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SI Ferry Should Be Named After Russel Timoshenko, Councilmen Say

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 3, 2017 2:04pm | Updated on February 6, 2017 9:48am
 A group of three Council members, lead by Councilman Joe Borelli, introduced a resolution to push the city to name one of the new Staten Island Ferry boats after murdered NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko.
A group of three Council members, lead by Councilman Joe Borelli, introduced a resolution to push the city to name one of the new Staten Island Ferry boats after murdered NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — A plan to name a Staten Island Ferry boat after murdered NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko will be considered by the city council.

Council members Joe Borelli, Steven Matteo and Mark Treyger will introduce a resolution to call on the mayor and the Department of Transportation to name one of two new boats after the police officer, who was gunned down in 2007 during a car stop in Brooklyn.

"Detective Russel Timoshenko embodied so much of what makes the people of this country and this city exceptional — in his courage as a police officer, his selfless service to his community and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect all of us," Matteo said in a statement.

"Though his life was cut short by a cowardly act of violence, his brave legacy should be preserved — and what more fitting way to do that than have his name emblazoned on the ferry that has become an icon of the borough he called home."

The resolution comes after a group of Russian-Americans started a petition last year to name the boat after Timoshenko, who was born in Belarus.

The petition got nearly 5,800 signatures and was tweeted out by the NYPD's 71st Precinct, where Timoshenko worked.

"They moved to the U.S. to find a better life and just lost their only son," Natasha Trunova, who started the petition, previously told DNAinfo New York about Timoshenko's family.

"He's really the representation of a true immigrant as we see it."

Timoshenko came to the United States when he was 9-years-old. He graduated from Tottenville High School in Staten Island and became an NYPD officer in 2006, the New York Times reported.

In 2007, Timoshenko, then 23, was on patrol in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens when he and his partner pulled over a stolen black BMW, according to the Times.

As he approached the passenger side, Dexter Bostic opened the window and fired several shots, hitting Timoshenko in the face. He died five days later, the Times reported.

Timoshenko was a member of the Russian-American Officers Association and was promoted to detective after his death.

"It would be an immense honor to see Russel’s name, in memory of his sacrifice, be displayed on a Staten Island ferry boat, a ferry he took for years while traveling to college along with his mom who was traveling to work," said Michael Belogorodsky, former president of the Russian-American Officers Association, in a statement.

"Russel gave his life to make our streets safer and we should do whatever we can to ensure that he will never be forgotten."

His death was described as a "big shake to our community" by Trunova, who never met Timoshenko, and the idea to name the boat stemmed from a thread on a Facebook page for Russian-Americans on Staten Island.

The city is replacing three of the oldest boats in the Staten Island Ferry fleet. De Blasio allocated $328 million to build the new ones in last year's budget.

One of the new boats will be named after Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, the Staten Island soldier who died while shielding a Polish fighter he didn't know from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. That ship is expected to set sail in 2019.

The second 4,300-passenger boat is expected to be ready in 2019 and the third in early 2020.

The names for the other two boats are still up for grabs, but several people have started dueling campaigns to claim them.

Suggestions include NYPD detectives Rodney J. Andrews and James V. Nemorin, who were killed during an undercover gun bust in 2013; former Richmond County Clerk Mario J. Esposito and his wife Angelina J. Esposito, who worked with charitable and community organizations; and Edward del Pino, a retired NYPD officer who subdued a crazed man who used a sword to kill two people aboard the ferry in 1986.

So far the petition for Timoshenko has gathered the most signatures.

"We are grateful for Det. Timoshenko’s work protecting the lives of New Yorkers," said Raul Contreras, a spokesman for the mayor.

"We look forward to working with constituents and elected officials to determine the future names of our public spaces and ferries."