Two Jersey City Council members have called on fellow council member Amy DeGise to step down after city officials published the hit-and-run video of DeGise hitting a bicyclist with her SUV last week. Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore, both critics of the administration of the city, spoke out hours after the video showed DeGise failed to even slow down after hitting bicyclist Andrew Black at the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Forrest Street around 8 a.m. on July 19.
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The impact knocked the bicyclist into the road, but the vehicle continued to drive east without stopping. The video also shows that Black ran the red light at the intersection, contradicting what he told police in the accident report and what he stated in an interview.
“I am horrified by the video showing Councilmember DeGise’s hit and run crash,” Solomon declared in a statement. “Leaving the scene of a crash is illegal. Doing so demonstrated a callous disregard for the life and health of the victim she hit. Public servants must be held to a higher standard.
“While Councilmember DeGise is entitled to forgiveness and her day in court, both should come as a private citizen. She should resign. If she fails to do so, she should be recalled.”
In his last interview, Gilmore stated “I think all things considered, after seeing everything, I think she should resign. Because to hit someone is one thing, that’s an accident, but to have blatant disregard for an individual in an injured state by not stopping and not reporting and not rendering assistance, I think that’s conduct unbecoming of an elected official.”
“For me it was pretty painful to watch. The rendering help part really resonated with me because anything could have happened after that juncture. I think that the video is very telling … that was a very disturbing video.”
Black sustained minor injuries and in an interview with HudPost.com published recently, said he was still in pain and traumatized by the incident.
Phil Swibinski, who is a spokesperson for DeGise, told the New Jersey Globe that Ms. Degise “plans to complete her full term and continue in public service.”
“Councilwoman DeGise was elected overwhelmingly just a few months ago and she has no intention of walking away from the commitment she made to serve the people of Jersey City,” he continued.
DeGise, a member of the general council, was cited for failing to report an accident. Her first court date is scheduled for Jersey City Municipal Court on Aug. 15, though the case is likely to be moved out of the city and probably out of Hudson County, since her father, Tom DeGise, is the county executive.
A Change.org petition created a few days ago demanding DeGise’s resignation has already amassed a few hundreds of signatures.
DeGise, a former school board member and former president of the powerful Hudson County Democratic Organization, was first elected to the City Council in November on the ticket of Mayor Steve Fulop.
Photo: YouTube screencap