Military and Police

NYPD Cops Turn Backs on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at Police Funeral


“Although I understand their angst and respect their right to express their discontent, I do not agree with shaming someone at a police funeral, or any funeral, for any reason.”

The NYPD estimated that approximately 25,000 folks showed up this morning to render respect to slain NYPD Police Officer Miosotis Familia who was assassinated minutes after midnight on July 5, 2017. While that horrific event unfolded and the bad guy was gunned down by responding police officers, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was holding his itinerary for an excursion to Germany. He followed through instead of remaining in the Big Apple with his grief-stricken police force and the millions of citizens it serves.

Public outcry about de Blasio’s leadership absence was palpable. Perhaps not as intense as what the rank-and-file of the NYPD felt. Many spoke out and letters contextualizing disappointment and betrayal were publicized, especially by police unions.

As a result, a “Bo for Mayor 2017” campaign received impetus it may not have bargained for. Bo Dietl is a mayoral candidate whose storied NYPD police career catapulted him to a level of notoriety, including roles in Hollywood productions. In fact, hours after today’s police funeral and reports of the de Blasio blues felt by NYPD cops, I received an email from the “Bo for Mayor” campaign manager, asking for support/donation. It arrived while PO Familia’s body was being lowered into Earth.

Publicly exhibiting disdain for their mayor at today’s funeral, NYPD cops reportedly turned their backs on de Blasio’s presence. Although I understand their angst and respect their right to express their discontent, I do not agree with shaming someone at a police funeral, or any funeral, for any reason. It leaves the appearance of sour grapes at a time and place where condolences and togetherness are paramount. Ultimately, no one is at the funeral service for him; PO Familia’s children, ailing mom, siblings and kin were the guests of honor to be … honored.

Much like NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill recognized, uplifting words, recognition of humanity with a badge, and posthumous promotion are all hallmarks to alleviate the downtrodden nature stemming from such stark circumstances.

Metaphorical desecration solves nothing and only stirs the cauldron of stewing static. Lord knows, the media stand ready to cobble such internal matters into gossipy exposés for their nonsense-hungry audience, effectively trumpeting PO Familia’s supernatural existence. A cop’s memorialization is why thousands traveled from afar to join us and why a sea of uniforms stood in unison, not to telegraph discord.

The very same thing happened to the exact same mayor in similar dire straits when two NYPD cops were slain while sitting in their RMP (radio motor patrol) car in 2014, executed mere days before Christmas. At the police funeral services, cops turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio. The media hyperbolized that one too.

I get solidarity in the face of feeling wronged as a group, but the residual fallout does nothing for broken hearts, widowed spouses, father- or motherless children, and parents whose police child was inexplicably erased.

As Police Officer Miosotis Familia’s offspring stood at the church mic, her eldest child spoke while flanked by twin siblings, saying, “I’m glad that my mom can have such an honorable send-off like this one.” Police officers from as far away as the Dominican Republic attended, and they bestowed a respectfully folded flag to the Familia family to honor her legacy and reflect how cultural heritage is never forgotten.

Indeed, it was an honorable send-off, decorated with a first-grade detective’s shield held up by Police Commissioner James O’Neill. Within the eulogy and statement O’Neill made, he wondered aloud “Where are the demonstrations?” That sparked a rise in decibel and a standing ovation. His point well-taken, his rhetorical question registering, her service made indelible … despite any or no answer to his question.

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Since age six or so, I aspired to be a NYC cop. Got close three times. Three times cancer bumped me from advancing to the NYPD Police Academy. Nevertheless, I consider it my alma mater. I know my roots run deep. So do my passions for law enforcement. In that light, we may be rubbed wrong by many — including our mayor — but I know cops anywhere can stand honorably in a time of utter loss.

Of the handful of police funerals I attended when I was a policeman, I witnessed city cops, county deputies, and state troopers hold each other up after standing at attention under the blazing sun-ball above, enveloped by ballistic vests and Class-A uniforms bound together by pounds of police duty gear. Honor endured to the point of heat exhaustion, fainting ensued, and uniforms in a variety of hues from numerous departments from across our American terrain stacked shoulder-to-shoulder. There was only one direction and that was forward at the casketed cop, flags, and somber family.

My IQ may be equivalent to patio furniture, but today I gleaned the ultimate lesson from a 12-year-old boy whose police mom was slaughtered while she jotted notes in her police log book. He had the wherewithal, dignity, composure, and compassionate bones to suggest everyone turn around and tell someone, anyone, that you love them. He reminded everyone that nothing is forever, and that the blink-of-an-eye mantra always applies. That young boy is a prodigy of posthumously-minted First Grade Detective Miosotis P. Familia whose badge #7370 was enshrined by green Earth this afternoon.

“Please, if you see a police officer in public, hug them and say ‘Thank You,’” were the words spoken by PO Familia’s sister in church, and the wished-for police/community interactions she hopes to embrace … with everyone.

Front and center, PO Familia’s children cried, hugged, smiled, and offered a globe of grace and a host of humility. Grace and humility will always prevail over adversity and crisis. Just access and watch PO Familia’s funeral service here.

Fidelis Ad Mortem. Faithful unto death, exemplified. P.O. Miosotis P. Familia, badge #7370, became a NYPD cop on July 11, 2005 and was buried as a NYPD detective exactly 12 years later on July 11, 2017. #NeverForget

Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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