Volume 77 / Number 48 - April 30 - May 6, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Auxiliaries’ families getting benefits
By Albert Amateau
The U.S. Department of Justice last week reversed its unpopular decision to deny federal benefits for the two Sixth Precinct auxiliary police officers who were killed on duty in March 2007 while patrolling the Village.
The Justice Department had ruled last month that the families of Nicholas Pekearo, 28, and Yevgeniy Marshalik, 19, did not qualify for the $300,000 each of death benefits because the two auxiliaries did not have arrest powers.
The decision provoked a storm of protest. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly testified at a Justice Department hearing last month that the two auxiliaries, in uniform but not armed, were acting as police officers on March 14, 2007, when David Garvin, who had just fatally shot an employee in a W. Houston St. restaurant, gunned them down on MacDougal St.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer asked U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to intervene. On April 24, Mukasey told Schumer that the decision denying the families the benefits of the federal Safety Officers’ Benefits Program was overturned.
A spokesperson for Schumer said the families should be getting the benefits in a couple of weeks.
Marshalik, a native of Russia and a sophomore at New York University, intended to go to law school and become an F.B.I agent. His father, Boris, said he would give the benefit check to charity.
“I’m just glad justice has been served for my son and Nicholas,” he said.
Pekearo, born in the Village and a graduate of the High School for the Humanities in Chelsea, intended to enter the Police Academy later this year. His mother, Iola Latman, said, “I’m glad that they have realized what these young men did and honored their memories.”