A tragic van accident claimed the life of a young officer from the 47th Precinct in the northern part of our borough.
Mayor de Blasio and New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton visited the 47th Precinct on Sunday, September 21, after an automobile accident, shortly around 5:08 a.m., took the life of police officer Michael Williams, 25, on the Bruckner Expressway. Eight other officers, also assigned to the precinct, sustained non-life threatening injuries.
The accident is currently under investigation by the NYPD Highway Unit’s Collision Investigation Squad.
The group of nine officers were travelling in a police van heading to Manhattan to police a climate-change demonstration on Sunday and the start of a United Nations General Assembly when the vehicle struck a jersey barrier on the expressway near Bryant Avenue.
Officer Williams was ejected from the vehicle through a right rear passenger seat window, and was pronounced dead at Lincoln Hospital. No other cars were involved.
De Blasio and Bratton took questions from the media outside the 47th Precinct after meeting with officers inside.
“Very early in this new day we lost one of our finest, and we lost one of the newest members of our finest, and that hurts even more,” said the mayor of the young officer. “Officer Williams’s dream was to be an NYPD officer. He came from a police family. This is what he wanted to do with his life.”
The mayor added, speaking of Williams’ assignment to the four-seven, (a precinct which several months ago saw a spike in violence): “He was assigned here to a tough precinct where a lot of work was needed, and he was part of the team that was turning things around, and I know that was a source of pride. We are all in a lot of pain today to lose a good young man who was just starting out.”
Mayor de Blasio also said that the men and women of the 47th Precinct “are hurting right now.” The mayor and Bratton both said that they had spoken at Williams’ NYPD graduation.
Bratton said that the 47th Precinct command is one of the more active commands, and that it is a very close-knit command even for new officers.
“The mayor and I did have the opportunity, a few moments ago, to address many of members of the four-seven,” said the police commissioner outside of the 47th station house. “They are in deep mourning, as you can imagine, for a colleague.”
Williams, who wore shield #11513, is survived by his mother and his father, and was an only child. His father is a 32-year police veteran with the Carmel, N.Y. police department, said the commissioner.
“Most certainly I think Michael’s father as a cop for 32-years has probably seen it all, but never expected to see something like this involving his own son,” said Bratton outside the precinct, before he went to see the family.
The other officers involved in the crash were removed to St. Barnabas Hospital, Jacobi Medical Center and Lincoln. Six were released, and two were kept in the hospital overnight. All eight should recover.