The woman had an apparent grudge, against whom the two NYPD officers had little clue. But Police Officer Giancarlo Maratea and Lieut. Matthew Harrison nevertheless braved her threats—and her weapon—and confronted her, possibly preventing further carnage.

She started her rampage outside her mother-in-law’s home in northern Staten Island, firing what would turn out to be a starter’s pistol into the air. She then drove to her former best friend’s home and tossed a brick through a window before again firing the pistol and driving off again. When PO Maratea and Lieutenant Harrison, of the 120th Precinct, tracked her down in her SUV, she was still holding the gun. She ignored their orders to drop the weapon and get out of the car, and they had to fire, wounding her in the shoulder.

PO Maratea and Lieutenant Harrison were among 43 uniformed members of the NYPD honored on May 29 at the Police Benevolent Association’s annual “Finest of the Finest” event, held at Manhattan’s Water Club.

Recognized by Peers

Some of the deeds for which the cops were honored were in some manner or other typical of what NYPD officers do each and every day, on tours that wind around the clock. Some involved fire rescues, others the saving of babies’ lives, yet still others the application of their emergency medical training. But some also meant getting into the thick of violent incidents, some of them murders in the making, with perpetrators firing guns and brandishing knives.

“What makes these episodes different is that they have been singled out by their brother and sister officers as worthy of recognition,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said. “An officer’s colleagues are the most qualified to recognize true courage or acts of great compassion among their ranks. Those being honored today are the very definition of the Finest of the Finest.” 

In all, 39 Police Officers, two Detectives, one Sergeant and one Lieutenant were honored by their colleagues.

Among them were Police Officers Brigette Medina, Ahmd Ayoubi and Kelvy Vasquez, and Sgt. David Coote of the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, who were met with a wall of smoke and fire pouring from a fifth-floor apartment. They followed Firefighters, already at the scene of the burning building, into the flames, cornered and arrested a person suspected of setting the blaze, then scampered to the building’s third floor to pull out three burn victims, including a two-month-old baby. The suspected arsonist was eventually charged with attempted murder.

Subway Rescue

Police Officers Alexander Delgado and Peter Boyle of the Midtown North Precinct were also honored for their quick thinking and resourceful action.  

The officers arrived on a subway platform to find, and hear, a visibly intoxicated man screaming at a woman with whom he had been arguing. He threatened to throw her baby onto the subway tracks. Officers Delgado and Boyle commanded him to hand over the baby, but he ignored them. The officers had to think, and move, fast. As Officer Delgado tased the man, Officer Boyle swept in and took the child. But the man, under the influence, had barely felt the Taser’s effect and Officer Delgado had to rush him and take him down to prevent further harm, to himself or to others.

Brave and Restrained

Police Officer Howard Thornton of the 28th Precinct was honored for his restraint in responding to reports of a shoplifter being held by security personnel. When he arrived and tried to take the suspect into custody, the man flailed his arms and threw punches. He then took a knife from his front pocket. “I'm gonna stick you all,” he yelled. Officer Thornton backed up and repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife.

He refused, and raised the blade over his head and advanced. Officer Thornton evaded the man and knife until he had little choice but to draw his service weapon. He fired two rounds, and the perp fell. The officer secured the store’s first-aid kit and, while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive, administered life-saving assistance to his attacker.

First Aid

Police Officer Mandeep Kaur of the 114 Precinct in Northwest Queens was praised for actions that could have saved the life of motorcyclist who was badly hurt. Officer Mandeep was on the way to work when she spotted a motorcyclist on the side of the highway who looked to have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. After calling in to say she had stopped for an accident and would be late, the cyclist told her that her arm felt numb. The officer helped her remove her leather jacket when blood started gushing out. Officer Mandeep called for an ambulance and then quickly put her police academy training to good use, using a makeshift tourniquet to stanch the bleeding.

Detective Dalsh Veve of the 67th Precinct was honored for actions he took two years ago when trying to question a suspected gang member who was at the wheel of a stolen car on Tilden Ave. in Brooklyn.

The driver sped off, with Officer Veve hanging on to the car door. The officer manage to fire two rounds, hitting the then-15-year-old driver once in the jaw, before being thrown from the car. Officer Veve, a 10-year NYPD veteran, suffered severe head and brain injuries. The driver took himself to a local hospital, where he was treated and arrested.

Officer Veve has since been promoted to Detective. 

Other officers were honored for disarming would-be killers, some of whom had to be taken down by lethal force; for working relentlessly to keep neighborhoods free and safe from violent crime; even for potentially saving the life of criminals who would have done them harm.

-R.K.


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