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Slain auxiliary cops to be named on memorials

 

Two murdered NYPD auxiliary police officers will have their names added to police memorials in New York City and Washington, authorities said Wednesday.

Auxiliary officers Eugene Marshalik, 19 and Nicholas Pekearo, 28, were killed trying to stop a gunman on a Greenwich Village rampage in March 2007.

"Officers Marshalik and Pekearo were heroes in every sense of the word and deserve to be recognized as such," Sen. Charles Schumer said. "These honors are the least we can do to commemorate the sacrifice they made to keep our city safe."

The names of the two volunteers are to be added to the NYPD Wall at Police Headquarters on May 7 and to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington on May 15, he said.

"It's only fitting that their names be memorialized at Police Headquarters, just as the Justice Department must recognize that their families be awarded the compensation owed them," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The two trained volunteers, gunned down in uniform while on patrol, will also receive posthumous medals in New York City on June 6.

"It means a lot to us," said Pekearo's mother, Iola Latman. "They did such a brave, courageous act. And both of them were such good, young men with bright futures."

The recognition also strengthened Schumer and Kelly's case to have the families of both volunteers receive federal death benefits under the Public Safety Officers Benefit program.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the two officers did not qualify for the $300,000 death benefit because they were not police officers.

Kelly and Schumer said the benefit program was designed to cover volunteers killed in the line of duty. Schumer appealed the decision directly to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and hoped to get the decision overturned by the time the two auxiliary officers are honored.

 

agendar@nydailynews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYPD auxiliary officers at risk because they aren't getting best protection, says union officials

 

The union for auxiliary police officers says new members have been forced to wear used bulletproof vests, leaving them vulnerable on city streets.

The so-called loaner vests, the union charges, aren't individually fitted to each auxiliary cop. That could create a deadly gap in a vest's coverage, potentially allowing a bullet to get through.

"A T-shirt will help you better than an old bulletproof vest that doesn't fit," said William Rivera, founder of the Auxiliary Supervisors Benevolent Association.

The issue of properly outfitting the city's auxiliary police officers was thrust into the spotlight after two auxiliary cops, Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo, were shot to death in Greenwich Village in 2007.

Marshalik, 19, was shot in the head. Pekearo, who was wearing a vest he bought on eBay, was shot in the back. The vest stopped only one of the six bullets fired by maniacal playwright David Garvin.

Less than two weeks after the unarmed volunteers were killed, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to provide bulletproof vests to all 4,500 auxiliary cops. The first of the Level 3-A extra coverage vests were issued the following year. NYPD officers get the same vests and are individually fitted.

Union officials say after the initial complement of vests in February 2008, hundreds of new volunteers have received the sometimes ill-fitting loaner vests.

Deputy Inspector Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman, acknowledged that new members of the auxiliary force are no longer getting new vests.

"All auxiliary officers wear vests while out on patrol," Royster said. "If they don't have a vest assigned to them, they must wear a loaner vest."

A police source said each of the vests costs about $580 and that the NYPD hoped to one day return to issuing new vests to auxiliary cops. No timetable has been set.

Each day without a change in policy is a day too long, said Pekearo's mom, Iola Latman.

"They should all have brand new vests that fit them properly," she told the Daily News Wednesday. "Losing my son like that is dramatically sad."With Kerry Wills

 

simonew@nydailynews.com

 

 

 

 

NYDailyNews.com

 

 

 

Justice Department grants benefits 17 years late for auxiliary cop Milton Clarke's family

More than 16 years after an NYPD auxiliary cop was slain trying to apprehend a gunman in the Bronx, the feds have granted a line-of-duty death benefit to the hero's family, the Daily News has learned.

Milton Clarke has been honored on memorial walls at Police Headquarters, Battery Park and in Washington, D.C., but the feds repeatedly refused to grant the monetary award under the Public Safety Officers Benefit Act because auxiliaries are not considered peace officers.

But after Justice Department officials admitted in 2008 that they were mistaken when they denied death benefits to NYPD auxiliaries Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo, who were slain by a crazed gunman in Greenwich Village, Clarke's family found a Manhattan lawyer to make the same argument.

"This is something we've been praying for," widow Zelma Clarke told The News. "It was not about the money, it's about the recognition."

Clarke was off-duty, working in his auto repair shop on Dec. 1, 1993, when he heard the sound of shots fired on Eastchester Road.

Grabbing his licensed handgun, Clarke, a 47-year-old father of five, ran in the direction of the gunfire and was immediately shot in the chest by a gunman who had wounded another man.

Clarke's daughter Monique said it was typical of her father to run toward danger. "He took being an auxiliary cop very seriously," she said.

After Pekearo and Marshalik were killed in 2007, Clarke's name was invoked as the last auxiliary officer killed in the line of duty. Their death benefits were initially rejected by the feds, but then-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey reversed the ruling after urging from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Sen. Charles Schumer.

Monique Clarke reached out to Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD and countless elected officials for help. "I felt it was unequal. Why couldn't they petition for my father to get this benefit, too?" she said.

The Clarkes' big break came when they found lawyer Michael Galluzzi willing to appeal the case for free. He won a re-hearing and Zelma Clarke learned of the decision Wednesday.

Milton Clarke was buried in his auxiliary uniform. Several months before he was killed, he told Daily News columnist Mike McAlary that he became an auxiliary in part because he had been victimized by racist cops. "I like cops," he said. "Hell, I'm half a cop myself."

 

jmarzulli@nydailynews.com

 

Jul 27, 2009

Auxillary Cop Busted, Fired For Carrying........Mace?


By David Greene

Bxnews.net

A volunteer of the Auxiliary police force was stripped of his badge and shield and arrested, after showing up at a July 4 deployment, for carrying a canister of Mace. 

NYPD Auxiliary Police officer Alexander Gonzalez, 44, , who resides in the area of Webster Avenue and E. Tremont Avenue, is a father of four who volunteered an average of 20 hours a month for the last three and-a-half years. He said he was treated like a common criminal by a ranking officer, even though he believes he accidentally broke an NYPD rule and not a law.Gonzalez, a volunteer at the 1ST Precinct, recalled the incident at W. 38 Street and 10th Avenue, stating, “It was all because I was carrying Mace… This cop just came up to me, gave the order, took my shield and took my ID -- in front of everybody, civilians and co-workers and other officers -- and he called my supervisor.”

Gonzalez was handcuffed in front of stunned onlookers, seeing one officer arresting another. On orders of the ranking officer, Gonzalez was taken to the 10th Precinct where he was photographed and fingerprinted before his release from custody after about seven hours in a holding cell.Days after his arrest Gonzalez stated, “I was in uniform, I was arrested, I was handcuffed and I was processed into the system.”

Gonzalez added he was given, “No warning, no regard,” during the incident.Gonzalez, who recently passed his recommended sergeant’s exam, continued, “I love the department, I love to serve my community.

I like to see my community safe.”Gonzalez said he had just returned after a 3 ½ hour commute from his job as a bail enforcement agent in Pennsylvania, where he is allowed to carry Mace at his job, when he said he was running late and forgot to take the Mace off his belt.“As a civilian, some people are carrying it,” Gonzalez charged, referring to the $20 to $30 can of the liquid, chemical or gas repellents, adding, “I hear the law in the State of New York allows people to carry Mace for protection.”  

Gonzalez again recalled the July 4th Incident, “I didn't have three minutes in the area, when the Captain noticed and pulled me to the side and, acting like I was a perp, like I was a criminal on the street, took my shield off. I thought I was with the NYPD and I see the NYPD Captain arresting his own officers.”Gonzalez, who claims he felt “violated,” will go before a judge on July 28. A press conference is expected to be held on the steps of City Hall, where fellow auxiliary officers are expected to join with Gonzalez in solidarity.

Gonzalez said, “I would like the department to have just a little bit more consideration and give us just a little more protection," to auxiliary officers.Gonzalez, who captured a midtown rapist and a subway mugger before joining the NYPD, added, “In other cases, I see we can be assaulted by civilians and if we use the baton to protect ourselves, that’s using a lethal weapon. Civilians have more rights than we do as we try to protect and serve our community.”

William Rivera, the founder and board member of the Auxiliary Supervisors Benevolent Association stated, “We feel it’s going to be dismissed. We think it's an unlawful arrest,” and vowed, “to show the police department they were wrong.”Rivera continued, “We've been fighting for the NYPD to allow auxiliary of officers to carry Mace for awhile now and we're waiting for a final decision… Mace is a less lethal weapon than a nightstick, and we should be required to and allowed to carry it,” as police officers of the NYPD currently do.

“He did not commit a crime,” Rivera claimed, “He committed a department violation which is questionable… when you break the rules in the department, you don't get arrested.”That claim was argued by Paul J. Browne, the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at the NYPD, who stated, "Neither police nor auxiliary officers are allowed to carry Mace. It's against the law for civilians to carry it, too." Browne conceded, "Some forms of pepper spray are permissible, but not Mace."

Deputy Browne continued, "The auxiliary officer was prohibited from carrying Mace both by law and by regulation. The fact that he claims to be a bounty hunter helps him not at all."In an article published in the Daily News on July 14, Browne told a reporter, "It is against our policy for auxiliary officers to carry Mace," but made no such comment that it is against the law to posses Mace in New York City.So who's right? Well, one would need at least a Fordham law degree to read through and understand the legislation.

If you searched for the information on the Internet, you would find different pieces of legislation for New York City's five boroughs, giving conflicting information.One would also find more than a handful of websites offering it for sale to city residents with a disclaimer that its use and possession is, "at your own risk, and you assume all responsibility and liability for owning and carrying," Mace.

Rivera had taken up the fight with a copy of the 1997 New York State Penal Law's, "Exemptions of Weapons Law", in which section 265.20 gave exemptions to a person over 18 years of age, who has never been convicted of a felony or any type of assault.But a revision by the City Council to the New York City Penal Code in 1996 , instituted in a gun control provision, outlaws sale, purchase and possession unless a person legally obtains the Mace from a licensed gun dealer or pharmacy, registers and pays $10 for a license and a $5 annual fee.

Peter Howard Tilem, a former prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney's office and currently a partner of the White Plains law firm Tilem & Campbell, explained, "Mace in 1996 was made legal by the New York State Legislature, in response to a lot of demands from victim's rights group."Tilem added, "The legislature made it legal in New York State, the New York City Council made it illegal," in New York City. The rules get even murkier when it comes to peace and police officers.