NYPD Tickets Cyclists Where Speeding Driver Killed 14-Year-Old Edwin Ajacalon

The past two mornings, police in the 72nd Precinct were ticketing cyclists on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, two blocks from the site of the fatal crash.

Video still via WCBS
Video still via WCBS

For the past two days, police have been ticketing cyclists on Fifth Avenue and 25th Street in Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct, just two blocks from where a driver killed 14-year-old Edwin Ajacalon on Saturday.

It’s the same rote protocol NYPD follows after every cyclist fatality: ticket people who are vulnerable to the same type of harm that caused the crash. Similar ticket blitzes followed the deaths of Neftaly RamirezDan HanegbyKelly HurleyLauren Davis, and Matthew von Ohlen. Despite the absence of any data to suggest these bike stings reduce injuries or fatalities, NYPD insists there’s a “strategy” behind them.

Ajacalon, who worked as a delivery cyclist in the area, was riding a bike with an electric battery across 23rd Street at around 5:45 p.m. when he was struck by a 19-year-old male driving a 2017 BMW southbound on Fifth Avenue. Video footage suggests the driver had a green light but also shows him traveling at a high rate of speed entering the intersection.

Joelle Schindler, who commutes to along Fifth Avenue from her home in Park Slope, observed police ticketing cyclists at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street at around 9:45 a.m. yesterday and today. She did not stop to see what police were citing people for, but said officers had pulled over multiple cyclists when she rode by the intersection this morning.

It was striking to see that police response so close to the site where a driver ended Ajacalon’s life, she said. “That ghost bike is now on my commute to work, which is really heartbreaking.”

Video posted by the Daily News and WCBS shows the driver striking Ajacalon at high speed. The 72nd Precinct had ticketed fewer than two drivers per day for speeding as of August, the latest month of available NYPD summons data.

Meanwhile, the 72nd Precinct has bragged on its Twitter feed about confiscating electric bicycles, despite no evidence that they post a public safety threat.

The commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct is Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez, and the precinct community council holds meetings open to the public on the second Tuesday of every month. The next meeting is scheduled for December 12, 7:30 p.m., at the precinct house at 830 Fourth Avenue.

Transportation Alternatives has a petition to demand NYPD stop ticketing cyclists after fatal crashes. So far 931 people have signed.

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