New York Daily News

Oct. 28, 2011


Paralyzed NYPD 'hero' Steven McDonald at ticket-fixing hearing in Bronx court to support force, indicted cops

NYPD brethren show gratitude to detective paralyzed in 1986 shooting


    Patrick Lynch ran un-opposed for his seat as president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. Rob Bennet for News
Richard Drew/AP
Paralyzed New York City Police officer Steven McDonald in the audience in Bronx state Supreme Court Friday during the arraignment of 16 New York City police officers who pleaded not guilty to corruption charges.

When Steven McDonald wheeled down the hall to Courtroom LL-210 in the Bronx Hall of Justice Friday, it was a welcome surprise for embattled officers.

The hero detective - a quadriplegic since being shot by a teenager in 1986 - is the city's most potent living symbol of bravery and sacrifice by men and women in blue.

Cheers filled the corridor as McDonald, 54, approached the courtroom where 16 officers were being arraigned on corruption charges stemming from the ticket-fixing scandal.

Inside, the third-generation cop waited in the center aisle, the whoosh of his breathing apparatus filling any silence between cases. As the accused officers were released, they each stopped by McDonald's wheelchair to express gratitude.

"Thanks for being here," one said quietly. "You're an inspiration."

Police union officials said they didn't know McDonald - whose son joined the force last year - was going to attend.

He didn't speak but sat next to them, with an American flag quilt covering his lap, at a pep rally of sorts after the hearing.

"The word hero is thrown around an awful lot these days - and it's not usually pegged at those who wear a uniform," Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said.

"Today, another person that had the courage to stay with us, to be here in this courtroom, took the time and difficulty to be here.

"And I heard the respect you've shown as he went up the sidewalk, went into this building and rolled down that hallway," he added. "Well, let's do it again!"

With that, several hundred cops cheered or yelled "Steve!"