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Attorney general opens probe into death of Far Rockaway woman who was fatally struck by NYPD vehicle last month

Mar. 8, 2023 By Bill Parry

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office has launched a probe into the death of a Far Rockaway woman who was fatally struck by an NYPD vehicle last month.

The AG’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) opened the investigation into the death of Zabina Gafoor, a 52-year-old home healthcare aide who was walking home from work when she was struck by an NYPD SUV in front of a shopping center located at the intersection of Beach Channel Drive and Bay 32nd Street on Feb. 17.

Gafoor was on her way home from work at around 8:30 p.m. and was standing in a crosswalk on a bike lane across from Bayswater Park when she was struck by the NYPD vehicle that was responding to an emergency nearby. Four police officers were reportedly in the SUV when it slammed into a 2020 Toyota Corolla that was driven by a 44-year-old woman who “failed to observe” the NYPD vehicle that had its emergency lights on, and then crashed into Gafoor.

The mother of two, who was born in Guyana and immigrated to the United States as a child, suffered severe head trauma and was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Pursuant to New York State Executive Law Section 70-b, OSI assesses every incident reported to it where a police officer or a peace officer, including a corrections officer, may have caused the death of a person, by an act or omission, according to the AG’s office. Under the law, the officer may be on-duty or off-duty, and the decedent may be armed or unarmed. Also, the decedent may or may not be in custody or incarcerated.

If OSI’s assessment indicates an officer caused the death, OSI proceeds to conduct a full investigation of the incident.

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