Bill Seeks Harsher Penalties for Attacks on Auxiliary Officers
WEST VILLAGE — A new bill in memory of slain auxiliary police officers Nicholas Pekearo and Yevgeniy Marshalik would increase the penalties for attacking one of the volunteer officers, making the offense on par with hurting a full member of the NYPD.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced the bill last week, seven years after Pekearo and Marshalik were fatally shot while volunteering with the NYPD's 6th Precinct in the Village.
Hoylman said "deadly acts" against auxiliary officers should carry "equal weight under the law as similar crimes against police and peace officers."
The bill would add language to existing penal code that makes killing a "police or peace officer" an aggravated charge. For example, a person found guilty of murdering an auxiliary officer would currently be sentenced to life in prison with parole, but under the bill the person would be sentenced to life without parole, a spokesman for Hoylman said.
"There's a loophole here," Hoylman said of the current law.
The fatal shooting of Pekearo and Marshalik shocked the Village May 14, 2007. The gunman, David Garvin, fired 15 rounds into the back of a bartender at the now-closed De Marco's Pizzeria and Restaurant on West Houston Street at MacDougal Street, then took off running.
Pekearo, 28, and Marshalik, 19, chased him as he reloaded, and were shot dead on Sullivan Street. Police later caught up with Garvin on Bleecker Street and killed him.
Auxiliary officers wear NYPD-issued uniforms and go out on foot patrol, but they do not carry firearms. Since Pekearo and Marshalik's deaths, the NYPD issues bulletproof vests to all auxiliary officers, which they are required to wear while on duty.
The Auxiliary Police Benevolent Association, a union representing auxiliary police officers, has previously tried to fight for a bill similar to the one Holyman introduced, to ensure harsher punishment for those who harm auxiliaries.
"This legislation recognizes that all police officers, whether volunteer or not, deserve our gratitude and protection for putting their own lives at risk to protect ours," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.
Hoylman said he hoped the bill conveyed to the victims' families "how important they were to the Village."
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.
The bill does not yet have any co-sponsors and no equivalent has been introduced in the Assembly.