National News

Morrow officers show support at funeral of fallen NYPD officer

Posted July 28, 2017 4:29 p.m. EDT

— It was a sense of brotherhood and duty that spurred Morrow police officers to travel the 900 miles to New York City, where they stood in a sea of blue to honor the life of fallen Officer Miosotis Familia.

The morning of July 11, thousands of law enforcement officers lined the streets outside of a movie theater-turned-church in the Bronx. There were far too many to be seated inside, where family, both blood and blue, and dignitaries had gathered to lay Familia to rest, 12 years to the day after she joined the NYPD.

The Morrow contingency - made up of Detective Sgt. Q. Lumpkin, New York native Officer J. Collins and Detective Eli Skelton - was joined by officers from across the country and around the world. Together, they stood to salute Familia, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective.

Familia, 48, was killed in that same New York borough on the night of July 5. She had kissed her three children goodbye just one hour before, CNN reported, and was sitting in the front seat of a police truck filling out paperwork when a man fired one shot through a passenger window. Familia was struck in the head and killed.

The 34-year-old suspect, Alexander Bonds, had ranted against the police and had a lengthy criminal record. He was fatally shot during a confrontation with officers near the spot where Familia was killed, CNN reported.

On July 11, the law enforcement community turned out in substantial numbers in a show of solidarity for her funeral. Lumpkin said she was overwhelmed by the volume of uniformed police officers, filling every available space for what seemed like miles.

"Any officer death in the line of duty definitely speaks to all of us," Lumpkin said. "The opportunity to attend the funeral kind of presented itself, and this is one of those things that not a lot of officers get to experience. Even though it's a time of mourning and a time of loss, it's actually a very good experience, the brotherhood and how we come together."

As it has for the funerals of slain NYPD officers in the past, JetBlue offered free flights to New York for law enforcement officers wishing to attend Familia's funeral. The Morrow agency, which does not have an honor guard, doesn't typically send representatives to officer's funerals. But Familia's death was sharply felt by the Morrow officers, and they wanted to show their support for the NYPD.

"We just thought it would be a good gesture to go represent the state of Georgia," Lumpkin said. It was her first time ever attending a fallen officer's funeral.

She said she was humbled by the hospitality from Precinct 113, which hosted, fed and escorted them during their stay.

"Words can't express how welcomed we felt and how accepted we felt," Lumpkin said.

The officers share a common understanding of the responsibility to serve a community that is sometimes ambivalent, other times hostile towards them. Their jobs are hard and require a lot of sacrifice. For Familia, it required her life.

Standing outside the funeral July 11, Lumpkin said she still felt the weight of the tension between officers and community. But she only received warmth and positivity from the many passers-by who stopped on their way to work or to shop and honor the fallen NYPD officer.