THE BRONX — Thousands of mourners, including police officers from around the world and neighbors holding American, police and Dominican flags, gathered Tuesday to remember slain Officer Miosotis Familia who was fatally shot by a mentally unstable ex-con last week.
Familia's funeral fell exactly 12 years after she joined the the NYPD, a job that made her family proud, they said.
She was compared to Wonder Woman and other superheroes by those who eulogized her — a "lovable goof" who smiled at everyone, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said before he posthumously promoted her to detective.
Familia was the first in her family to attend college and obtain her degree, and often told her children that becoming a police officer was "her calling."
"My mom wasn't just a cop, a police officer, a detective," her eldest daughter, Genesis Villela, 20, said at the funeral inside The World Changers Church on the Grand Concourse, adding that these jobs were important on their own. But she was so much more, she said.
"My mom, she is protector, defender, guidance counselor, spiritual advisor, philosopher, philanthropist, theorist, and mother."
Her son Peter, who she called Jacob, said she put on a uniform because "she was brave enough to do it."
"She loved us," he said. "She wanted to sacrifice for us, so she did it."
"She had me, and my siblings in her heart," Villela told the crowd inside the church. "I know she had love in her heart."
The commanding officer of the 46th Precinct, Inspector Philip P. Rivera, called on the city to make the Grand Concourse a Canyon of Heroes in honor of the officer he called "Mio."
"When I'm faced with tough decisions, I'll ask myself: What would Mio do?," he told her family.
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But there was also indignation at the funeral.
During his remarks, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said Alexander Bonds, who killed Familia, had consumed a "toxic" mix of anti-police messaging in the media.
"Regular people sign up to be cops. They sign up for this job of protecting strangers knowing there are inherent risks. But not one of us ever agreed to be murdered in an act of indefensible hate," he said during his emotional speech.
"So where are the demonstrations for this single mom who cared for her elderly mom and her own three children? There is anger and sorrow, but why is there no outrage? Because Miosotis was wearing a uniform? Because it was her job. I simply do not accept that. Miosotis was targeted, ambushed, and assassinated."
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been criticized by some for his trip to Germany shortly after Officer Familia was murdered, also spoke at the funeral, saying Familia "embodied the American Dream."
"She loved this city and she loved this country because she understood its magic. She saw what was possible – what it meant for herself and her children," he said. "She lived for them, but she died for all of us.
"We must be the guardians of those who protect us. We must help our police just as we ask them to help us in our moment of need," he said.
As he spoke, some officers outside appeared to turn their backs to the church — similar to the funerals of Detectives Ramos and Liu in 2014.
O'Neill said the climate is different than it was in 2017, but officers still needed support.
"She wasn't given a chance to defend herself. That should matter to every single person who can hear my voice in New York City and beyond," he said.
Bonds, 34, who served at least two terms in state prison for drug and armed robbery, had been tracked by police and emergency medical workers in the hours leading up to the shooting after his girlfriend called officials.
She didn't know he was armed, and only feared he would hurt himself, according to the NYPD.
Bonds was later shot and killed by officers during a short chase after he fled following the single fatal shot to Familia.
Calvin Hunt, 55, brought his nine-year-old son Cameron to hold a Blue Lives Matter banner, with photos of other police officers killed in the line of duty.
Pat Lynch, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said his focus was on ensuring officers remained safe, and looking after Familia's children.
"We will take care of them. We will never replace their mother, but we can make sure that they hear the stories, they remember her for what she was, and equally important — the folks on the street here they realize what's been lost," he said.
"After this funeral is over, we can't just go away."