Officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, both in their 20s, were shot after meeting someone with a gun last weekend after responding to a 911 call about a domestic incident in the Harlem borough of New York City.
As the city mourned the lives of two officers, officials emphasized the passion they brought to their work.
“Agent Mora and his partner, Agent Jason Rivera, showed courage in the face of imminent danger to protect New Yorkers,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Their courage was an example of their commitment to protecting the city they loved. Both will be forever remembered as heroes who dedicated their lives to making New York safer and stronger.”
“He was self-conscious, mature beyond his years,” Voulgarides told DailyExpertNews. “(Rivera) cared so much about others, appreciated what he had and just radiated this positivity that was such a strength in our community.”
Mora “will live on from this day on in the heart of every police officer in New York City,” said Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, adding that the officer “showed us what it means to carry out our mission with courage, skill and humanity.”
New York City’s Plan to Fight Gun Violence
The officers will patrol unmarked vehicles while wearing clothing identifying officers as law enforcement officers, Adams announced Monday, adding that the new unit will complement those who have been on the streets since August, who patrol unmarked vehicles as they police. wear uniforms.
For years, some critics have ridiculed plainclothes units as counterproductive, claiming they were a holdover from the stop-and-frisk era of policing, used instead as a clubbing tool that more negatively affected black and brown communities.
In an undated letter Rivera wrote to his commander, he recalled seeing his brother stop and searched by the police.
“I asked myself, why do we get pulled over when we’re in a taxi? I was too young to know that the New York Police Department at the time was rapidly stopping and frisking people,” he wrote, noting his perception on. that police work bothered him.
He later said he heard the department was beginning to try to change its interactions with the community.
“This was when I realized I wanted to be part of the men in blue, to improve the relationship between the community and the police,” Rivera wrote. “I come from an immigrant family and I will be the first to say that I am a member of the NYPD, the largest police force in the world.”
The shooting happened when officers responded to a domestic call around 6:15 p.m. Friday, officials said.
A woman called 911 and reported she had a dispute with one of her sons in her apartment, police said. Three NYPD officers arrived and met the mother and another son, who led two of the officers to a room at the back of the apartment.
The other son, the suspect, was waiting and when the door swung open, shots were fired, hitting both officers. The suspect, identified as 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil, was shot and killed by a third officer as he tried to escape.
Rivera and Mora became the fourth and fifth NYPD officers to be shot this month, but the only two to die.
Mayor’s anti-weapons plan criticized
More specifically, the plan will also target the 30 districts where 80% of the violence takes place, Adams said.
The mayor also wants to curb the flow of guns into the city after officials pointed out that the gun used in Friday’s shooting was a Glock 45 stolen from Baltimore.
Although the mayor’s plan has been praised by some advocacy groups, his desire to restore civilian clothing units has met with some criticism.
On Monday, the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders and The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and Queens Defenders joined forces to speak out against the return of the unit.
“Today’s announcement is not comforting to community members living with the legacy of hyper-aggressive policing that Mayor Adams’ Anti-Crime Unit will be different from its predecessors,” the groups said in a joint statement. “The mayor needs to focus on addressing long-standing problems with the NYPD’s culture of impunity before doubling down on strategies that only perpetuate the damage of that culture.”
Still, the mayor defended the police’s approach, saying his team did the right analysis “and we’re going to use it now.”
Adams noted that he had asked the five New York City prosecutors to prioritize gun violence and gun-related crimes. He also proposed a weekly meeting between all prosecutors, the NYPD commissioner and the deputy mayor of public safety.
Mark Morales, Eric Levenson, Shimon Prokupecz, Dakin Andone, Theresa Waldrop, Rob Frehse, Brynn Gingras, Travis Caldwell and Emma Tucker and Laura Ly of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.