A slain NYPD officer from Massapequa was honored Saturday in a ceremony during which participants subtly and not so subtly rebuked nationwide demonstrations against police abuse that have at times turned more broadly hostile toward law enforcement officers in general.
Two weeks to the day that an ex-convict allegedly gunned down NYPD Officer Brian Moore in Queens Village, about 100 people gathered at Tribute Triangle Park, near Union Turnpike and 75th Avenue in Glen Oaks to pay tribute to the 25-year-old.
"Together, shoulder to shoulder, we stand and reject the anti-cop sentiment that seems so prevalent today, and perpetuated by reckless individuals and even some politicians who put our police officers and our communities at risk," said Robert Friedrich, president of the Glen Oaks Village Owners co-op, a sponsor of Saturday's ceremony. He added: "Our community does not bring rocks and bottles. Instead, our community brings ribbons and candles."
An occupational therapist from a local public school wore a T-shirt that read: "Thank You. This Teacher Supports Our Cops!!" She declined to give her name.
The names of 19 officers who were killed or died from line-of-duty causes since 2010 were read. A single bell tolled after each one.
Joseph Concannon of the Queens Village Republican Club, who helped organize counter-demonstrations in the aftermath of protests over grand juries declining to indict officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, said those at Saturday's ceremony "are the regular folks."
With about a dozen uniformed NYPD cops to his left, Concannon looked out at the crowd and said, "They've got your backs."
Moore was gunned down May 2 by a man he had confronted, suspecting he was hiding a gun in his pants. Moore died two days later. The accused shooter, Demetrius Blackwell, has been jailed without bail.
"Police lives matter," said Justin Conklin, a Glen Oaks board member.
About 45 minutes into the ceremony, the NYPD's green, white and blue flag was hoisted to fly with the park's Old Glory. Cops from Moore's 105th precinct saluted. It began to drizzle. Holding an unlit memorial candle, Esperanza Medina, 62, made her way from the audience toward the uniformed officers.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" she cried out, shaking as many of their hands as she could reach.