Daily News Calls Out CM Gibson For Quashing Own Traffic Ticket

Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson

Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson

In a blistering editorial on Tuesday, the NY Daily News called on Bronx Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson to step aside as chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee for quashing a ticket given her for dangerous driving. The DN editorial angrily described Gibson’s action as “string-pulling that demonstrates unfitness to continue as chair of the City Council Public Safety Committee.”

In March of 2014, 44th Precinct Police Officer Michele Hernandez says she pulled Gibson over after spotting her talking on the phone behind the wheel. The councilwoman told the DN that she didn’t recall the incident but she takes seriously and obeys all traffic laws. Gibson faced a fine of up to $200 and five license points.

Officer Hernandez said she was ordered by her commanding officer to nix Gibson’s summons for talking on her cell phone while driving. The News learned of the incident in a notice to sue the city for $75 million filed last week by Officer Hernandez, who claims she has been retaliated against by supervisors for not fulfilling summons-writing quotas. The NYPD denies the existence of summons quotas.

The DN editorial reads in part:

 

“Amnesia sets in with disclosure of a double dereliction. Dereliction one: Gibson anointed herself above the law by virtue of her position and special access to NYPD brass, demanding special treatment unavailable to her constituents.

Dereliction two: Driving while speaking on a phone is not just a violation of state law; it is downright deadly, increasing fourfold the chances of a crash.

Gibson well knew how deadly, because just two weeks prior to her NYPD run-in she had presided over a City Council hearing on Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities.

Her opening remarks spoke of safety’s urgency: “ We must do more to ensure that these horrific accidents no longer happen across our streets.”

Family members of pedestrian crash victims then tearfully recounted their loved ones’ horrifying last moments.

Said the uncle of a child mowed down by a cabbie: “There’s no moral difference between driving drunk and driving in an incompetent manner for another reason, whether you’re smoking pot, using a cell phone, road rage, impatience or turning into a crosswalk without looking.” [Emphasis added.]

Gibson might not recall that lacerating message, however. She had left the Council chambers. Now, she should leave her committee chair.”