Jason Rivera’s widow says ‘system’ failing police in fiery eulogy as thousands of officers block NYC streets

‘The system continues to fail us,’ says grieving widow Dominique Luzuriaga. ‘We are not safe anymore – not even the members of the service’

Nathan Place
New York
Friday 28 January 2022 20:15
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Widow blames ‘system’ for NYPD officer’s death

The widow of slain NYPD officer Jason Rivera has slammed New York’s political authorities in a blistering eulogy for her husband.

“The system continues to fail us,” Dominique Luzuriaga said at Mr Rivera’s funeral at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday. “We are not safe anymore – not even the members of the service.”

Her voice wavering, Ms Luzuriaga expressed not only her deep sadness, but anger at some of the city’s most prominent figures, including Manhattan’s new district attorney.

“I know you were tired of these laws,” Dominique Luzuriaga said, addressing her departed husband. “Especially the ones from the new DA – I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.”

That remark drew a standing ovation from the crowd of police filling the cathedral.

Mr Rivera, 22, was fatally wounded on 21 January along with his partner, Officer Wilbert Mora, 27. The two were responding to a call of a domestic incident at an apartment in Harlem when a man ambushed and shot them. A third officer shot the gunman, who police have since identified as Lashawn McNeil, 47.

Mr Rivera died later that night. Mr Mora succumbed to his injuries four days later. McNeil died on Monday.

Ms Luzuriaga did not elaborate on how she believed the policies of Manhattan’s DA, Alvin Bragg, were related to Mr Rivera’s death. Mr Bragg has pledged to reduce mass incarceration by only imprisoning people for the most severe crimes, a policy opposed by many in the police community. The Independent has reached out to Mr Bragg’s office for comment.

On Friday morning, thousands of police flooded Manhattan’s snowy streets to mourn Mr Rivera. The young officer was little more than a year into his job, and only three months into his marriage.

“I couldn’t believe you left me,” Ms Luzuriaga said through tears in her heart-wrenching eulogy. “Although I gained thousands of blue brothers and sisters, I’m the loneliest without you.”

The sea of blue stretched from St Patrick’s out onto Fifth Avenue, where the enormous crowd stretched down several blocks. Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, and other prominent figures all paid their respects.

“Today we salute police officer Jason Rivera for the last time,” Mr Adams said. “His journey by our side has ended. He takes another path.”

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