“I remember one day when I witnessed my brother being stopped and frisked,” Jason Rivera wrote in an undated letter to his commanding officer, penned while he was in the police academy. “I asked myself, why are we being pulled over if we are in a taxi,” Rivera wrote.
Rivera, who entered the police academy on November 2, 2020, according to a source with the knowledge of the officer’s records, said his community of Inwood was at odds with the NYPD but soon saw the department make efforts to change their ways, according to the letter obtained by CNN.
“As time went on, I saw the NYPD pushing hard on changing the relationship between the police and the community,” Rivera wrote. “This is when I realized I wanted to be part of the men in blue; better the relationship between the community and the police.”
The controversial policy of stop and frisk was ended in 2014 after critics argued the practice disproportionately targeted people of color.
Rivera wrote he was so moved by the NYPD’s effort to change, he wanted to be the first person in his family to become a police officer in what he called “the greatest police force in the world.”
“When I applied to become a police officer, I knew this was the career for me,” Rivera said.
Mayor Eric Adams honored Rivera and the other officers involved at a vigil held in Rivera’s honor on Saturday night.
“There’s a subtext to this story that I don’t want to be missed,” Adams said. “The three officers that were involved, two of them were born outside this country, one in India and one in the Dominican Republic, the third is a first generation.”
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