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NYC police officer dies, 8 hurt in van crash

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[September 22, 2014]  (Reuters) - A New York City police officer died, and eight others were injured when their van crashed into a barrier in the Bronx on Sunday morning, police said.

Michael Williams, 25, was thrown through a back window of the police van after it hit a barrier around 5 a.m. local time (0900 GMT) and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, the New York Police Department said in a statement.

The eight other officers in the van were also hurt, though none of their injuries were life-threatening, police said. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

"Today we mourn the loss of one of the finest and pray for the speedy recovery of those officers injured this morning in a vehicle accident," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in the statement.

The New York Times reported that Williams, a rookie at the department, and the other officers were traveling from a violence-plagued section of the Bronx to patrol a massive climate change demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of New York City.

The department's Collision Investigation Squad was probing the accident, police said.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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