The grieving widow of a slain New York City Police Department officer called out Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over his soft-on-crime approach during her husband's eulogy Thursday.
Speaking in front of a packed crowd at St. Patrick's Cathedral gathered for Jason Rivera's funeral service, Dominique Luzuriaga memorialized her hero husband before rebuking the city prosecutor for failing to protect him and others who wear the uniform.
"The system continues to fail us. We are not safe any more, not even the members of the service," she said, according to the New York Daily News. "I know you were tired of these new laws, especially the ones from the new DA. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now."
The cathedral, whichad remained quiet out of respect for the fallen officer, erupted in loud applause in response to her strong words.
“I’m sure all of our blue family is tired too,” she added. “But I promise, we promise, that your death won’t be in vain.”
What's the background?
Rivera, 22, and his partner Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, were ambushed while responding to a domestic violence incident in Harlem last Friday.
They had received a call from 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil's mother, who told officers she was in a dispute with her son. Then, when they entered the house, McNeil opened fire on the two officers.
Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene. Mora was rushed to the hospital, where he died three days later.
Mora and Rivera “were dedicated, courageous and compassionate officers, loved by many. The pain their families feel is immeasurable. We pray for them; we will be strong for them,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement.
At his funeral service, Rivera was posthumously promoted to detective first grade.
The officers' tragic deaths have renewed calls for Bragg's ouster. The district attorney was already under fire for his controversial “day one” memo, which directed his office to take a more lenient approach on prosecutions by dropping certain misdemeanor cases and not seeking pretrial detention except for in the most violent of cases.
On Wednesday, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul put Bragg on notice, warning him she's prepared to use her authority to force him to change his policies or remove him from office.
"I have options, but I will be monitoring the situation very closely," Hochul told the New York Post.
Bragg has since changed his tune on the law enforcement and criminal justice reforms.
In a statement following Rivera's funeral, Bragg said he is "grieving and praying for Detective Rivera and Officer Mora today and every day, and my thoughts are with their families and the NYPD."
“Violence against police officers will never be tolerated,” he added. “My office will vigorously prosecute cases of violence against police and work to prevent senseless acts like this from ever happening again.”