Laverne Dobbinson was aghast after receiving a letter demanding that she pay $710 to repair the dent in the squad car that struck and killed her son earlier this year.
“We’re still grieving, and this is like a slap in the face,” Tamon Robinson’s mom, Laverne Dobbinson, 45, told The New York Daily News.
“They want my son to pay for damage to the vehicle that killed him. It’s crazy.”
Police discovered Robinson stealing paving stones in the predawn light at his Brooklyn housing project in April. A chase ensued, with the cruiser striking the 27-year-old. Robinson was in a coma for six days before succumbing to blunt impact head injuries.
The city medical examiner subsequently ruled his death an accident
The collection agency letter dated Sept. 27 and mailed to Robinson seeks $710 for “property damage to a vehicle owned by the New York Police Department.”
It also threatens to slap the family with a lawsuit if the claim isn’t paid within 10 days.
“Isn’t there respect for the dead?” asked John Torrence, 50, the victim’s uncle.
A spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Thursday that the incident remains under investigation. The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau was also probing allegations from witnesses that Robinson was deliberately mowed down.
Photos taken of the squad car show a large indentation on the front, left-hand side of the vehicle.
Dobbinson’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, has filed a notice of intent to sue the city, and has warned the NYPD not to do any repairs. Any modifications to the car would be a violation of a court order to preserve it as evidence in the pending criminal investigation.
Rubenstein called the $710 bill a “disgrace.”
“In my 40 years of practicing law in this city I have never seen anything as heartless as this,” he said.
A man who identified himself as a paralegal for the law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, which was hired by the city to collect the money, said he is barred by federal law from discussing the notice with anyone but Robinson or a representative of his family.
An NYPD spokesman did not return a call or email seeking comment.
Dobbinson said her family has been dismayed from the start by the lack of respect shown by the city.
As Robinson lay brain dead in Brookdale Medical Center, cops kept him shackled to his bed under police guard.
Dobbinson said she had to get permission from the NYPD to visit her son’s bedside — and was permitted to stay for only 20 minutes.