It’s been “a roller-coaster” of grieving emotions this past year for Maritza Ramos, widow of slain NYPD Det. Rafael Ramos.
Ramos, 40, and his partner, Wenjian Liu, 32, were sitting in a police cruiser Dec. 20, 2014, when the were shot dead by a lone gunman — assassinations that occurred as the nation roiled in anti-police-brutality protests.
“You take it one day at a time and they are not all good days. I pretty much try to think positive,” said Ramos, who will launch The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation next month in hopes of raising $150,000 for educational programs that will promote the value and service police give to the city, especially in poor and minority neighborhoods.
“I know this is what my husband would want me to do . . . to push to do something positive and have a purpose,” said Ramos, who spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time about her personal loss.
Ramos said at her lawyer’s midtown Manhattan office she wants the foundation to help create a legacy for her husband of 22 years and to have people remember that he “was a family man who loved the Lord and wanted to be a better person.” Ramos left behind two sons, Jayden, now 15, and Justin, 20.
Ramos’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, said the foundation will set up school programs where “police officers go into the classrooms and have a positive exchange and create a first impression that will hold police in high esteem.”
The foundation also will raise money to provide financial assistance and scholarships for families who lost spouses in the line of duty, Aidala said.
“We need to show our officers that we love and support them,” Ramos said. “They do this because they love the job.”
In the days preceding the killings of her husband and Liu, Ramos said she and her husband discussed the anti-police climate across the nation. A wave of protests were triggered after grand juries declined to indict police officers connected to the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, who died of an apparent illegal choke hold by NYPD police; and of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, who was unarmed when shot.
“It was hard, very hard, and he was really sad that police officers would have to leave their families while so many people didn’t appreciate it. He said he wished that it could be different,” Ramos said.
Lone gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot Ramos and Liu. He posted on social media that he was out to kill a police officer. Brinsley fired four shots into the cruiser’s passenger window, killing the two in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He then shot himself.
Sunday, Ramos and her sons will visit for the first time the site where her husband was killed. “I don’t want to go, but I feel that I have to,” she said. She will lay flowers and then attend ceremony unveiling a memorial plaque at the nearby 84th Precinct.