Transcript: Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O'Neill Deliver Remarks at Street Co-Naming Ceremony in Honor of Detective Miosotis Familia

July 5, 2018

Mayor Bill de Blasio: It’s an honor to be with all of you today. Everyone is gathered here to remember a truly great New Yorker. And today there’s a message of family running through this gathering. Not only because of the surname Familia, but because of the feeling, the deep feeling we have for this beautiful family that we came to know in the last year, that we came to know in their grief, but we saw their love, we saw their strength, we saw their goodness, and we saw all that they gave to Miosotis to make her as great as she was. Let’s applaud and thank this beautiful family. 

[Applause]

There is another family, the family of the 4-6 Precinct. A tightknit group, people care about each other – lookout for every New Yorker, but look out for each other as well. I remember the day after the tragedy being here with so many of you and you could see the strong bonds between the members of the 4-6 family. And there is something beautiful even midst the tragedy, and another family – the extended family, the larger family of the NYPD, a family that feels each loss personally. But in the best tradition of a good and strong family is there for those who have lost not only at that moment or that year, but for years, and years, and decades to come. That is a very proud and honorable tradition of the NYPD. The NYPD we know is the greatest police force in the world. We see it over, and over again in the actions that the men and women of the NYPD undertake, but we’re reminded of it moments like this too, the humanity, and the warmth and the decency of the people who make up this police force. We also saw it yesterday on the day we celebrate our nation at the Statue of Liberty, the courage and skill of the members of the NYPD performing a rescue. Another reminder of how much we depend on all of you in uniform. I want to thank everyone who is here, a special thanks to First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan, and to the leadership of the NYPD, of course Commissioner O’Neill and Chief of Department Terry Monahan, all the leadership present here today. I want to thank the elected officials who are here, the labor leaders who are here, everyone who is here in common cause to honor this hero.

There are so many powerful messages in the life of Miosotis Familia. A guardian angel for the people of this community and a guardian angel for her family as well, and she is really one of the finest examples you will ever see of the American dream, and the kind of striver that has always made New York City great. She had a dream; she wanted to go to college. She was the first in her family to achieve that dream. She had a dream that she wanted to join the NYPD, and she got there, and she experienced what it meant to be a part of this extraordinary organization. She dreamed and she achieved. And always with warmth and heart the love she gave to all those around her was so powerful and you can tell how much love she gave to her family, and how they always came first. She made the city, she made this community better. And I don’t know if our founding fathers could have pictured Detective Miosotis Familia centuries later, but they would have been proud of her because she lived up to all the ideals of this nation. And she was taken from us on the very day we celebrate our founding as a country. She lived those ideals – it’s not easy to live those ideals and she did it so well, in so many ways. And we honor her. We miss her but we honor her, because she lived so well. I want to speak to this good family because you made possible all that was good in the life of Detective Miosotis Familia, and she made possible such good for you. Adriana, thank you for the wisdom you gave her, for the values you gave her, for the strength you gave her. Muchísimas gracias. And to Peter and Delilah and Genesis, we’ve all watched you with such admiration. Your mother would be so proud of everything that you do – the way you speak, the way you think, your dreams, your hopes – and you know that she gave so much of that to you.

It was so clear to me in the time I spent with the family that her strength transferred directly to her beautiful children. That they’re filled with the same kind of passion, the same kind of hope that so much a part of the life of their mother. I want you to know, I think you do know that she will always, always be with you in so many ways. In your spirit, in your strength, you will hear her voice, her loving voice in so many ways and you’ll always know what a hero she was, how much good she did in the world, how many people she uplifted. Every single one of us will meet adversity, but in those moments of adversity you’ll hear the voice of your mom and she will strengthen you.

For everyone, what a blessing that Miosotis Familia walked among us and she taught us something about how to live, and it’s for us to take that lesson – put it into action every day. I just want to say a few words as well in Spanish. 

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

Thank you all for being here today, and God bless you all.

[Applause]

Lieutenant Tony Giorgio, NYPD: And thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. It is indeed my pride and privilege to introduce the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, The Honorable James P. O’Neill.

[Applause]

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for being here on this very hot day. Welcome to Detective Miosotis Familia Way, thank you for coming here to honor Miosotis and to celebrate her incredible life and career. It’s been one year since she was murdered and over the past twelve months I’ve gotten to spend some time with her family, friends, and colleagues. And all those who knew her best agree, Miosotis was truly a special person and her death was an indescribable loss for our department, for our city, and in fact, for our entire nation. Miosotis, like most cops, just wanted to do her job. Work hard, live without fear, and improve her lot in life, while also making better the lives of her 86-year-old mother, her two girls, and her son. But she also wanted to do something else, she wanted to improve the lives of other families too, and she made the decision to become and NYPD cop – a Bronx cop. She epitomized why many people choose to become police officers. This morning’s church service and this ceremony are testaments to how remarkable Miosotis was.

It’s important that we are here today. Miosotis’s work was not in vain and her legacy will never fade from importance or memory. Genny, Peter, Delilah – your Mom made it her mission to make your home, New York City, a better place and safer place for everyone. And I vow to you as I did last year at your mom’s funeral, we will continue to find our way forward in her honor because that’s what cops do. Cops are regular people who believe in the possibility of making this safer world. Miosotis believed in the possibility of being part of something larger than herself. When many people often overlook is that law enforcement and public service at the local level are the very foundation of peace and order because without public safety there is no possibility of democracy. Everything that government promises, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, everything starts with public safety. Miosotis knew this and every cop knows this. That’s why violence against the police and what we represent is a dishonor to civilized society. Miosotis’s murder was an act of hate, an act of hate against a group of people who believe that society can be better.

All her killer could see was a uniform, even though Miosotis was so much. She was assassinated solely because of what she represented and for the responsibility she embraced, fighting crime and keeping people safe is not a responsibility that police take lightly and neither should the public. Cops sign up for the job of protecting strangers knowing there are inherent risks but not one of us ever agreed to be murdered in an act of indefensible hate and not one of us signed up to never return to our families. When the fabric of society, the blanket of public safety we provide is torn by a senseless, direct assault on one of our protectors, we need everybody, all 8.6 million New Yorkers to help step up, help our great city and our nation back on to more stable footing. I want to see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one of New York City’s family – all deserving of equal treatment, all deserving of equal respect. We know the public we serve needs us, and we need the public too. We want all of our neighborhoods to be safer places for our children, for our elderly, and for ourselves.

But without peace and safety we have nothing, it’s a shared responsibility, people must participate, they must not retreat, again as I said this time last year, it seems we put all of our societal failure on our police to solve. There’s not enough drug addiction funding, many say it’s the police who should change their tactics, there’s not enough money for mental health, many say it’s the cops who need to alter what they are doing on the streets. If our society hasn’t adequately invested in schools, the cops need to figure that out too. We tell our police, you’re the counselor, you’re the parent, you’re the social worker, you’re the referee, but policing was never intended to solve all of those problems. Let’s be clear, NYPD has done great things here to diffuse tensions between police and communities but it’s not enough, it will never be enough and that’s fine because it’s our duty to keep fighting crime, to keep making people safe. That’s what we swore and oath to do and that’s what Miosotis vowed to do as well.

We know that renaming streets or dedicated plaques or inscribing memorial walls could never ease the pain that comes with a loss like this but our anger can be transformed into change. Our sorrow can make us a better society. We can take these opportunities to remember how Miosotis lived and what she died defending and now every person who comes by the precinct where Miosotis worked and dedicated so much of her time and energy will see her name. And someone, maybe a few generations from now will ask, who was Detective Miosotis Familia? They will read her name out loud and that will be another opportunity for a cop, a resident, or someone who works in this neighborhood to tell her story. And people who never had the good fortune of meeting Miosotis will learn all about her life and what she stood for. They will find out how much she cared for her children and her family, her community and her fellow cops. They will know what everyone here today already knows, that Miosotis’s life though it ended tragically was lived brilliantly. Our job now is to continue her legacy, to finish the work she started, and to make sure that no one ever forgets.

Finally, I want to thank City Councilman Ritchie Torres for sponsoring the bill that rededicated those block in the Bronx in Miosotis’s honor. Thank you to all the men and women of the New York City Police Department who put on that uniform each and every day just like Miosotis did. Just like Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo did, just like Steven McDonald did, just like all the other heroes we’ve lost over the years did – all in the name of fighting crime and keeping this great city safe. So we will back again and again to honor Miosotis’s sacrifice. We will do everything we can to live up to the example she set for us.

Thank you all for your incredibly important work, always look out for one another, and be safe. Thank you very much.

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