NEW YORK — A petition is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to name a portion of Central Park in honor of NYPD Det. Steven McDonald.
The Change.org petition was created two months ago by Stevin Azo Michels. According to Michels, he was friends with the late detective in college.
“In the years since I watched his amazing journey and was shown life lessons about humanity and the human spirit that are simply boundless,” said Michels in the petition description.
McDonald, 59, died on Jan. 10 after having a heart attack four days earlier.
The first-grade detective was paralyzed from the neck down in 1986 after he was shot by a teen bicycle thief in Central Park.
“There could be no finer location for such a tribute than in Central Park.
McDonald spent the next 30 years traveling the world to promote messages of forgiveness, faith and love.
He would visit inner-city schools and war-torn countries such as Bosnia and Israel.
“He spoke with President Reagan, met with Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela, and — in 2015 — saw Pope Francis in Central Park, not far from where his life changed forever,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill at his funeral.
As of Sunday afternoon, the petition had 706 supporters, including McDonald’s friends and family.
“Steven was my older brother, and he gave his life protecting people in Central Park as a member of the Central Park Precinct. This is the right thing to do, Mr. Mayor,” wrote Owen McDonald.
“He was one of the best examples of what a police officer is all about. He set the bar very high for all of the current and retired police officers to live up to… strength and courage,” George Reynolds posted as his reason for signing.
If the petition reaches 1,000 signatures, it will be sent to Mayor de Blasio.