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A beloved Marine Park cop who languished in a coma for seven months following a near-fatal motorcycle accident has died.
A sea of blue uniforms washed over Green-Wood Cemetery Wednesday as thousands said farewell to Police Officer Michael Weinstein -- a cop who had only walked the beat for 18 months before falling into his long slumber.
“Michael did not have a lot of time on the street, but he carried himself well,” said Captain Michael Deddo, the commanding officer of the Brooklyn South Task Force, where Weinstein was part of an Impact Response Team. “He impressed everyone he worked with. He was a natural leader.”
In turn, the cops impressed Michael’s family, who were astounded by the support they received from the cops at Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, especially since their son, a graduate at St. Edmund’s High School, was still considered a “Rookie” when he was injured.
“My son hadn’t been on the job for two years, but I can’t imagine a funeral for a captain or a chief having the same turn out as Michael’s had,” said Stewart Weinstein, an FDNY paramedic. “There were thousands of cops standing out there in the snow in their blue uniforms and white gloves. It was really moving.”
The support was even more surprising given the fact that most of Weinstein’s academy classmates who served with in the Patrol Borough Brooklyn South Task Force had already done their tour as an Impact cop and moved on.
The cops currently serving in the Task Force were in the academy when Michael was injured and had never met the man.
Still, these officers never left his side either at the hospital or when he finally returned home.
“They all pitched in, they came by to keep their eyes on him and helped us with whatever we needed,” Stewart said. “They really stepped up to the plate in our time of need. They had an instant concept about what the job is all about -- that everyone is connected.”
“[The cops] showed they were truly part of Michael’s family by visiting him on their own time and helping out his family whenever they could,” said Deddo. “I think it’s going to make them better police officers.”
In turn, the Weinstein family will never forget all of the support they received. The love they’ve received has encouraged Michael’s sister’s Melanie to join the NYPD Law Enforcement Explorers. Michael’s other sister Stacey is just months away from joining the academy, Stewart said.
“Thanks to Michael, we were introduced to the NYPD family,” he said. “Now we’re truly an NYPD family.”
“It’s been rough, it’s an unnatural thing,” Stewart said, when asked about how they are coping with Michael’s death. “Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. But all of the cops who gave their support made it very clear that this is not the end. Their support of the family will continue forever. It’s not a circus. They’re not going to pack up their tents and move on. They’ve proven that because they still come by every day to see if we need anything.”
Chief Joseph Fox, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, freely admits that he was never really acquainted with Officer Weinstein during the young cop’s tour with the Task Force.
“But I got to know him so much better through the accident and his tragic passing,” he said. “He was someone who loved this job, loved people, loved life and loved his family.”
“He had an amazing impact on both his family and, through them, has influenced us in so many ways,” he said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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