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The Most Important Thing the Rikers Commissioner Can Be Doing Right Now Is Putting on Spandex and Taking a Long Mid-Week Bike Trip

And more totally normal news to start your weekend.

9:48 AM EDT on May 12, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams on a tour of Rikers Island with Department of Corrections Commissioner Louis Molina in July, 2022. (City Hall)

You would think Louis A. Molina is a busy guy. As the commissioner of the Department of Correction, overseeing New York City's deadly, chaotic jail system, Molina has a lot on his plate—fighting against efforts to initiate a federal takeover of his jails, pushing more restrictive measures on people in his custody, trying to get more of his guards to actually show up for work.

Yet this week he was…riding a bike to Washington, D.C.?

Molina appears to be on something called the Police Unity Tour (tagline: "We Ride Because They Died"), a three-day spectacle in which cops from across the United States ride across the Northeast in custom jerseys and garish "thin blue line" helmet covers, stopping at places where officers died in the line of duty, in an obsequious and excessive ritual that seems more related to projecting political power than solemn remembrance.

Okay, sure, but is every dangerous profession allowed to do this? Can the City's Sanitation workers, for example, take three days off to mourn their fallen colleagues? How about the city's construction workers or cab drivers? These are all more dangerous occupations than being a police officer, but who would ever even imagine them taking part in a massive, days-long ceremonies like the Police Unity Tour, decked out in custom gear and demanding attention from an entire region of the country?

Maybe Commissioner Molina is using his bike ride to remember the preventable deaths that he has presided over during his tenure. And maybe he'll come up with a way to stop them by the time he hits Wilmington.

After this story was published, DOC Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Frank Dwyer responded to our earlier requests for comment saying, "Commissioner Molina is ALWAYS in contact with his leadership team and has been in contact throughout this important event honoring our fallen members."

Updated (5/12/23, 12:12 p.m.): This story has been updated with a response from the Department of Correction.

Updated (5/12/23, 12:52 p.m.): An earlier version of this story paraphrased a DOC comment on the story. The DOC objected to this paraphrase, so we are including the original language.

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