”. Both the accident reports and the girls’ summonses blame the teens for running into traffic because the girls were attempting to cross the street mid-block, and the driver who hit the teens, Edwin Lawrence, did not receive a citation because a witness reportedly told police that the driver had the right of way.
Memo to the Folks: I know that Jaywalking is one of those PITA (pain in the ass), silly and penny-ante crimes. In fact I had my own experience which I will share with you. Many years ago, in Orlando, FL, I was walking across Church Street with a group of friends headed to the haunted house (“Terror on Church Street”). It was a weekend night, between 11 and midnight, traffic was thick (bumper to bumper and not at all moving) as we, myself in the lead, crossed the roadway in between idling cars. I heard the whistling for a few seconds, growing louder, but paid it no mind as I had done nothing wrong and sensed nothing dangerous or afoul, but the whistling was both persistent and increasing in proximity. Before long I was spun around by a uniformed Orlando PO who had fire in his eyes. He demanded to know what my problem was and I was utterly dumbfounded, honestly having no clue what he was thinking. Yeah, I had a few adult beverages in me but I was far from being intoxicated, I was not carrying an open container, I had not made any noise or caused any ruckus and I was truly clueless. When he told me that I had jaywalked I laughed. I actually laughed. Yes, a bad move but it was also a completely involuntary and autonomic response. I told the officer that I was sorry for laughing but that I was from Miami and the idea of jaywalking had never crossed my mind. I explained that traffic was at a stand still and that I meant no offense. To this day I believe that but for the ensuing extremely calculated few moments of sincere apology, regret and repeated affirmations of my undying respect for both the law and the officer’s job I would have been carted off to Mickey Mouse Jail by a Mickey Mouse cop on a Mickey Mouse charge; but then again, no one was hit and injured, and therein lies the purpose of the law. As a lawyer I have had to defend innocent drivers who were charged for striking pedestrians who recklessly caused their own injuries by walking out in front of cars, beyond crosswalks and against signals. Sometimes drivers fail to pay attention, other times the pedestrian is at fault. Either way such injuries are almost all avoidable by simply waiting for the light to change and using the crosswalk. Memo tot he Folks: Slow down. Don’t be in such a hurry. And don’t bellyache when it is your own recklessness which precipitates your injuries.