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A final turn of the key: Downtown cops leave slain officers’ lockers as memorials - Brooklyn Paper

A final turn of the key: Downtown cops leave slain officers’ lockers as memorials

Officers remembered: A memorial in the muster room of the 84th Precinct honors Dets. Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
Photo by Jason Speakman

The lockers once used by Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the Downtown police officers murdered in Bedford-Stuyvesant in December, have been packed with mementos and sealed up for good, never to be used by another cop.

“As long as this building stands, those lockers are going to be memorialized,” said Capt. Sergio Centa, the 84th Precinct’s commanding officer.

The precinct has also made a display out of the dozens of patches police departments from around the country donated in the weeks following the officers’ deaths, at the hands of a gunman who called the act revenge for police killings of unarmed black men. The precinct and its community council have also put up plaques honoring Liu and Ramos. Centa said the markers are more permanent than the huge amount of sympathy gifts that piled up at the station house and the site of the ambush in the weeks after the murders.

“The flowers don’t last. The candles don’t last. We wanted to see something on the wall,” Centa said.

The plaques are not the official police department-issued brass ornaments. Those will be unveiled at a ceremony on the one year anniversary of the officers’s deaths.

“We thought it was important to get something up now,” Centa said.

Recoginition: A plaque honoring Det. Rafael Ramos is displayed in the muster room of his home precinct in
Downtown.
Photo by Jason Speakman

The plaques were presented at last week’s community council meeting in the muster room, with family members of the slain officers in attendance. Centa said Liu and Ramos were very family-oriented.

“I’ve gotten to know the families pretty well,” he said. “I got to know what good families these guys came from, and that they were the centers of these families.”

Centa said the officers under his command all enjoyed working with Liu and Ramos, and have had to lean on each other while trying to move past their loss. It is not a new experience for many in the 84th Precinct, which lost Officer Alain Schaberger in 2011 when a domestic abuser pushed him over the railing of a stoop in Boerum Hill.

“Many of these officers have been through this before, which helps them, but also piles on,” Centa said. “Three officers in four years. It’s just not fair.”

Centa said the outpouring of support in the immediate aftermath of the latest killings was definitely appreciated.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “There were visitors from all over every day.”

Remembered: A plaque memorializes slain cop Wenjian Liu in the 84th Precinct station house, where he was based.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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