Leonel Cuevas (pictured far right) was a passenger on the dirt bike as it rode through the South Bronx last October. Officers Sabrina Alicea and Walkiria Velez reportedly began chasing the bike. According to a witness who spoke with the New York Daily News, the cruiser deliberately hit the bike from behind, sending Cuevas into the air. The driver was killed by the impact.
The NYPD claimed the bike’s driver cut the officers off. However, lawyer Sanford Rubenstein backed the witness’s claims.
“The question has to be asked what really happened here?” Rubenstein said to CBS 2last year. “Was the police car being operated recklessly? Was this a manslaughter?”
Cuevas’ family says he hasn’t been the same since the crash.
“We know that he’s not the same and to see that he’s unable to communicate and move and be able to tell us what’s wrong, it really hurts. We’re devastated and we want justice,” said Natalie Cuevas, his 17-year-old twin sister.
“When we look at Leonel, we don’t see the same kid he was before,” she said. “This tragedy has caused damage physically and emotionally to my whole entire family,”
The incident is still under investigation and the officer involved remains on active duty.
Coincidentally, Cuevas is a cousin to Reynaldo Cuevas, a bodega worker shot and killed by another officer last year during a botched robbery in the Bronx.