Cover Story

“Forget Me Not” In Remembrance: Detective Miosotis Familia
By Joel E. Gordon

According to the Urban Dictionary warriors are women and men that are fearless, strong and skilled fighters that are lacking in our modern times. A warrior is a person who beyond all obstacles still manages to be successful. Intelligent, strong, determined, and skillful, a warrior despite whatever problems they may have, is perfect. In their own way, each warrior is perfect.

When a true warrior falls from our presence we all mourn.

“She was a warrior, tell you the truth,” John Cuello, a nephew, said of his aunt Miosotis Familia. “She was a fighter, she was tough — and that was the job for her being one of the NYPD’s finest.”
Miosotis Familia grew up in northern Manhattan, the youngest of nine children. A twelve year NYPD veteran, Familia came on the job in 2005 at age 36 after working as a patient care assistant at New York University Hospital, and also for the American Red Cross. In 2009, Familia earned a bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She also had a degree from the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

After suffering a leg injury from a fall while on duty in 2014, Familia refused to retire from the police force, even when relatives encouraged her to do so.

She was known to be a quiet person who was very into her family. Miosotis had a reputation as a good cop. It was said that she was well liked by everyone who worked with her.

On July 5, 2017, the 48-year-old Familia was approached by a subject at 12:30 a.m., while she was sitting in a temporary headquarters vehicle. She had specifically requested the midnight shift assignment about three weeks earlier, it was reported, so that she would have more time to spend with her children and other family members during the summer. It was during this midnight shift on this early Wednesday when a gunman approached her large RV-style police command vehicle, firing through a window and hitting Familia in the head, killing her.

Right after the shooting, Familia’s partner, Officer Vincent Maher called for backup. Maher is heard yelling, “My partner is shot” repeatedly in the scanner audio. The radio transmissions are very difficult for all of us in law enforcement to hear.

Police told the NY Post that the two officers who arrived were Sgt. Keith Bryan and Officer Joseph Ayala. The anti-crime team confronted him a block away from the scene when he pulled out the revolver again.

The two officers shot and killed the suspect. Police said a silver revolver was found and it was determined that the gun used in the shooting was reported as stolen from West Virginia.

Miosotis had spent her entire career in the Bronx precinct where she was killed. She is the first female officer to die in the line of duty since 9/11.

New York City Police Commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said in a message to officers that she was “assassinated without warning, without provocation, in a direct attack on police officers assigned to safeguard the people of New York City.”

“Make no mistake: Officer Familia was murdered for her uniform and for the responsibility she embraced,” NYPD Commissioner O’Neill wrote in the message to the department. “And for the NYPD, regularly achieving lower and lower crime figures means absolutely nothing when one of our own is brutally shot and killed.”

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement:
“Police officer Miosotis Familia, the mother of three, gave her life protecting a neighborhood that had been plagued by gang gun violence. Fully knowing the dangers that she faced, she suited up in uniform every day and stood tall against those who threaten and terrorize the good folks of the Bronx. As we mourn her death and support her family, friends and colleagues, we ask for your help. Violence against a police officer cannot stand. When you see or hear someone making threats against NYC police officers you need to let us know, you need to be our eyes and ears.

Police officer Familia now joins the exclusive ranks of women who have heroically served and died in the line of duty. We will keep her in our hearts and minds as we do all of the women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the city they love.”

Familia, was posthumously promoted to Detective First-Grade right before her funeral service. NY Blue Now joined thousands of police officers, family members, citizens and city officials who gathered for the funeral of NYPD Detective Miosotis Familia. Nearly 25,000 law enforcement professionals from 85 police agencies were represented.
The jam-packed funeral came on the 12th anniversary of Familia’s NYPD swearing-in, the realization of a lifelong dream.

A large photo of a larger than life smiling Familia, with an American flag as a backdrop, covered the front of the pulpit. Floral arrangements lined the stage, including one shaped like a badge and another reading “Blue Lives Matter.”

The NYPD Commissioner described the shooter as a “coward” before asking why the execution of Familia didn’t produce more outrage.

“Some people say, ‘That’s their job. That’s what cops signed up for,” said Commissioner O’Neill. “Well, let me tell you something. Not one of us ever agreed to be murdered in an act of indefensible hate.”

 

“And not one of us signed up to never return home to our loved ones.”

 

At the end of the funeral, a NYPD honor guard brought the casket outside the church. The departmental flag draped over the coffin was removed, folded into a triangle and was presented to the family.

Detective Familia left behind a 20-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. She also was survived by her 86-year-old mother for whom she had been caring for.

Familia’s Spanish name, Miosotis, translates in English to “forget me not.” Her brothers and sisters in blue will never forget her service or her sacrifice.

Joel E. Gordon is a former Field Training Officer with the Baltimore City Police Department and is a past Chief of Police for the city of Kingwood, West Virginia. He is author of the book Still Seeking Justice: One Officer’s Story and has been a feature columnist in the Morgantown West Virginia Dominion Post newspaper. He is the founder of the Facebook group Police Authors Seeking Justice. He can be found at stillseekingjustice.com