First-term Democratic Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise is keeping a low profile after the emergence of traffic camera footage of the moment she struck a bicyclist with her SUV—and kept on driving as if nothing had happened, failing to stop to see if the man she’d hit was still alive.
It all happened at 8 a.m. on July 19, when closed-circuit TV cameras at an intersection on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City. DeGise had the green light and was traveling at a high rate of speed in her big black Nissan Rogue when she struck 31-year-old UberEats deliveryman Andrew Black and sent him hurtling into the street.
“I come up to a light, and I have the right-of-way, and right before I get hit, I look left, suddenly I just hear ‘Ba!’ And then I just get hit, and then I hit the hood, and I roll over, and I’m in such pain,” Black said in an interview with HudPost.
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Thankfully, Black was largely uninjured save for a few scrapes and the general shaking up one expects to receive when hit by a speeding SUV. What hurts the most, however, is not his physical injuries—it’s the fact that DeGise didn’t stop to check on him or even see whether she’d killed him. Nor did she bother to report the incident to the police.
“Someone of prestige [who is] demanding to uphold and clean our streets or whatever they’re calling it,” he said, “can’t even do it themselves.”
But in the modern surveillance state, nothing escapes the all-seeing eyes of Big Brother, and the camera footage has DeGise dead-to-rights. The Democratic councilwoman, who is the former chair of the Hudson County Democrats and the daughter of current county executive Tom DeGise, was later issued a summons for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to report the incident.
Meanwhile, her behavior has shocked the community and led to calls for her resignation.
“Past being elected, it’s a living human being—it was really hard for me to witness that,” Councilman Frank Gilmore told NBC 4 New York. “It’s a matter of public trust, it’s a matter of respect, it’s a matter of human decency.”
DeGise’s fellow Jersey City council member James Solomon made his opinion of the matter clear by being among the first to sign his name to a Change.org petition which is calling for DeGise to resign her seat.
“The word I use is horrified, that’s how I felt watching the video,” Solomon explained when interviewed by NBC 4. “She’s an elected official and we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and that’s why I think she should resign.”
Ironically, if DeGise had simply done the right thing, her position would still be secure. Although Black claimed the light was green when he entered the intersection, the footage shows that it was actually DeGise who had the green light, and therefore Black was in the wrong. Nevertheless, her behavior after striking him is appalling and has been universally condemned.
The next move is up to Amy DeGise—but if she refuses to resign, it will be up to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop to force the issue. And the pressure is growing on the mayor to do just that.
“How can we have someone making the laws breaking the laws?” Jimmy Lee, president of Safe Streets JC, wondered.
That seems to be the question of the hour in Joe Biden’s America.
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