After two NYPD officers were killed, the Silver Shield Foundation, created by James Fuchs and George Steinbrenner in 1982 on behalf of the New York Yankees, has offered to pay for any and all education expenses for the children of Rafael Ramos, 40, one of those victims.
The foundation was organized to pay for education expenses of all children and the spouses of New York law enforcement and other authorities killed in the line of duty. The plans are to set aside funds this week for both of Ramos' children and to make funds available to both of the officers' spouses for any education expenses for which assistance could be needed. The second slain officer, Wenjian Lu, 32, was married only two months ago.
Ramos' son, Jaden, who was 13-years-old, and his mother, met with Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday night. The officers were blindsided in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant by Ismaaiyl Brinsler. According to Bill Madden and Teri Thompson, reporting for the New York Daily News, Walters says the foundation has also offered to pay for another son of Officer Ramos, Justin, who is a sophomore at Bowdoin College in Maine. After that offer had been made, Bowdoin College president, Barry Mills, called the Ramos family and informed them that the college would be providing Justin full financial aid so that he would be able to complete his studies and graduate.
"We are a very close community, and we share in Justin's pain and anguish," Mills said on behalf of the college. "I know you join me in offering heartfelt condolences to Justin and the entire Ramos family, and I am sure you will respect their privacy as they and we support one another in the days and weeks ahead."
The Silver Shield Foundation began when Steinbrenner saw a news report picturing four children standing beside their mother and folding an American flag at their father's funeral. The children's dad was an NYPD officer, killed in the line of duty.
"Who's going to take care of these kids," Steinbrenner asked his friend, former Olympian Jim Fuchs, who would run the foundation until his death, also in 2010. "We are."
Fuchs' daughter now runs the foundation that has paid for educating thousands children of NYPD, FDNY, state police, and Port Authority workers in the tri-state area. It has also paid for the educations of 700 students who lost parents in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The police department's chief of detectives, Robert Boyce, says that moments before the shooting, the shooter said to some bystanders, "Watch what I am going to do." Brinsley, 28, also said they should follow him on Instagram. His background includes 19 arrests, mostly in Georgia and Ohio, report Yamiche Alcindor and John Bacon, in a report in USA Today. He had attempted suicide and was cut off from his sisters, as well as his mother, who said she was afraid of her son.
The actual shooting of the officers was observed by 10 eyewitnesses who saw the perpetrator kill the officers as the two sat in their patrol car. That same number of witnesses saw Brinsler turn the gun on himself at a subway platform a short time later.
President Obama called for Americans to reject violence and words that harm others. When mayor Bill de Blasio walked through the neighborhood out of respect for the officers, dozens of police officers turned their backs on him.
Since the New York grand jury did not indict a white officer who, using the choke-hold, caused the death of a black man, Eric Garner, the mayor and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch have been at odds. Lynch has accused the mayor of failing to support officers and has made it known that the mayor would not be welcome at funerals of police officers who die on the job.
"That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor," Lynch said Saturday. "After the funerals, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable."
President of the national Fraternal Order of Police, Chuck Canterbury, accused politicians of "bemoaning the lack of trust of police by the minority community" without addressing the issues of poverty, unemployment and education that "create a toxic environment which breeds crime."
A week before the Garner decision, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the death of Michael Brown. The cases have caused ongoing demonstrations nationwide, even though both families have requested not to be connected to any protests except those which are peaceful. The Brown family released a statement condemning the shootings of the two NYPD officers. However, John Cureton, 57,of Brooklyn said:
"Everyone is pointing the finger at the mayor," he said. "They're pointing the finger at Al Sharpton and protesters. If you're going to point the finger, let's start at the beginning with the officer who put the chokehold on Eric Garner. How does he feel? Because of his actions, this is what happened. The officer who killed Michael Brown. Because of his actions, this is what happened."