A 22-year-old police officer is dead after being shot during a domestic violence call in Harlem Friday night, and emotional NYPD leaders said the whole city should now be in mourning for his loss.
Officer Jason Rivera was identified by police as the officer who was killed. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell described him as a "son, husband, officer and friend" as she addressed members of the NYPD at Harlem Hospital.
(For an exclusive interview with the Rivera family in Spanish from Telemundo 47, click here.)
Rivera was assigned to the 32nd Precinct, headquartered on the same block as the shooting, which took place at 119 W. 135th Street, less than a quarter-mile away.
Rivera's body was transported from the hospital later Friday evening to the medical examiner's office, given a full escort by a long line of police vehicles. Fellow officers lined the streets to bid farewell to their fallen comrade.
The NY Police and Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, said it would provide his widow an immediate $25,000 and raise funds to keep providing her that stipend annually for life.
While at the Police Academy, Rivera wrote an earnest letter to his commanding officer about why he became a cop. News 4 New York obtained a copy of that letter, below:
When I applied to become a police officer, I knew this was the career for me. I would be the first person in my family to become a police officer. Coming from an immigrant family, I will be the first to say that I am a member of the NYPD, the greatest police force in the world. Growing up in New York City, I realized impactful my role as a police officer would go in this chaotic city of about 10 million people. I know that somethings so small is helping a tourist with directions, or helping a couple resolve an issue will put a smile on someone’s face.
growing up in Inwood, Manhattan, the communities relationship between the police and the community was not great. I remember one day when I witnessed my brother being stopped and frisked. I ask myself why are we being pulled over if we are in a taxi? I was too young to know that during that time, the NYPD was pulling over and risking people at a higher rate. My perspective on police and the way they police really bothered me. As time went on I saw the NYPD pushing hard on changing the relationship between the police and the community. this was when I realized that I wanted to be part of the men in blue; better the relationship between the community and the police.