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Kenneth Healey, cop hurt in hatchet attack, ‘a great example,’ Bratton says

Police Commissioner William Bratton shakes hands with Officer

Police Commissioner William Bratton shakes hands with Officer Kenneth Healey at One Police Plaza in Manhattan after an NYPD promotion ceremony on Dec. 18, 2015. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Police Commissioner William Bratton offered praise and a warm “welcome back” Friday to Officer Kenneth Healey, who recently returned to light duty after recovering from a near-fatal hatchet attack nearly 14 months ago.

Bratton, speaking during an NYPD promotion ceremony at One Police Plaza, said Healey’s spirit was inspiring and “a great example to this department.”

Healey, 26, was struck in the head twice with a hatchet on a street in Jamaica, Queens, by Zale Thompson, 32, on Oct. 23, 2014. He returned to the 103rd Precinct in November.

Police had described Thompson as a lone attacker who went after the officer with the hatchet as Healey and other officers were taking pictures of themselves on the street.

Thompson was shot and killed by other officers at the scene.

At the time, police said Thompson had been viewing terrorist propaganda on the Internet and had become radicalized.

At Friday’s ceremony, Bratton said the attack “by a madman” occurred after calls on various social media sites that advocated killing military and law enforcement officers.

Some of that Internet traffic occurred after a British soldier was beheaded in London in May 2013 by assailants wielding a machete, and a video of the attack went viral.

Bratton told the audience of several hundred officers and their families that the attack on Healey was an example of “the extraordinary times and challenging times we face, but we are prepared.”

More than 70 ranking officers were promoted to deputy inspector, lieutenant commander detective and lieutenant special assignment.

The ceremony included the promotion of Raymond Spinella to chief of personnel. He will oversee the department’s academy, police training and recruitment.

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