July 2017 Hero of the Month: Miosotis Familia, NYPD
Black Lives Matter. While I get the point and agree with the basic sentiment, like many other movements, it has been hijacked by the extremists. Killing police officers seems to have become part of their narrative and not everyone has rushed to denounce it.
Words can kill because they serve as a justification for some to take the law into their own hands. We have seen it in Russia, Venezuela, and many other countries that are slowly disintegrating. And we have seen it here: over a dozen officers now assassinated in the last year.
After watching these killings unfold, I finally decided to put a “Blue Lives Matters” symbol on my car because their lives matter to me. I would be happier if everyone traded in all of the black or blue for a symbol that all lives matter. Until that day comes, I feel the need to honor the sacrifices of the slain officers and those still serving by standing up for their safety and security. They do so much to keep us safe.
I am not defending those officers that have killed people under either questionable or certifiably unprovoked situations. No profession and no group of people is all bad or conversely all good. But the notion that randomly killing officers will make this a better world is absurd. Similarly, the blanket characterization of all law enforcement officers as racist is outrageous.
But that rhetoric encouraged Alexander Bond, a black man, to kill Miosotis Familia, a black NYPD officer.
On the morning of July 5th, while serving on the “graveyard shift” in a tough neighborhood in the Bronx, she was senselessly gunned down by Bond, who had a long criminal record and repeated episodes of severe mental instability.
The assassin had previously threatened cops in a series of menacing social media rants and nobody tried to do anything pro-active to prevent his threats from becoming a reality. In the world we live in today there are many seriously disturbed individuals who wander the streets of our communities like ticking time bombs. Because of the way our politicians and advocacy groups have mismanaged the mental health crisis over the last four decades, is extremely difficult and expensive if not impossible to address these dangers in a way that gets such people off our streets before they hurt, maim or kill good people.
Officer Familia was a very special person. I wish I had had the opportunity to know her. She was a 48 year old single mother of three children who also was the primary caregiver for her elderly mother. Because of exceptional parenting and sacrifice, her oldest daughter was attending college classes in London England when she was killed. Her youngest are 12 year old twins. It is hard to imagine who can fill that void in their lives.
Before joining the force, she spent five years as a patient care assistant at New York University Hospital and another two years as a medical assistant for the American Red Cross. While holding down those jobs she also attended college classes in applied sciences and psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The night she was killed, Officer Familia was sitting in a mobile command center truck that had been brought into a particularly tough Bronx community long plagued by gang violence. She had only been working the night shift there for three weeks to free up more time to be with her children during the summer months. She was the third NYPD female officer to die in a combat-related incident.
Miosotis was born of Dominican parents in the Bronx and still lived in that community when she died. She had spent her entire 12 year career patrolling in the Bronx. She was also a proud member of the NYPD’s Dominican Officers Association, whose president, Raysa Galvez, recalled her as a role model who never turned her back on anyone in need. “There is not a single negative thing that anyone can say about her.”
According to residents of her patrol neighborhood, she was the perfect balance of a friendly, kind and yet tough police officer. She even stayed on in the department after suffering an injury that caused extensive leg damage because she told her family she wasn’t ready to retire.
Several funds have been set up for her family, including the following: the Miosotis Family Fund at www.nydn.us/FamiliaFund. Please consider a donation. As we learned from 9/11, it is important to honor the heroism of our first responders, but it is equally important to support their families after such a devastating loss.
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Sadly, as I was preparing this tribute, a preliminary hearing was being held in a case involving a San Diego motorist who tried to kill a 28 year veteran of the Carlsbad police department, Officer Brad Hunter. I am adding the article below from the San Diego Union Tribune, written by U-T reporter Teri Figueroa, about that case. Fortunately, Officer Hunter survived, but he is now confined to a wheelchair.
Driver Sped Up and Slammed into Oceanside Officer, Witnesses Say
By TERI FIGUEROA, Union- Tribune Reporter
Michael Patton heard the impact — metal on metal — outside his driver’s side window as he rifled through his wallet to find his license.
He looked up and saw the Oceanside police officer, a 28-year department veteran, who had been standing at his driver’s window. But now, he was airborne.
“It was absolutely shocking and horrific,” Patton said Thursday before a packed Vista, Calif., courtroom.
His testimony came during the first few hours of a preliminary hearing for the suspected San Marcos gang member who authorities say intentionally rammed a Dodge Neon into the veteran motorcycle officer during an unrelated traffic stop June 19.
Robert Flores, 26, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of a police officer, as well as assault on a police officer.
Police say Flores was driving along when he spotted the officer and decided to plow into him, solely because he was a policeman. The impact launched Brad Hunter, 49, perhaps 25 feet into the air before he landed in the middle of the street.
The Dodge raced away and witnesses ran to the officer, who was breathing but unresponsive.
Another witness, Toni Lessard, said she was a passenger in the car behind the Neon, and they were at a stoplight, headed south. When the light turned green and the Neon crossed through the intersection, she saw it veer off and speed toward Hunter.
“It was slow, then he floored it, just floored it,” Lessard said.
Hunter, who was placed in a medically induced coma after the crash, testified Thursday that he does not remember the crash — or anything else from that morning. Last he could recall beforehand was preparing his uniform for work the night before.
Hunter said the crash broke his right leg. He has had multiple surgeries, has a titanium pole in his leg and remains in pain.
Flores was arrested within 30 minutes of the crash, authorities said, after he had ditched the car and he and a passenger ran away. When police found the car, the windshield was broken and Hunter’s police radio was impaled in it.
Flores remains jailed in lieu of more than $5 million bail.
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Postscript: Penny Noonan devoted her weekend column on July 15, 2017, in the Wall Street Journal to “sacrifice” and Miosotis Familia’s death. Here is what she said:
“The radicalism and rage of the Black Lives Matter movement, coupled with a national media too often willing to paint the police, in any given incident, as guilty until proven innocent sets the mood that both excites and inspires the unsteady and the unstable. We are not paying enough attention to what is happening to the police throughout the country . . . The number of officers killed in the line of duty is up 30% for the 12 months ending June 30 . . . it should be a major, sustained national story when cops are killed for being cops.”
Officer Miosotis Familia’s sister and children mourn at her funeral service.
(Photo by The Wall Street Journal).