The controversial ticketing of cyclists by the New York Police Department (NYPD) has taken a bizarre new twist with an officer resigning after it emerged he had written a ticket out to a rider who does not exist.
The officer, Varon Shepard, aged 49, then billed the NYPD for four hours’ overtime, reports the New York Post.
He has written out a ticket in the name of one ‘Carlos Dejuses’ but no person of that name was found at the address Shepard had entered.
Moreover, the time of the ticket was given as 11am on 25 February – even though his supervisor saw him inside the 17th Precinct station house until 12.45pm that day.
Appearing at Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday, Shepard pleaded guilty to filing a false instrument.
He was given a conditional discharge – the condition being that he resign from the force.
Recent months have seen the NYPD and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio come under attack from cycling campaigners by responding to the deaths of cyclists there by issuing fines to bike riders in the days following the fatality and at the same location.
As part of those crackdowns, tickets have even been issued to cyclists for non-existent offences – such as not wearing a helmet, which are not compulsory in the state other than for children aged 13 and under.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.