Slain police officer joined NYPD to improve community relations resulting from stop and frisk, letter reveals
“I remember one day when I saw my brother being pulled over and searched,” Jason Rivera wrote in an undated letter to his commanding officer, written while he was at the police academy. “I wondered, why are we stopped if we are in a taxi,” Rivera wrote.
Rivera, who entered the police academy on Nov. 2, 2020, according to a source with knowledge of the officer’s records, said his community of Inwood disagreed with the NYPD but quickly saw the department make efforts to change his ways, according to the letter obtained by CNN.
“Over time, I have seen the NYPD push to change police-community relations,” Rivera wrote. “That’s when I realized I wanted to be part of the men in blue; to improve the relationship between the community and the police.”
The controversial stop-and-frisk policy ended in 2014 after critics argued the practice disproportionately targeted people of color.
Rivera wrote that he was so moved by the NYPD’s efforts for change that he wanted to be the first person in his family to become a police officer in what he called “the greatest police force in the world.”
“When I applied to become a police officer, I knew this was the career for me,” Rivera said.
Mayor Eric Adams paid his respects to Rivera and the other officers involved at a vigil held in Rivera’s honor Saturday night.
“There’s a subtext to this story that I don’t want to miss,” Adams said. “The three officers who were involved, two of them were born outside of this country, one in India and one in the Dominican Republic, the third is a first generation.”
Adams, a former police captain, added that he “shamelessly” had the backs of NYPD officers.
“We are not going to be intimidated by those who believe that we should look down on the men and women who put on this body armor, stand on street corners, protecting children and families,” Adams said during the interview. vigil. “I was not ashamed to wear this uniform, and they will not be ashamed to wear this uniform.”
When Adams took office on January 1, he stressed that he would not let New York become “a city of disorder” as it faces an increase in violence and crime.
Speaking on Saturday, Adams reinforced the point that he is dedicated to uniting everyone around the issue of gun violence.
“We can have philosophical disagreements about things, but you can’t have a disagreement about a gun,” Adams said. “An illegal gun is a line in the sand and we need to send a clear and strong message. … You can’t carry guns and use guns in our city.”
CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Aya Elamroussi and Kiely Westhoff contributed to this report.