Thousands Attend Funeral for First of Two Slain NYPD Officers

By Dave Paone
Dave Paone
Dave Paone
Dave Paone covers New York City.
January 28, 2022 Updated: January 30, 2022

NEW YORK—For the second day in a row, Fifth Avenue in New York City was awash in a sea of blue on Jan. 28 as thousands of NYPD officers descended upon St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral for the funeral of their fallen brother, Jason Rivera.

The day before was Rivera’s wake. While attendees stood outside and braved only the cold for the wake, there was a light but steady snowfall during the funeral.

Attendance in the church was limited, so there were speakers set up on either side of the entrance for those on the street.

However, one set of speakers didn’t work.

Epoch Times Photo
NYPD officers assemble at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York for the funeral of fallen Officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 28, 2022. (Dave Paone/The Epoch Times)
Officer's funeral
New York Police officers gather along Fifth Avenue for the funeral of officer Jason Rivera, outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Jan. 28, 2022. (Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo)

The funeral began with organ music, a cantor, and a choir singing the traditional “Alleluia” hymn.

The Rev. Robert Abbatiello gave one of several eulogies, switching between English and Spanish.

“It surely seems, it seems, that death has the victory. But my brothers and my sisters, the sting of death and what appears to be death’s victory is not what brought us to this magnificent house of God today,” he said. “It is faith that brings us here today.”

Abbatiello spoke of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and how Lazarus was destined to die a second time. “Unlike Lazarus, our brother Jason will never have to die again,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Somber faces among police colleagues outside St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York at the Jan. 28 funeral service of officer Jason Rivera who was fatally shot while on duty on Jan. 21, 2022. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, also addressed the congregation.

“Today, we salute Police Officer Jason Rivera for the last time,” he began.

“We as a city, as a state, and as a nation, say thank you, Jason.”

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell spoke briefly in both English and Spanish and promoted Rivera posthumously to the rank of detective first grade.

Epoch Times Photo
Police officers wore ribbons across their badges as a sign of respect for Jason Rivera, the young officer killed in the line of duty on Jan 21, 2022. Thousands of colleagues turned out for the service on Jan. 28, 2022. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

Rivera’s widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, held back tears—unsuccessfully at times—and spoke of the hours just before and after his murder, including an argument they had.

“You know, it’s hard being a cop-wife sometimes,” she said.

Luzuriaga also confronted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“This system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore, not even the members of the service,” she said.

“I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now,” Luzuriaga said, which was followed by applause from the congregation.

She ended with, “I love you to the end of time. We’ll take the watch from here.”

Dominique Rivera
Dominique Rivera (L), widow of NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, watches as his casket is loaded into a hearse outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral after his funeral service in New York on Jan. 28, 2022. (Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo)
Epoch Times Photo
Many officers were emotional during the funeral of Jason Rivera at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Jan. 28, 2022. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

Attending personnel wore their class-A dress uniforms with white gloves, with black, mourning bands across their shields.

Rivera was shot and killed in the line of duty on Jan. 21 while responding to a domestic dispute involving a mother and her son in the Harlem section of Manhattan.

As they did at the wake on Jan. 27, the NYPD had officers working the detail, including uniformed and plain-clothes cops, a K-9 unit, the Patrol Services Bureau, Emergency Services, and a few officers carrying AR rifles.

Rivera was a 22-year-old rookie and worked out of the 32nd Precinct.

Two other officers, including Wilbert Mora, also responded to the call. Mora was shot as well. The 27-year-old died from his wounds on Jan. 25.

A wake for Mora will be held on Feb. 2, with his funeral on Feb. 3, both at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Epoch Times Photo
Thousands of police officers showed their respects to Jason Rivera who was killed in the line of duty on Jan. 21, 2022. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
A sea of blue uniforms stretched at least seven city blocks in New York during slain officer Jason Rivera’s funeral at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Jan. 28, 2022. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
There were many moments for reflection by police during the funeral of slain officer Jason Rivera. on Jan. 28, 2022. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)
Dave Paone
Dave Paone covers New York City.