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Officer Diller out on assignment. (Photo credit NYPD 105th Precinct on Facebook)

Death Of LI Cop Ignites Conversations On Policy Change

On Monday, March 25, NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller of Massapequa Park was fatally shot while conducting a stop in Far Rockaway, Queens. The incident took place when Officer Diller and a second officer were conducting a vehicle stop with two people inside on Mott Avenue at around 5:45 p.m.

Officer Diller was promptly brought to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition but later died.

On Tuesday, March 26, hundreds or thousands of police officers and fire fighters assembled on the Long Island Expressway for symbolic honor guard and procession for Officer Diller.

Public vigils and a wake were held for Diller ahead of his funeral, with former president Donald Trump stopping by the wake on March 28.

NYPD members salute Diller farewell. (Photo credit NYC Police Benevolent Association on Facebook)

In the wake of this tragedy, the community has come together to support one another and express their grief. In an X (formerly Twitter) post, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office stated, “Our thoughts are with Police Officer Jonathan Diller’s family, his Massapequa Park community, and the members of the NYPD as they mourn his tragic loss. We will always remember his heroism and bravery.” NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban added, “We struggle to find the words to express the tragedy of losing one of our own. The work that Police Officer Jonathan Diller did each day to make this city a safer place will never be forgotten. We pray for his family and brothers and sisters in blue as we cope with this immense loss.”

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Department stated, “Sheriff La Rocco and the men and women of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department offer their deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of New York City Police Department Officer Jonathan Diller. May he rest in peace.” And from the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, “Our condolences go out to the family of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller and all of our NYPD brothers and sisters during this difficult time.”

State Senator Kevin Thomas released the statement, “We mourn the loss of Police Officer Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed last night while making a [street] stop. My thoughts and prayers are with the Diller family, P.O. Diller’s friends, and his colleagues. May he rest in peace.”

“Simply devastating. We extend our deepest sympathies to Police Officer Jonathan Diller’s family. May he rest in peace. We will not condone this act of violence. Standing in solidarity with the NYPD community as we mourn this tragic loss,” said Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages.

Following Diller’s passing, community officials have reignited conversations about criminal reform and gun policies.

Diller was well-liked by fellow officers. (Photo credit NYPD 105th Precinct on Facebook)

The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) released a statement citing the officer’s death was influenced by the ‘Less is More’ parole law. “The man who shot [Officer Diller], Guy Rivera, is a violent felony offender who was released from Parole Supervision in 2022 thanks to a component of ‘Less is More’ called ‘30 for 30.’ For every 30 days without a parole violation, a parolee earns 30 days off his sentence,” said PEF President Wayne Spence, who worked as a New York State parole officer for nearly 20 years before being elected PEF president in 2015.

“Mr. Rivera was hardly a model parolee,” Spence continued. “He was first incarcerated in 2011 for Attempted Assault in the First Degree, during which he also discharged a firearm at his victim. In 2016, Rivera was released on parole and soon rearrested for selling drugs. Five years later, in 2021, he was granted parole again and when ‘Less is More’ became New York State law in 2022, he was given credit for 10 months of good behavior despite not complying with the board-imposed stipulations of his parole. This misguided law put a violent felon back into the community without regard to the community’s safety, and now the Diller family doesn’t have a husband or a father.”

Spence continued, “Sadly, Mr. Rivera’s story is not unique. ‘30 for 30’ has allowed 20,000 parolees to be released from community supervision without successful completion of the very programs that are intended to help them maintain productive lives – things like substance abuse, mental health and sex offender treatment. It is time for the New York State legislature to amend ‘Less is More’ and return power to the State’s parole officers, who want nothing more than to help parolees get back on their feet and reintegrate into their community.”

Keshia Gilyard, who identified herself as Rivera’s mother, said she hasn’t spoken to her son in five months, but has a lot of questions for him and the police: What happened in Monday night’s shooting? How did the encounter escalate? Why was her son traveling with a gun? “There a lot of questions I have for my son,” said Gilyard, 56, of Long Island City, Queens, in an interview with Newsday. “I love him and just want to know what happened. I just want to know why he would go as far as to fire a firearm at an officer.”

Tensions also rise with new efforts from Nassau County members such as Executive Bruce Blakeman, who is currently working on policies to deputize armed residents during declared emergencies. As gun shootings — even those of armed officers — escalate nationwide, officials and citizens alike are demanding reforms to better ensure the safety of their communities. Though for now, it seems there is no consensus as to how this might best be accomplished.

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