ALBANY, New York — The names of eight officers who died last year from line-of-duty injuries have been added to the New York Police Memorial, along with 14 who died from illnesses related to recovery work at the World Trade Center destroyed by terrorists in 2001.
They include WenJian Liu and Rafael Ramos, gunned down in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street in December. The curved black granite wall now has 1,387 names, including three sheriff's deputies and two game wardens who died in service between 1919 and 1958 and whose agencies belatedly sent applications.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered flags on state buildings at half-staff Tuesday to mark New York Police Department Officer Brian Moore's death Monday, following a shooting over the weekend in Queens.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said before a gathering at the memorial Tuesday of surviving families, state officials and dozens of uniformed police that it's been an especially difficult year for law enforcement. He noted the deaths of Liu and Ramos, the death of Moore and the "incomprehensible violence" police can face every day on any call or stop.
"I cannot understand any attack on any law enforcement officer as something other than an attack on all law-abiding citizens and on the law itself," he said.
Others who died last year were Rochester Officer Daryl Pierson, shot by a suspect; Trooper Christopher Skinner, killed by a hit-and-run driver in Broome County; and Johnson City Officer David Smith, shot responding to a disturbance call at a business.
Also honored were NYPD's Dennis Guerra, who died from complications of smoke inhalation responding to a fire in public housing; NYPD Officer Michael Williams, fatally injured in a crash; and Douglas Mayville of the Albany Police, who authorities say died from inhaling toxic chemicals in forensic investigations over a 15-year period.
The 14 from the NYPD who died from illnesses related to the aftermath of 9/11 are: Angel Creagh, Anthony DeJesus, Paul Ferrara, Nicholas Finelli, Michael Henry, Steven Hom, John Marshall, Robert Montanez, Donald O'Leary Jr., Allison Palmer, Ronald Peifer, Christopher Strucker, William Titus Jr. and Perry Villani.
In an earlier Law Day address at the Court of Appeals, Schneiderman said the U.S. still has issues with race and class in the criminal justice system, challenged to deal with them more honestly by protests, anger and pleas for justice. He noted that with 5 percent of the world's population, America has 25 percent of its prisoners, including 4,000 of every 100,000 black men.
"It's not because Americans are five times as likely to commit serious crimes. It is because we have chosen to engage in a unique national experiment with mass incarceration," Schneiderman said. He cited the tough drug laws in the 1970s led by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller that inspired a host of tough-on-crime policies that helped boost America's prison population from 300,000 to about 2.5 million and that repeals of New York tough sentencing provisions shrunk the prison population, reduced crime and recidivism.
The goals of reducing crime and enhancing public safety should be clear and based on data, he said.
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