Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise will not resign from office despite calls to do so after CCTV footage released by the city shows she struck a cyclist at an intersection without stopping afterwards.
Her spokesman, Phil Swibinski, told the New Jersey Globe that she “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 said.
A rally to call for DeGise’s resignation is set to be held tomorrow on the block of Newark Avenue at Bay Street in Downtown at 3 p.m..
The footage, which was provided to the Hudson Reporter by the city earlier this week, shows the incident taking place on the intersection of MLK Drive and Forrest Street at around 8 a.m. on July 19.
The videos capture a cyclist traveling south on MLK Drive at around the 50 second mark, crossing a double yellow line to pass a stopped car on the left, running a red light and looking away from oncoming traffic before being hit by a black SUV from his right.
The impact knocked him over onto the road, but the vehicle continued to speed east without stopping.
The cyclist then makes his way to the corner as a number of pedestrians come over to check on him before resting on top of an ice cooler, and his crushed bike is on the other corner.
Multiple news outlets identified the cyclist as Andrew Black, who told HudPost in an interview that was on his way to pick up an UberEats delivery, and claimed that he had the right-of-way at the time of the incident.
DeGise then waited six hours before reporting the incident at the Jersey City Police Department’s West District precinct, according to footage obtained by the Jersey Journal.
The councilwoman had admitted her involvement in the incident last week, saying that she was “thankful that no one was seriously hurt” and that she was issued traffic summons, but has not made any other comments on it herself since the incident. Swibinski told the Globe that she “fully intends to speak out more when the legal process is concluded.”
Calls for resignation grow
DeGise was elected last year as an at-large councilwoman on Mayor Steven Fulop’s slate in the City Council elections, unseating then-Councilman Rolando Lavarro after he had run as an independent and was no longer an ally to Fulop.
She was also the chairwoman of the powerful Hudson County Democratic Organization for four years until a few months ago, and is the daughter of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.
Fulop said in an interview with NJ Spotlight News that one should “never” leave the scene of a crash, and that he supported the release of the CCTV footage.
“She should certainly not have left the scene of that crash,” he continued. “That was a tremendous mistake she made. I’m happy she took some responsibility for that, although it doesn’t correct what she did.”
Since footage of the incident was publicized, DeGise has faced multiple calls to resign from her seat, including Black, who told the Jersey Journal that he’s considering suing DeGise.
Councilmen James Solomon and Frank Gilmore in particular have also made calls for DeGise’s resignation, with the former calling the video “horrifying” and said that she should either resign or face a recall election.
“Leaving the scene of a crash is illegal,” he said in a statement. “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 Council member DeGise is entitled to forgiveness and her day in court, both should come as a private citizen.”
SafeStreetsJC and BikeJC, who had previously called on authorities to release footage of the incident, have also called on DeGise to resign.
“Given this criminal behavior and blatant disregard for the health and well-being of her constituents as well as the damage to the credibility of her office, we believe Councilwoman DeGise has demonstrated herself unfit for the office she serves,” they said in a joint statement.
As calls for her resignation grow, former Councilman Chris Gadsden, who placed fourth in the at-large City Council elections last year, also told the Jersey Journal that he is interested in running for her seat.