Our Gramercy Park Block Association welcomes friends, neighbors, members of our NYPD family, and family and friends of fallen NYPD Police Officers.
First, thank you to the National Arts Club for helping sponsor this annual GPBA-NYPD event, and especially their team of John Eramo, John Lopez, Fran Vallone, Remi Koukou and Anthony Javier.
Special thanks to our GPBA team of Norman Kurlan, Kathleen Scupp and Alex Nguyen.
I also want to thank NYPD Employee Relations Services, as well as Blue Lives Matter NYC for their help in bringing our NYPD family together this evening.
For more than two decades our community has enjoyed a close partnership with the NYPD. In 1993, my then 15-year-old son Tim was brutally beaten by a random roving gang outside our home on Gramercy Park. As a result, the GPBA was organized to protect the safety and security of the neighborhood. Since then, the NYPD has been our most important partnership.
During the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, it was our first responders who paid the ultimate sacrifice when they raced into the buildings while thousands fled. For many months following 9/11, we organized a round-the-clock relief effort at the 13th Precinct. Since 9/11, the bonds we formed with the NYPD have become permanent and their police family has become our family. ALL the families of fallen officers have ever asked of us is to NEVER FORGET. Seventeen years later, we continue to keep that promise that we made in 2001.
In recent years at this annual GPBA event we have remembered NYPD officers who died in the previous year, including:
Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, both shot December 20, 2014 as they sat in their patrol car in Bed-Stuy. Ramos was 40 years old, married with two sons. Liu was 32 years old, and had married 2 months earlier. The Ramos and Liu families are here tonight.
Detective Brian Moore, a second-generation NYPD officer, was shot while questioning a suspect in Queens on May 2, 2015. He was 25 years old.
Det. Randolph Holder, a third-generation Police Officer from Guyana, was shot by an armed robbery suspect in East Harlem on October 20th, 2015. He was 33 years old. The Holder family is here tonight.
Det. Joseph Lemm, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD, was killed December 21, 2015 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan while serving in the New York Air National Guard. He was 45 years old.
Police Officer David Hofer was killed in an ambush on March 1st 2016 while serving in the Euless, Texas Police Department. He worked at the 9th Precinct from 2009-2014. He was 29 years old.
Police Officer Anthony Dwyer, was killed October 17, 1989, when pushed from a rooftop during a struggle with a robbery suspect. He was 23 years old. The Dwyer family is here tonight.
Detective Steven McDonald was shot July 12, 1986 by a 15-year-old while questioning him in Central Park about bicycle thefts. He was left paralyzed and a quadriplegic. He died on January 10, 2017 at the age of 59.
Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo was shot on November 4, 2016 in the Bronx as he approached an ex-con cowering in a crashed Jeep Cherokee. He was 41 years old, and left behind his wife Lisa and their two young sons. The Tuozzolo family is here tonight, and he will hear from Lisa Tuozzolo later in the program.
Tonight, we also remember:
Det. Jorge Tejada who died in September 2016, was a member in Bronx Vice Enforcement and the 34th Precinct. He left behind his wife and two young children. The Tejada family is here tonight.
Sgt. Christopher Christodoulou died of a 9/11 related cancer on September 16, 2017. He was deeply loved by all, including his fellow officers at our local 13th Precinct, who joined in embracing and supporting him during his dreadful battle with brain cancer. He was 45 years old and left behind his wife and three children. The Christodoulou family is here tonight.
Police Officer Deborah A. Garbutt-Jeff died of 9/11 related cancer on April 3, 2016 after 23 years as a cop. Her son PO Alfredo Jeff serves in the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn.
And now sadly, this evening our community and police family join together to honor the memory of another NYPD Officer who was murdered in the past year:
Det. Miosotis Familia, who was shot on July 5, 2017 in an unprovoked attack while sitting in her mobile command center in the Bronx. She was 48 years old and left behind three children. The Familia family is here tonight.
Now I'd like to introduce Detective Sgt. Joey Imperatrice, who was introduced to me by my great friend Sgt. Sharon Brooks. Sgt. Imperatrice founded Blue Lives Matter NYC in response to the murders of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December 2014. It has now become a nationwide movement to offer comfort and support to Law Enforcement Officers and their families during their times of need.
Sgt. Imperatrice's passion and dedication in supporting his family in blue is extraordinary, and I do all I can to spread his message. Toward that end, I have now organized on social media over 56 law enforcement groups around the country to share his Blue Lives Matter mission.
Now I feel privileged to introduce Sgt. Joey Imperatrice, founder and president of Blue Lives Matter NYC
Now may we please have a moment of silence to remember all brave First Responders everywhere who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We are also including this year the dozens of NYPD Officers who have died of 9/11 related illnesses. This will be followed by a slideshow remembering NYPD Officers who have died since December 2014, when we began remembering fallen officers with Blue Lives Matter NYC. And now, for a moment of silence.
And now to the NYPD, both active and retired, who are here tonight, we want you to know that every day you come to work and put your lives on the line to keep us safe, we support you and are deeply grateful to you. We can think of no other job where you wear bulletproof vests and your families wonder whether you are coming home at night. When you are not safe, we are not safe. When you are in danger, we are in danger. We want to thank you, applaud you, and tell you that you will always be our heroes. Let's applaud them.
We want to thank everyone here tonight for joining us, and honoring these officers who paid the ultimate price. A hero remembered never dies.