It is a quiet residential town in Nassau County, but on Friday morning the town of Seaford served as a meeting place for thousands of police officers from New York City and Long Island, who came to pay their respects for NYPD officer Brian Moore. Moore died Monday night after being shot in the head by a gunman in Queens.
Later in the afternoon, residents looked on as a mass of blue walked down Hicksville Road at the close of the funeral service. Moore, who was raised in Massapequa, Long Island, was just 25.
“There are no NYPD officers,” said Freeport Police Department Chief Ray Horton, as he walked with other officers after the funeral. He spoke of the solidarity held amongst various police agencies throughout the country. “We are all brothers and sisters,” Horton said.
Tens of thousands of police congregated at the Saint James Roman Catholic Church on 80 Hicksville Road, standing at salute as the hearse approached the church. The funeral service was one of the most heavily attended police funerals in years. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton and several other dignitaries also attended the service.
“Once more we find ourselves together in mourning,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, during the eulogy. “Brian’s death comes at a time of great challenge in this country.” The commissioner said Moore “dreamed of being a cop” and of “following his dad,” who is a retired Sergeant. Bratton posthumously promoted Moore to detective first grade at the service.
Officer Brian Moore took the entrance exam at the age of 17. He made more than 150 arrests and had earned service medals in the less than five years he spent as an NYPD officer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose attendance at ceremonies held for other slain officers has been an added source of tension, praised Moore during the service.
“Brian Moore represented the best of New York City,” de Blasio said at the funeral on Friday. “He was brave, for sure, but his bravery was matched by his compassion.” The mayor made mention of Moore’s family connection with the police force. Moore was the son, nephew and cousin to New York police officers.
Moore is the third NYPD officer to be killed in the line of duty in just five months. Officer Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were gunned down in a patrol car last December in what has been called a retaliatory killing, after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer for the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner. The families of both officers were in attendance at the service as well.
“I hope that it will change the conversation and show people how difficult the police officer’s job is and how their life can be snuffed out in a second before they even have a chance to defend themselves. And all this conversation about new procedures, while that’s very helpful, nothing takes the place of an officer on the street,” said Phillip Karasyk, attorney for the Detective’s and the Lieutenant Unions for the NYPD.
Officer Moore’s death comes at a sensitive time for the New York Police Department, which is experiencing a renewal of anti-cop sentiment following the recent deaths of Walter Scott in North Carolina, who was fatally shot on April 4th after being stopped by an officer for a nonfunctioning break light, and the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, who died April 19th after sustaining spinal cord injuries while in police custody. Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD were heavily criticized for aggressive policing following a protest last Wednesday in Manhattan, where more than 140 people were arrested.
“People are against the police department right now. We’re not popular,” said NYPD officer Hammond, who said it was permissible to use his last name. “It’s unfortunate that this is how we all get together.”
Article updated 5/15.