The 84th Precinct and its Community Council dedicated two plaques in the memory of slain Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos — who died last December in the line of duty — during a ceremony at the precinct in Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, we have a memorial wall here at the 84th Precinct, and unfortunately, we had to add to it four years ago with Officer Alain Schaberger,” 84th Precinct Capt. Sergio Centa said, referring to the officer who was pushed to his death in 2011. Centa said he and members of the 84th Precinct wanted to honor Liu and Ramos similarly.
The plaques are not technically official. The NYPD will issue those during a larger ceremony on the one-year anniversary of Ramos’ and Liu’s deaths — an event slated to include the official NYPD ceremonial unit, the commissioner and the mayor. In the meantime, Centa and 84th Precinct Community Council President Leslie Lewis felt it was appropriate to have a smaller ceremony for the community.
“In discussions with the Community Council president and the council, we felt that it was important to do this at a meeting so these plaques are coming from the community, the Community Council and the 84,” Centa said.
A smaller, third plaque was also placed on the memorial wall. It was a gift from the 110th Precinct in Queens and its community council.
Tuesday’s event was certainly no small affair. The families of both officers — including Liu’s father, mother and wife, as well as Ramos’ wife, one of his two sons and his sister — attended the ceremony, standing beside many officers from the 84th Precinct, other friends in the NYPD and local community members. Many could not hold back their emotions.
“Two great guys, two great cops,” Centa said. “Their loss really hit this command hard. This command was touched almost four years ago. Most of these guys have been through it before. I don’t know if it was good or bad that they had that experience, but it’s almost unfair that they had to go through it again so soon.”
Savannah Solis, a 10-year-old from Texas, was also in attendance. Solis came to New York City to meet with the NYPD after she sent more than 200 thank-you cards to officers following the deaths of Ramos and Liu. Centa presented her with a gift basket that included an NYPD T-shirt and a memorial bracelet.
“I thank everyone for their support,” Centa said. “It’s the only thing that got us through the last two months plus. It wasn’t just coming from Brooklyn or from the city; it came from all over the country. You don’t expect it from a 10-year-old girl.”
No other business was conducted during the monthly Community Council meeting. Lewis attempted to speak after the plaques were unveiled, but the usually loquacious president, his emotions heightened, could barely get a sentence out — so Centa took a moment to thank him instead.
“There is not a bigger supporter of the police than this man right here,” Centa said of Lewis. “He is, without a doubt, behind us 100 percent. It’s great to work with someone on the same page as you and [who] has your interest in mind.”