Driver Who Killed Man While Fleeing NYPD Pleads to Manslaughter
A driver who killed a man on a Brooklyn sidewalk while attempting to evade police pled guilty to manslaughter.
Police pulled Raymond Ramos over at Sterling Place and Schenectady Avenue in Crown Heights shortly after midnight on March 9, 2015. As officers approached his car, Ramos, then 18, drove off.
The Post and DNAinfo reported that police chased Ramos before he hit a second vehicle at Nostrand Avenue and St. Johns Place, about a mile away from the traffic stop. The impact sent both vehicles onto the sidewalk, fatally striking 21-year-old Dave Jones.
Photos published by the Daily News show both vehicles heavily damaged and overturned in front of a neighborhood shop, next to a shattered bus shelter. Three other vehicle occupants were reported injured.
NYPD and District Attorney Ken Thompson charged Ramos with manslaughter, two counts of assault, homicide, reckless endangerment, fleeing police, reckless driving, unlicensed driving, speeding, and other traffic infractions. On May 31, Ramos pled guilty to manslaughter, the top charge against him, according to court records.
It was never clear how much NYPD’s pursuit contributed to the crash.
NYPD policy says police must terminate vehicular pursuits “whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community.” When Streetsblog asked Mayor de Blasio’s office if NYPD was investigating whether the police who stopped Ramos followed department protocol, we received a one-sentence, generic response: “The Crash Investigation Squad is conducting a full investigation.”
Video posted to YouTube last Friday shows a police cruiser ram a suspect’s vehicle and a traffic signal pole on Fort Hamilton Parkway as a woman with a stroller and another pedestrian scramble to safety. On Tuesday, cops chased a driver through Riverside Park, “barely missing a large school picnic,” the Daily News reported.
In the Vision Zero era, de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have shown no interest in reforming NYPD vehicular pursuit policy. NYPD is the only city agency that does not report how many crashes its employees are involved in, and the public has no way of knowing the attendant toll in property damage, injuries, and deaths.
Raymond Ramos is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. Manslaughter is a class C felony with penalties ranging from probation to 15 years in prison.