On a bitterly cold night in February, William Bratton, New York City’s police commissioner, joined several hundred uniformed officers for an informal memorial service at the corner of 107th Avenue and Inwood Street, in Jamaica, Queens. It was past midnight, and everyone was waiting for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was due to speak. Twenty-seven years earlier, on February 26, 1988, a twenty-two-year-old officer named Edward Byrne was shot and killed on that corner, on orders from a drug dealer, as he sat in his patrol car guarding the home of a witness. The memorial is an annual rite for many city cops, and is a reminder of how much tougher New York’s streets were at the time of the murder. That year, there were eighteen hundred and ninety-six homicides in the city, many of them drug-related. In 2014, there were three hundred and twenty-eight, a record low. Byrne’s death drew national headlines, and President Reagan phoned the Byrne family to offer his condolences.
Read the full article from Ken Auletta in The New Yorker [HERE].