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Family Of Paralyzed Teen Calls For Criminal Investigation Of NYPD-Involved Crash

NYPD Cruiser/file (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NYPD Cruiser/file (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of a Bronx teenager left paralyzed and unable to speak following a collision with an NYPD patrol car has called for a criminal investigation into the incident.

WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reports


Natalie Cuevas, 17, said the incident has robbed her of her twin brother.

“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,” Natalie told reporters, including WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond.

Leonel Cuevas was riding on a dirt bike that collided with a patrol car on Walton Avenue on Oct. 27. The driver of the bike was killed.

Police said the officer was cut off, but Cuevas family attorney Sanford Rubenstein said a witness saw the officer deliberately ram the bike with her patrol car.

“The question has to be asked what really happened here?” Rubenstein said. “Was the police car being operated recklessly? Was this a manslaughter?”

Rubenstein has called for the Bronx District Attorney to open a criminal investigation into the case.

The family has not filed a lawsuit in the case, but have asked for witnesses who saw the incident to come forward.

“When we look at Leonel, we don’t see the same kid he was before. This tragedy has caused damage physically and emotionally to my whole entire family,” Natalie said.

The victim is a cousin of Reynaldo Cuevas, a bodega worker who was shot and killed in September by a police officer in the Bronx during a botched robbery.

The officer involved in the incident remains on active duty while the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau investigates, police said.

In a separate incident in August, a motorcyclist was killed when he was hit by a police cruiser from behind in the Bronx.

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