Officers from the 104th Precinct took it upon themselves to turn one Ridgewood family’s Christmas into a merry one.
After learning of how an abusive father’s rage was ruining the lives of his wife and four children, a handful of Queens cops came together to collect more than $1,200 in cash to keep the kids’ Christmas spirit alive.
Capt. Christopher Manson told the story of Sgt. Martha Lequerica and Officer Nicholas Cadavid, who spearheaded the efforts to give new meaning to the holidays for the family, including the 5-year-old son left bruised and stitched from a beating. He said officers responded to the family’s calls of abuse and poor living conditions, which were later validated when they found children forced to sleep on the floor.
“They had nothing,” Manson said. “The crammed conditions there were immeasurable.”
Without skipping a beat, Manson said his officers started raising money throughout the precinct with hopes to better the lives of the beaten 5-year-old and his three siblings from 2-months-old to 11-years-old. Within hours, the precinct was able to raise over $1,200 and counting with help from the Det. Thomas Bell of community affairs as well as the domestic violence desks.
“He was an abuser,” Bell said. “He abused his children and his wife.”
Just the precinct’s crossing guards alone were able to raise more than $300 to help make the family’s holiday season a bit brighter, Manson said.
The captain said officers made deliveries over the weekend, bringing the children an assortment of items purchased with the money including a car load of Christmas toys, bunk beds, blankets, pillows, winter clothes, snow boots, chocolates and more.
“We’re just trying to improve the life of one family right now,” he said. “I think it’s going to make a significant improvement. Cops do a lot of good things”
As for the father, Manson said cops put the man in cuffs and took him away so he could no longer pose a threat to his children. The 104th Precinct requested to keep the names of the father and his family private so as not to embarrass them.
“This family is going through a really bad time right now,” said Manson, adding that a second husband was not in the country to look after the mother of the four children. “When we found out, we went to go check on the family. These guys jumped on it right away. When they think somebody needs help, they go above and beyond.”
While recognizing that not all families in similar situations could be saved, Manson said this particular case stuck to he and his crew.
“We offer everything we can,” Manson said. “We are going to keep this family under our wing.”
In other Christmas news, Manson told a crew of reporters last week of the 104th Precinct’s Ridgewood headquarters being decked out in holiday lights for the first time under his leadership. He also said the precinct would be increasing patrols throughout the western Queens territory come New Year’s Eve, especially within the first 15 minutes after the ball drops.
By Phil Corso