Sunday, October 17, 2010
Manhattan cyclist Ryan Stepka claims off-duty cop pulled gun on him during traffic dispute
Police are investigating a Manhattan bicyclist's allegations that an off-duty NYPD officer pointed a gun at him during a traffic dispute.
Ryan Stepka, 36, and his lawyer said investigators from the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau quizzed him Sunday as they probed the Saturday night incident.
"The matter is being investigated," NYPD deputy commissioner Paul Browne said in an email.
He would not provide details of the incident or say whether the alleged gunman was in fact an off-duty cop.
Stepka, a salesman from the Lower East Side, said he was riding on Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village about 11:15 Saturday night when the cop's black Volkswagen GTI came close to side-swiping him.
Stepka said he tapped on the heavily tinted driver's side window to alert the driver to his presence. When the driver continued to squeeze him off in traffic at a light, Stepka said he dismounted and approached the car.
"As he rolled his window down, he points a gun at my face," Stepka said. "No words were exchanged," he added. "I was just too stunned."
Stepka said the Volkswagen zoomed away up Sixth Ave. He said he chased the car on his bike as he called 911.
The 911 operator told him to go back to the scene of the incident and wait for cops to arrive.
Stepka said that as he was riding back he saw the car parked near Barrow St. and W. 4th St. Two NYPD marked cars were also there.
"I yelled, 'Stop the guy! He pulled a gun on me!"' Stepka recalled.
"They surround the car with their guns drawn, and he rolls down the window and must have shown them his badge because they all lowered their weapons."
Stepka's lawyer, David Hoffberg, said the cops at the scene mistreated Stepka.
"They started getting physical with him," Hoffberg said. "He got upset, but he certainly didn't break any laws."