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NYPD Defends Perp and Tickets Cyclists After Garbage Truck Driver Kills Neftaly Ramirez and Flees Scene

Franklin Street in Greenpoint, where a hit-and-run driver killed Neftaly Ramirez, gets a lot of bicycle traffic but provides no protection for people on bikes. Video still: WCBS

Early Saturday morning a driver believed to be operating a private sanitation truck struck and killed Neftaly Ramirez, 27, as he biked on Franklin Street in Greenpoint. The driver fled the scene and has yet to be apprehended. Nevertheless, NYPD defended the perpetrator in the press and the 94th Precinct was out ticketing people on bikes hours after the collision.

Neftaly Ramirez
Neftaly Ramirez
Neftaly Ramirez

Police said Ramirez was riding on Franklin Street near Noble Street when he was hit by the driver, who was southbound on Franklin, at around 12:30 a.m. Ramirez died at the scene.

Franklin Avenue is a neighborhood commercial street and a link between the Kent Avenue protected bike lane and the Pulaski Bridge. Despite the high volume of bike traffic, it only has sharrows -- stencils that offer no protection.

“The trucks -- you hear them all night long, they just fly down the street,” a local resident told CBS.

A friend of Ramirez told the Daily News he was headed home to the Lower East Side from his job at a pizzeria.

“He was a good, hard-working person,” the pal said, adding he was loved animals and video games. “They need to find the person that hit him.”

Police gave inconsistent descriptions of the truck, which they don’t think was a city vehicle. Private trash haulers are known to have a high rate of fatal collisions per mile driven.

So did police launch a safety initiative focusing on an industry proven to pose an outsized public safety hazard? Nope. By Saturday afternoon officers with the 94th Precinct were out ticketing cyclists:

Punishing potential victims after a driver kills a cyclist is routine for NYPD, but the department has never provided any evidence that this tactic makes anyone safer.

No arrests were made as of this morning. In the meantime, NYPD made excuses for the person who killed Ramirez.

“Cops … said it’s possible the driver didn’t realize the truck hit a person,” the News reported.

“It was unclear Saturday morning whether the driver knew he that he had struck the bicyclist,” said the Post.

Due in part to flaws in state law that legislators have failed to fix, New York drivers who flee the scene of a fatal crash often avoid charges simply by claiming they were unaware they ran someone over. It is not unusual for NYPD to give a preemptive defense in the press while a hit-and-run killer remains at large.

Neftaly Ramirez was killed in Brooklyn Community District 1, where the community board is skeptical of bike lanes, and in the City Council district represented by Steve Levin.

Also this weekend, an MTA bus driver killed pedestrian Kevin Zeng, 25, on Union Turnpike in Queens on Friday evening. Police and the press blamed the victim. And on Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn a motorist in a BMW SUV ran over 18-year-old Alejandro Tello, killing him, and fled the scene.

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