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NYC Mayor Adams Delivers Remarks at Street Co-Naming for NYPD Detective Jason Rivera

September 16, 2023

Lieutenant Jack Conway, Commanding Officer, Ceremonial Unit, Police Department: It’s now my pleasure to introduce the members seated on our dais. Please hold all your applause until all have been introduced. Starting on the right, the President of the Police Benevolent Association, Patrick Hendry, the commanding officer of the 32 Precinct, Inspector Amir Yakatally, commanding officer, Patrol Borough Manhattan North, Assistant Chief Ruel Stephenson, the chief of Department, Jeffrey Maddrey, the police commissioner of the City of New York, The Honorable Edward Caban, the mayor of the City of New York, The Honorable Eric Adams. Representing the 10th district, Councilwoman Carmen De La Rosa. Representing the 13th district, Congressman Adriano Espaillat. New York State Attorney General, The Honorable Letitia James. Police Department Chaplain, Reverend Jonathan Recabarren, and the President of the Detectives Endowment Association, Paul DiGiacomo.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is our dais, and we thank you for being here today. And now it is my pleasure to introduce the police commissioner of the City of New York, The Honorable Edward Caban.

Police Commissioner Edward Caban: morning everyone, It is my honor to welcome you to Detective Jason “Tata” Rivera Way. Thank you all for coming here to honor and celebrate Jason. To the Rivera family — Dominique. Anna, Daniel, Jeffrey, Wesley — and to all of Jason’s loved ones, we are here for you, and we will always be here for you wherever and whenever you need us. That is a promise that every generation of the NYPD will keep.

Today we are dedicating a part of our city in Jason Rivera’s name, but it’s not just any part. It’s important that we are here on this particular block. This is where Jason’s father dropped him off at school. This is where Jason and his friends hung out and spent time together as kids. And this is where James grew up and where he became a remarkable man we have all come to now. And now a truly special place is dedicated forever in honor of a truly special person. Jason’s story is a story of this neighborhood, of Inwood and the amazing people who live and work here. It is a classic New York story, a city that transformed itself like nowhere else, where a young man from an immigrant family can build a life, start a family of his own, begin a promising career; and, always have a place to call home.

Jason loved this community so much so that he made his life’s work to protect it and to keep the people he cared about safe. That was the life he chose, and that life was ended far too soon. But the mark that Jason left on our lives, that will never fade, because we will keep telling the story on this block and everywhere else each and every chance we get, and he will be a son of Inwood forever.

I want to thank everyone who made this day possible: Mayor Adams, Councilman De La Rosa, my good friend Congressman Espaillat, the 34 Precinct for hosting us this morning, and every member of the 32 Precinct who keeps Jason’s legacy strong. The Moras are also with us this morning, and these two families are linked forever. Thank you for being here to support Jason, just as the Rivera family was there to support you at Wilbert’s ceremony two months ago. You are models of incredible strength and true courage, and we are here for you always. Please help me give them a round of applause.
Finally, to Jason’s NYPD family: thank you for all you do. You understand more than anyone what it means to do this job. You know the dangers, but despite it all, you are out there every day continuing Jason’s important work. That is how we honor him and how we renew the promises we made to him and his family. We cannot bring him back, but we will never let him go. May God bless Jason, the Rivera family and every member of the NYPD, and may God bless all of you.

Lieutenant Conway: Thank you, Commission Caban. It’s now my pleasure to introduce the commanding officer of the 32 Precinct, Inspector Amir Yakatally.

Inspector Amir Yakatally, Commanding Officer, 32 Precinct, Police Department: Good morning, and thank you all for being here today, a day that we gather yet again to continue to pledge our resolve to honor Jason Rivera and his sacrifice, a day we further hail his impact and profound legacy, a legacy now cemented as a beacon of hope for anyone who knows his story. Today we rename the corner of 204th Street and Sherman Avenue Detective Jason “Tata” Rivera Way. To add a name to a city street holds its own significance, because it’s not just one person making that decision; this required a cross-sector collaboration, as this could not happen without community buy‑in and support.

I would like to thank Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Edward Caban for their presence and unwavering support over the last 20 months; Councilman Carmen De La Rosa of District 10 for sponsoring the sign, along with Community Board 10 for their approval. We thank Inspector Aneudy Castillo and his team at the 34: NYDO, the DEA, PBA, the Department of Transportation and all other city organizations and agencies and individuals involved in putting this event together.

And a special thank you to Chief Clint McPherson and the Family Assistance Unit for your tireless dedication to our line of duty families. Having Jason’s name on this corner holds significance in ways very different from the memorial walls in Washington and in Albany. On those walls, he’s larger than life. He represents law enforcement and bravery in its purest form. Here, it is personal. He’s not only the hero detective Jason Rivera, to the people in this neighborhood he’s just Jason or Tata, and that name comes with personal stories and memories from those closest.

Many will walk on this tree and some will stare at his mural and the Jason “Tata” Rivera Way, pausing to reflect on the story of heroism — a story we continue to herald so that his son, Wesley, and his nephew, Jason, will learn his tale and recognize how powerful an impact he has had on us all. Anyone curious enough can look him up and find countless descriptions of Jason: the police officer that took this job for all the right reasons; a man who embodied what we all envision an officer should be. The young children that attend this school will always remember the name “Jason Rivera” along with his smiling image. At the very least, they will know he was a police officer from their neighborhood, and it will shape their perception of officers as well as countless others who pass by.

Then there is the significance that this is Jason’s home, his roots, groups where he went to school and grew up, where the most intimate stories of Jason’s life on this block live with his family. For Daniel, Anna, Jeffrey and Dominique, today they bring his name back home where he belongs. There are so many ways that Jason will live on. For us at the 32, he will continue to be known as the young, enthusiastic cop that inspired those around him in life and will continue to do so in his passing. We owe it to Jason and the Rivera family to maintain his honor and his integrity through our work.

This street naming reminded the residents of this great city that there are those who are putting their lives on the line every day so that their sons and daughters can walk to school safely, can drive safely and just go about their day to day in peace. Today we celebrate the Detective Jason “Tata” Rivera Way, a symbol for a son, brother, husband, hero and a father. A symbol of love and light. A symbol to never forget. Thank you.

Lieutenant Conway: And thank you, Inspector Yakatally. It is now my pleasure to introduce Congressman Adriano Espaillat.

US Representative Adriano Espaillat: Good morning, mayor, commissioner of Police Department, NYDO. Thank you for the work that you do in our community. Dennis presides over NYDO.

[Agitator speaks.]

US Representative Espaillat: This is a solemn event. Let’s respect the memory of Detective Rivera. Okay. I want to thank the family also who’s here today and Councilwoman De La Rosa who sponsored the legislation for this tree to bear the name of a hero from an immigrant family, from a Dominican family. Next year will be, mayor, 60 years here in northern Manhattan, and our community, the Dominican community has had two horrible days. The first one was Flight 587 when we lost many people going back to the Dominican Republic; and the second day, a horrible day for our community, was when we lost two of our own, Officer Mora and Officer Rivera.

And although the memory may never fade and the pain will never go away, this corner will bear the name of Officer Rivera; and as I see his son and his nephew. I know that just one day the grandmother or the grandfather will tell them, when you get out of school, I’ll meet you on 204th Street at Detective Rivera Way. And that means a lot, because for 100 years, 200 years, that name will be there. Long after we’re gone, that name will be there. And that’s the legacy… That stands for the legacy that he left behind. And although he’s from Dominican roots, he belonged to the whole city — not just us, but everybody in the city, and that’s what we’re here to celebrate today, his legacy, his work and the family that brought him up in this neighborhood they call home, they still call home and that we’re trying to lift up every single day.

So, I thank you, mayor, commissioner, and the councilwoman, but most importantly, the family and the children that are here with us today who will ever remember Detective Rivera and the great work that he did for the City of New York. God bless you, and keep the faith.

Lieutenant Conway: Thank you, Congressman Espaillat. It’s now my pleasure to introduce the president of the Detectives Endowment Association, Paul DiGiacomo.

Paul DiGiacomo, President, Detectives Endowment Association: Good morning to all. It is truly an honor to be here today. Mr. Mayor, Police commissioner, the Mora family and the Rivera family. His parents Anna and Daniel, Jeffrey, and his family, and the amazing wife, Dominique. Your strength never ceases to amaze us, and your beautiful new addition, Wesley. Look at that face, so beautiful. He’s posing for the cameras already. God bless him.

We are here today to forever continue in our quest with your family to keep Jason’s name alive ‑‑ keep it alive and keep it vibrant. And this street we’re naming today is one step closer to keeping his name alive and vibrant. And we will continue to that: every day, the light goes on there is someone or some story that will bring back the life of Detective Jason Rivera.

The people here are on a mission. Everyone here in this neighborhood, everyone in this department is on a mission: to keep your husband, your father’s hero name alive. Add you have our commitment that we will always do that. And as you know,Jason lost his life as a police officer, but we were fortunate now that he was promoted to detective, and we are so honored and privileged to have you as part of the DEA family. And our hearts are always open to you, and our door is always open to you. And God bless you all. Thank you.

Lieutenant Conway: Thank you, Paul. It’s now my pleasure to introduce the president of the Police Benevolent Association, Patrick Hendry.

Patrick Hendry, President, Police Benevolent Association: Good morning. I want to thank the Rivera family for allowing me to say a few words; the Mora family, thank you. In our hearts. We’re here today to honor a true hero for an act of bravery. But that act of bravery didn’t just happen the night he gave his life, they happened before that. The bravest thing that Jason Rivera did is when he raised his right hand and gave the oath to become a New York City police officer.

Becoming a police officer is a calling, and Jason was called. He was called to make a difference, to make an impact in the NYPD, in New York City. And he answered that call because he had that bravery woven in his heart and in his soul. But that bravery wasn’t just going towards danger, that bravery was to protect and was ways to connect with people to make a difference where he worked and the community where he lived. That was Jason Rivera. That’s what he was about.

And we know the stories about Jason. We know he wanted to come on this job. We know he loved being a police officer. We know he loved working with police officers, especially his brothers and sisters from the 32 Precinct. And we know a story from himself, that he wanted the community and police offices to unite so that we can protect each other together. And he accomplished that goal. We know he did because we have the community here, we have police officers here coming together to celebrate his life.

And this street sign, it’s not going to bring back Jason’s life, not going to bring him back. But his bravery will live on. And the hope is that one day someone in this neighborhood will have that bravery woven in their heart and soul and pin that shield of a New York City police officer and follow in the footsteps of a true hero, Jason Rivera. God bless his family, God bless you all.

Lieutenant Conway: Thank you, Patrick. It’s now my pleasure to introduce Councilwoman Carmen De La Rosa.


City Council Member Carmen De La Rosa: I want to thank Mayor Adams, Commissioner Caban, all of the men and women of the 34 Precinct of the NYPD, of the 32nd Precinct who are here, all of our colleagues who are here from senators to Assembly members to commissioners to our attorney general. Most of all, I want to thank the Rivera family, la familia Rivera; the Mora family, la familia Mora.

We are here because although we recognize the significance and the legacy and the mark that has been left by Detective Jason Rivera on our city and in the world, this is personal.
These are the streets that we walk every single day. These are the streets that Jason walked every single day. These are the streets that he chose to live, protect, bring his family to be raised by a humble family. I had the honor and the pleasure of sitting down with Anna and Danielle just a few weeks ago.

[Speaks in Spanish.] And I think I had the best coffee I’ve had in a really long time. And I had the honor of speaking to them about the man that they raised, [speaks in Spanish]. Someone who everyone can agree is a hero but also was someone who was a generally good guy.

Jason represents all the best that Dyckman has to offer. I grew up just around the corner from here, and I know what it is to be Dyckman strong. I believe that Jason represents all of the dreams that the young people in our community have for this city. He carried those dreams with him. Those are the dreams that made him brave to come back to our community and say, I want to give of myself.

And he made a sacrifice that no family should have to endure. Our hearts break for your family, [speaks in Spanish]. But we know that the legacy of Jason is far greater than a street sign, is far greater than any honor that we can give, because of the person that our community will remember him to be. So, today I want to thank you [speaks in Spanish] for giving us a corner of the world where this community can come and mourn a local hero. [Speaks in Spanish].

Thank you for the giving of the honor of recognizing what Jason means to the world but also what he means to us here on Dyckman, on the corner of 204 and Sherman. Thank you.

Lieutenant Conway: And thank you, Councilwoman De La Rosa.
It is now my pleasure to introduce the mayor of the City of New York, The Honorable Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: [Speaks in Spanish.] I struggle all the time when I come to these moments when we lose people and heroes so young. And as I sat here watching this impressive display of our elected officials on the city, state and local level and seeing the visionary mindset of councilwoman for understanding the significance of not only naming a corner after Jason but the word that was used: this is not Jason’s street, this is not Jason Avenue’s, this is not Jason’s road; this is Jason’s Way.

And when you saw the display as I thought in my mind of what is the most profound way that we can dignify the heroic status of one of our own, out of nowhere I heard someone disrupt a hero in his community, Congressman Espaillat. People are in so much pain, and when you have pain you have to turn that pain into purpose. Going to the origin of Jason wanting to be a police officer, he saw the painful moment of his brother being stopped and frisked unjustly by a police officer. Instead of yelling out, instead of using hatred, he took that painful moment and turned it into purpose. He found a purposeful way of carrying out what he was experiencing.

And he did not stop there by donning the blue uniform of a police officer or pinning the shield on his chest, he joined the Dyckman Run Club and encouraged other young people. He volunteered. He was a symbol of strength. was a symbol of manhood, of who we want our young men to be. And then you watch his beautiful wife who he loved, true definition of romance, understanding that something was wrong that I did not hear from my other half, something I’m feeling is not right.

And I would say over and over again as I stated at Ruschell Boone’s funeral earlier this week, it was the energy. Energy can’t be destroyed, it just transforms itself, and we just have to acknowledge the existence of it. Your husband is still here, still among us. His energy is still here, and we just have to welcome the presence of it. And we have such a role to do. I don’t know why God took this beautiful hero from us at this moment. But I also question that 33 years old — by some scholars — he also took his only son Jesus from us. But it split history from AD to BC and we defined how we judge time through the name of Jesus. Today we define this Way based on Jason’s life.

Someone is going to walk by here and look up and ask, who was Detective Jason Rivera?  Someone is going to be on the wrong path to do something harmful and realize the significance of this moment. He’s the ambassador that is telling the story of the Dominican community that has contributed so much to the city and country. He’s become a symbol of what’s great about the dedication and the love affair between a dad and a mom and a brother. And the character and the dignity. This is such an important moment. It’s a painful moment, but it’s a purposeful moment.

And I can’t answer the questions that lingered over us on how long God wants us to exist, because it doesn’t get any easier if we lose a loved one at 21 or 101. And I know it’s unnatural for mothers to bury their sons and dads to bury their sons. I know that. But I also know my heart is so ingrained in the belief in God. God has a purpose for everything, and everything is done on his time and in his way. In every dark moment that I have experienced, I realized it was a moment for me to understand there was something I needed to come out of that moment with.

And I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what to say to soothe your pain. But all I can tell you, to you and your beautiful child, that your husband is still with you. Just close your eyes, you still feel him. You still hear his voice, you still hear his sound. You still smell a fragrance. You still remember something silly he may have done and you may smile. He’s still here. Energy never dies, it just transforms. Take that transformation. He’s going to be part of your forever journey.

And I truly thank you, Councilwoman. This is such an important moment for all of us for what you’re doing to allow us to see. Jason didn’t live life through our way, he didn’t live life through someone’s else’s way. He lived life through his way; and today, we are naming the street in the community that he loved Jason Rivera’s Way. Thank you.

Lieutenant Conway: And thank you, Mayor Adams. It’s now my honor to introduce Detective Jason Rivera’s wife, Mrs. Dominique Rivera.

Dominique Rivera: Good morning. I want to start by thanking each of you for being here today and showing up for Jason. You would think that as time goes by the pain and grief shrink, but the truth is you learn to grow around the grief; and because of that, I can stand in front of all of you today filled with so much joy and pride.

Today we come together to remember and celebrate the little boy who grew up in this neighborhood, the little boy with chubby cheeks and dimples and a bright smile, the little boy who would sit in front of the building stops talking and joking with his friends not knowing the impact he would have on all of us today.

As many of you know, Jason joined the NYPD to improve the relationship between his community and the police. Jason was so proud to wear his blue uniform and be part of the NYPD, but more importantly, to protect and serve this community. And I cannot think of a better way to honor and celebrate him than to have a street named after him in his Inwood neighborhood. Words can’t describe the amount of gratitude I have for all of you. I hope that whenever someone passes by this street and reads Jason’s name, they are reminded of the sacrifice and feel encouraged, motivated and inspired to go after their dreams.

Thank you to everybody who made this possible and for other unwavering support that our family has received throughout our most difficult times, starting from our former Commissioner Sewell whose words and heartfelt sentiments always brought comfort and upliftment, to our current Commissioner Caban, Mayor Adams, the 32 Precinct, NYDO, and Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. Thank you.

Lieutenant Conway: And thank you, Mrs. Rivera. At this time I’d like to invite the Rivera family to join the members of our dais and our dignitaries in the audience over to the corner for the unveiling.

NYC September 16 2023

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