After outcry over the Justice Department's denial of benefits for the families of two auxiliary cops killed last year, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey will reportedly review the decision. Senator Chuck Schumer, who co-wrote legislation to give benefits to families of first-responders who die in the line of duty, said Mukasey "seemed sympathetic. He said he would review it personally. He's a legal eagle, and the fact that the law is on our side should matter."
Yesterday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke at a DOJ appeal hearing, and the Daily News reports the Justice Department lawyer refused to watch the video of auxiliary officers Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik being shot by gunman David Garvin or listen to 911 calls during the hearing, saying she would watch them in private.
The DOJ had denied the benefits, worth $300,000 to each family, by claiming since auxiliary officers do not have arrest powers, they aren't real first responders. Kelly said, "It's a hypertechnical interpretation. Every citizen has arrest powers. You can arrest for a felony in any crime that takes place in your presence." The Commissioner also emphasized that Garvin targeted Marshalik and Pekearo, after killing a restaurant worker, specifically because they were police officers.