Racial Profiling Alleged in Trial of Staten Island Hit-and-Run Suspect

Sam Goldsmith and Alison Gendar, New York Daily News, February 16, 2009

The hit-and-run driver accused of killing a Staten Island couple is not a reckless motorist but rather the victim of racial profiling, his lawyer stunningly claimed Monday.

Theodore Ricks, 24, had no license when cops say he slammed into a livery car early Saturday, killing the driver and his wife before speeding away.

Ricks, who callously told cops the couple should have been wearing their seat belts, was on the road despite his license having been suspended or revoked nearly two dozen times since 2005, records show.

His lawyer Manuel Ortega said Ricks and his passenger were being tailed by cops.

“They were doing nothing wrong. They were just driving on the road. It raises a serious question why two black men in a Mercedes were stopped,” he argued.

Police deny any chase and instead say Ricks saw cops along Cebra Ave. and floored his 1993 Mercedes-Benz, possibly because he was driving without a license and his passenger was carrying marijuana.

Ricks ran a red light and plowed into 50-year-old Mohamed Elnahal’s cab, killing him and his wife, Mervat Saad Ibrahim, 52, police said. Their twin 13-year-old boys, Kareem and Omar, were left orphans.

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