Dozens walked through Liberty State Park to honor the memory of late Jersey City Police Department Det. Melvin Santiago with views of the Statue of Liberty, downtown Jersey City, and Lower Manhattan on display.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
His family along with police officers, their families, and friends walked from the 13 flags on the old Black Tom Island down to the bridge to Ellis Island.
Santiago was killed at the Walgreens at the intersection of Communipaw Avenue and John F. Kennedy Boulevard on July 13, 2014, exactly seven years ago from next Tuesday.
“It still feels like yesterday,” said Cathy McBride, the mother of Melvin Santiago, said as she became emotion during her remarks. “To see so much love and support still, after all this time, it’s so humbling and I’m thankful to all of you.”
She thanked active and retired police as well as first responders for marching with them.
Melvin’s uncles Vince and Frank DeFazio, as we as his brother Alex, carried the Det. Melvin Santiago Foundation banner and led the way for the walkers.
In the middle of the walk, the procession stopped to drop flower petals in the water by the Statue of Liberty in Santiago’s honor.
The walk was held for the first time in 2019 and was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a beautiful event right here. It’s great that the law enforcement community comes out. I’m here on behalf of the community and this is great to honor his legacy,” said activist Frank “Educational” Gilmore, also a Ward F Council candidate.
“Any time someone takes the oath to serve and protect and then die in the line of fire to uphold that pledge, it’s an honorable thing,” he said.
Gilmore continued that police officers he knows spoke well of Santiago, calling him “a stand-up gentleman.”
Hudson County Commissioner Anthony “Stick” Romano, a former Hoboken police captain, also participated in the walk “to honor and always remember a brother officer who gave his life in the line of service,” he said.
“It’s very important to me to support the Santiago family and my brother and sister. I hope that in the future more people come out. “We’re all brothers and sisters and our main goal is always to serve our constituency.”
Co-Vice President of Blacks in Law Enforcement Serving the Community (BLESC) Shaun Spence marched with a blue police American flag in tow.
“He was a good friend of mine, a great classmate, a really great guy He had a great career ahead of him,” Spence said, noting that Santiago was 23 years old when he was murdered and that they were in the same 2013 recruitment class.