Tamon Robinson, a 27-year-old Brooklyn man, died earlier this year after being hit by a police car. When Robinson was caught stealing cobblestones from his housing project, he ran toward the building and was struck by the pursuing vehicle, putting him in a coma he never came out of. Police say it was an accident, while witnesses claim otherwise, but either way, the NYPD wants $710 for the dent he left in the car.
"We're still grieving, and this is like a slap in the face," said Laverne Dobbinson, Robinson's mom, who received a letter from a collection agency on September 27 for "property damage to a vehicle owned by the New York Police Department." A lawyer for Dobbinson called the bill a "disgrace," adding, "In my 40 years of practicing law in this city I have never seen anything as heartless as this."
Although the city medical examiner ruled the death an accident, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said an investigation is ongoing, with Internal Affairs also looking into the family's claims of police wrongdoing, the Daily News reports.
"They want my son to pay for damage to the vehicle that killed him," said Dobbinson. "It's crazy."
Update: The Times reports that the law firm behind the letter has "ceased collection" on the $710. "We were not aware of the circumstances," said a lawyer for Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. "This type of receivable is not something we pursue when the alleged debtor is deceased." No word yet from the NYPD.