New York Daily News

July 13, 2002

Escapee Arrested Near L.A.

Daily News Staff Writer

Drug suspect Jaime Ramirez got as far away as he could after bolting from police custody in Brooklyn last Saturday — but it wasn't far enough.

California cops arrested Ramirez yesterday while he was watching television at a cousin's house in Riverside, 50 miles east of Los Angeles.

A spokesman for the Riverside Police Department said the 19-year-old surrendered quietly to a "fugitive apprehension squad," but gave no further details.

It was unclear how Ramirez got to California after escaping with his hands cuffed behind him.

He vanished in a subway station after kicking his way out of a police van near the 88th Precinct stationhouse, where he was being taken for fingerprinting after he was busted for possession of marijuana.

Ramirez's arrest leaves two of 21 suspects who have escaped this year from authorities still at large.

War of Words

The escapes, up slightly over last year, have drawn the ire of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who suspended three officers involved in recent cases.

But Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch accused Kelly yesterday of unfairly blaming the cops, contending the real problems are inadequate equipment and insufficient manpower.

"To blame the individual police officers is scapegoating," Lynch said.

The proper way to reduce escapes, Lynch said, was to purchase better restraints and vehicles, and deploy enough cops to guard groups of suspects.

Lynch accused Kelly of acting like "the dean of discipline of a high school."

Asked later about that remark, Kelly responded, "it's a serious issue, and discipline is part of my role."