Howard Safir, Former New York Police Commissioner, in hit-and-run accident

The Times is reporting that Howard Safir, who served as New York City Police Commissioner from 1996 to 2000, drove away after backing his late model Escalade into a pregnant Bronx woman on the Upper East Side Friday. Safir was tracked down through his license number.

Police from the 19th Precinct say that Safir will not be charged, since he says he didn't know he hit Joanne Valarezo. She says differently. According to Valarezo, she confronted the driver, who she told reporters she didn't recognize, in the wake of the accident and told him she was pregnant before he drove away. She was treated at Cornell Medical Center for a bruised shoulder and released. The child wasn't hurt.

Safir became a national crime-control celebrity during his tenure as Mayor Giuliani's chief cop, but some locals questioned his strict commitment to the rule of law, at least where the actions of police officers were concerned. Ironically, convicted felon Bernie Kerik, who succeeded him, was widely seen as improving race relations in the city following Safir's tenure.


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