Rose Garden praise for Times Square cop
The hero cop who evacuated New Yorkers under threat from a car bomb on May 1 has already had dinner with the mayor and been visited by President Barack Obama. Now he’s also received a shout-out from Obama in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden honoring about 25 officers from across the country who won “Top Cop” awards for showing unusual bravery.
Obama praised police Lieutenant Wayne Rhatigan’s handling of the failed Times Square car bombing as a good example of cooperation between citizens and the police.
“Alerted by two street vendors that smoke was coming out of a suspicious vehicle, NYPD Officer Wayne Rhatigan immediately realized the potential danger and, along with other officers on the scene, helped clear the area quickly and safely,” Obama said on Thursday, after visiting Rhatigan and other officers in New York on Wednesday.
“The NYPD’s elite bomb squad unit then spent over five hours defusing the device. And just two days after the attempted terrorist attack -– thanks to the outstanding work of local, state and federal officials -– a suspect was in custody,” Obama said.
“Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting the NYPD Real Time Crime Center and meeting Officer Rhatigan and other officers whose quick thinking and cooperation may have saved hundreds of lives. Like the folks behind me, they succeeded because they were well trained, they were vigilant, and they were ready,” he said.
Faisal Shahzad has been accused of trying to set off a crude bomb made of fuel and fireworks in a vehicle parked in Times Square on May 1. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the failed attack.
Photo credit: U.S. President Barack Obama greets police officers during a ceremony honoring the 2010 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners at the White House in Washington May 14, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque