NEW YORK (AP) — The mayor called on residents to do their part to protect police as he eulogized an officer ambushed and killed in a parked police vehicle, a woman he said represented the American dream.
“We’ve watched with horror these attacks on our police here in New York City and all around our country. It sickens us, and we know they cannot be tolerated, and we know they must end,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at Officer Miosotis Familia’s funeral.
“But in fact,” he added, “we must end it. It’s not a one-way street, my friends. We must help our police in every way, just as we ask them to help us in our moment of need. … They need us to be their eyes and ears. They need our solidarity and support.”
The Democratic mayor’s remarks came after he faced complaints from critics — including President Donald Trump — for spending the weekend with world leaders in Germany as his city grappled with Familia’s death, which happened early on July 5. De Blasio attended Monday’s wake.
A sea of police in blue uniforms filled a landmark Bronx movie theater and the street outside to pay tribute to Familia, a 12-year officer, former health care worker and mother of three. A child of immigrants who was the first person in her family to go to college, she had always wanted to be a city police officer, the mayor said.
“She embodied the American dream” and “a beautiful New York City story,” de Blasio said, calling Familia a hero who “lived life the right way.”
Familia, 48, was in an RV-like command post stationed in a crime-ridden Bronx precinct early Wednesday when 34-year-old Alexander Bonds walked up to the vehicle and fired once through the passenger window, striking Familia in the head. Bonds ran from the scene but police caught up to him and opened fire, killing him after they said he turned the gun on them. Bonds had sought psychiatric care just days earlier.
An ex-convict, he had railed about police and prison officers in a Facebook video last fall.
Familia’s commanding officer, Inspector Philip Rivera, on Monday called her “a true asset to this department, to this city, a beautiful person inside and out, a loving mother, loving to her co-workers, always had a smile and a few kind words for everybody.”
Bronx resident Bill Simpson, 56, never met her, but felt the need to mourn the loss.
“It hurt everybody. All of us feel it,” he said.
After joining the NYPD in 2005, Familia worked her entire career in the Bronx precinct where she was killed.
She has a 20-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. She also was caring for her 86-year-old mother.
Familia is the first female officer to die in the line of duty since 9/11.
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