On a recent gray Sunday in Norwood, an NYPD color guard stood erect.
Families shed tears and many stood silent as a new street sign bearing the name of a fallen officer was unveiled.
It was dedicated to serve the memory of 52nd Precinct Police Officer Eric Hernandez.
The young cop was accidentally killed by a veteran officer in a tragic case of mistaken identity.
Across the street from the Five-Two at 3016 Webster Avenue, officers pulled the drape off the street sign reading “The P.O. Eric Hernandez Memorial Corner.”
Among those honoring the 24-year-old were Hernandez’s parents, PBA President Patrick Lynch and fellow officers.
Located at East Mosholu Parkway and Webster Avenue, the street is fitting for Hernandez, who worked the precinct just across the street.
But he was also an active member of the NYPD’s football team - New York’s Finest.
Having played only one year with the department, Hernandez rushed for 1000 yards, securing a win over the fire department team and later winning the national championship.
It was on a cold January 29, 2006 when Hernandez, off-duty at the time and leaving a nightclub across the street, entered a White Castle restaurant at 1831 Webster Avenue near 176th Street in Tremont.
A heckling incident by several young men escalated into the group attacking him, with five or six pummeling him to the ground, with the fight all recorded on security cameras.
The brawl soon spilled outside to the parking lot, where Hernandez mistakenly grabbed at another young man.
Two cops from the 46th Precinct rolled up on the scene where they saw Hernandez pointing his gun at the men.
Cops drew their guns, ordering Hernandez to put the gun down. Afraid Hernadez would kill the man, the cops put him down, shooting him in the stomach and thigh.
Officers reported that at no time did Hernandez identify himself as a cop.
Police later stood by the officer’s decision to shoot Hernadez, calling it a by-the-book shooting.
The National Latino Officers Association of America and retired PO Marie Shea worked to get the street dedication for Hernandez, lobbying the City Council to dedicate the street for Hernandez.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383
©2012 Community News Group