This morning, thousands of police officers and members of the community attended the funeral of Russel Timoshenko, a 23-year-old police officer shot during a traffic stop of a stolen SUV. Timoshenko, who died a few days after the shooting, was posthumously made a detective; Mayor Bloomberg explained it was "a small measure of our appreciation for the supreme sacrifice that Russel made, and to honor his life."
Hundreds of people attended the wake, from police officers (including Timoshenko's partner, Herman Yan, who was wounded in the incident) to regular civilians. The NY Times spoke to a 16-year-old mourner, Lillian Rivera, who just a few months ago had asked Timoshenko what it was like to be cop and if she should try to apply. After attending the wake, Rivera said she still wanted to become a police officer: “It just makes it even better that you see someone put their life on the line. It makes you want to see if you can do better, too, or do the same thing."
And the Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network issued a statement about Timoshenko's murder.
Rev. Al Sharpton, Kirsten John Foy, director of the criminal Justice Initiative of the National Action Network and the National Action network family would like to extent its deepest condolences and prayers to the family of Officer Russel Timoshenko on his passing. Tragic and unnecessary, death is always a heavy burden to bare, and we want the family to know that the community shares this burden with them.
We also wish to make clear that violence and thuggery is not acceptable to us as a community as a whole. Violence directed towards police officers is as immoral as violence emminating from bad cops and we stand with those calling for justice. In these times it is important for all of us to remeber that we either live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.
Officer Russel Timoshenko was an upstanding young man and had a bright future in law enforcement. From all accounts he was a good cop and will be surely missed by his family and we stand with them in this time of morning.
CityRoom spoke to Sharpton, who explained he had contacted a priest in touch with the Timoshenko family, "You never see me come out unless the family asks me to come out and speak on their behalf." He added that when he had once paid respects at another slain officer's funeral, he was criticized: "I get it either way. If I come out and say something publicly, I’m criticized, and if I don’t, I’m criticized.”
The three suspects face murder charges.
Photograph of police officers on Flatbush Avenue by Bebeto Matthews/AP