Staten Island Advance
November 24, 2013

Staten Island officers receive “Finest of the Finest” awards from NYPD union

By John M. Annese/Staten Island Advance 

At a ceremony to recognize the “Finest of the Finest” are, from left, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Trustee George Winkler; Police Officers Michael Manley and Daniel Castillo of the 122 Pct.; PBA President Patrick J. Lynch; Police Officers Michael Smith and Gregory Gordon of the 120 Pct. and PBA Financial Secretary Albert Acierno. (NYCPBA photo by William H. Baker)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Four borough police officers who faced down two armed robbery suspects have been hailed as "The Finest of the Finest" by the city's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Officers Gregory Gordon and Michael Smith, who were assigned to the 120th Precinct, received the honor after shooting and arresting Michael Walker, 28, a convicted violent felon who had been out of prison for four months, this past February.

Gordon and Smith had received a tip about a home invasion robbery in Port Richmond just before 11:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and spotted Walker, who matched the description of the suspect. When they identified themselves as police officers, Walker fled, then spun around and pointed a 9 mm Smith & Wesson at them, according to police.

Each officer fired once, and Walker was hit, non-fatally, in the chest. Walker remains held on $150,000 bail as he awaits prosecution.

The PBA also honored officers Daniel Castillo and Michael Manley for a confrontation that earned them the title of Police Officers of the Year in 2011.

Manley and Castillo were taking a 3 a.m. meal break at the Golden Dove Diner in Greenridge on Oct. 20, 2011, when a masked man - later identified as Michael Grimes, a repeat felon suspected in a number of stickups -- walked in, brandished a firearm and tried to rob the place.

The officers, who were on duty, identified themselves, and tried to convince Grimes to put down his gun. Instead, Grimes pointed his gun at them, and Castillo fired a shot, missing him.

The bandit ran out, with both officers in pursuit. They opened fire, hitting him in the thigh before he could drive off.

Police caught Grimes after he crashed into a fence two miles away, in New Springville. He was sentenced last year to 14 years in state prison, public records show.

The officers were feted along with 33 other NYPD officers and three sergeants during a ceremony at the Water Club in Manhattan on Thursday.

"We consider this a New York City police officer's most important award," PBA President Pat Lynch said, "because, as I always say, we award it to each other."