19, No. 4
Feb. 23 - Mar. 8, 2006
Five-Two Officer Laid to Rest
By DAVID GREENE
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
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
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