Vol. 19,  No.  4 Feb. 23 - Mar. 8, 2006


Five-Two Officer Laid to Rest


Rookie cop Eric Hernandez, a beat officer from the 52nd Precinct’s Operation Impact, was laid to rest nearly two weeks after being shot in error by a fellow officer responding to an assault at a White Castle on Webster Avenue.

Hernandez, 24, joined the force in 2004 and joined the NYPD’s football team, where he excelled and quickly earned the respect of his fellow officers from across the city. Hernandez was named the team’s most valuable player in three of the last seven games. The team has retired his number, 20.

After complications that resulted in the amputation of the lower part of one leg, it was hoped that Hernandez would continue to recover from his wounds at St. Barnabas Hospital. Hernandez’ teammates joined him by his bedside to watch the Super Bowl.

Several thousand police officers from across the tri-state area paid their respects to Hernandez at St. Bernard’s Church in White Plains on Feb. 13.

Deputy Inspector Joseph Hoch, commander of the 52nd Precinct, told the Norwood News that Hernandez was a “humble guy” who didn’t feel the need to “broadcast his status as a football star.” He added, “This was an emotionally trying time for the precinct.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke at the funeral. “The really important thing to remember about Eric was not how he carried the ball but how he carried himself,” Bloomberg said.

Hernandez played his first game in April 2005 against the Philadelphia Police Department and earned the respect and admiration for his efforts in the Fun City Bowl against the Fire Department.

“As a member of Operation Impact, he brought crime down in troubled areas,” recalled Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who continued, “Eric was relentlessly upbeat with composure beyond his years.”

Kelly vowed that the six suspects who allegedly attacked Hernandez would be punished. “We’ll see to it that they’ll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

Recalling the shock of Hernandez’ death, his half-brother Michael said, “I couldn’t believe that the guy stealing my deodorant three weeks earlier was gone forever.”

A grim-faced Borough President Adolfo Carrión also attended the funeral, his second for a Bronx cop since December. “I’m here to pay my respects to his family and his memory, to make sure he’s not forgotten,” he said.

The Hernandez family gave their consent to a movie production company to film parts of the funeral for an upcoming movie starring actor Colin Farrell. 

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