A wreath-laying ceremony attended by police officers and supporters, including former U.S. Ambassador and retired Rep. Diane Watson, was held today at the Memorial for Fallen Officers outside Los Angeles police headquarters to honor the memory of the two New York City officers fatally shot in Brooklyn.
The ceremony, organized by the Rev. Bill Minson of the Tuday Ministry in Santa Monica, began at noon with opening remarks by Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith of Media Relations. Smith remembered not only the NYPD officers but those LAPD officers killed in the line of duty.
“We stand in solidarity with those brave New York City officers who were killed while serving the people of New York,” Smith said. “We stand in solidarity with those officers who won’t be going home to their families, who won’t be celebrating Christmas with their loved ones.”
Smith also saluted the men and women of the LAPD who have given their lives to serve this city and stop criminals who would hurt and kill others. He gave special recognition three officers who died in the line of duty in 2014, including: Christopher Cortijo, Nicholas Lee and Roberto Sanchez.
“Two of those officers, Christopher Cortijo and Roberto Sanchez were killed by drunk drivers,” Smith said.
Watson, U.S. ambassador to Micronesia under President Bill Clinton and recently retired from Congress, told the assembled crowd she was honored to be there, because her father was one of the first black officers in the LAPD in the 1930s.
“He was a black officer who had to pull his gun and fatally shoot someone in the line of duty,” Watson said. “But he never got over that shooting, the fact that he had been responsible for killing someone.”
Watson said her father took responsibility for what he did and suffered for it.
Apparently referring to recent strife between police and the citzenry, she said “those that have acted irresponsible must be accountable on both sides.
“But I come here today,” she said, “to support those officers who wear the badge and have died in service to their community. I am full of joy to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The ceremony closed with a wreath of red and white carnations being place in front of the LAPD memorial and a final prayer by Minson.
“We come here to honor the gift of all the men and women who serve in the U.S. military, who serve in the fire departments and who wear the badge as police officers,” Minson said. “Thank you…for these brave men and women.”