An Open Letter to Mayor Steven. M. Fulop from the Santiago Family


Dear Mayor Fulop,

 We write to you today as a bereaved family still grieving the loss of Detective Melvin V. Santiago. This is the second time we have resorted to writing after numerous attempts to discuss the inappropriate and insensitive treatment our family endured from city and police officials during our time of loss.

Following receipt of our July 23rd letter you agreed to meet with us the following Monday.  We believed this meeting would allow us to clear the air and bring some measure of closure about our concerns.  Sadly, the situation quickly turned to disappointment when we were faced with disdain by you and the other city officials in attendance.  The conduct at the meeting added to our initial apprehension as to how our family was mistreated.  We originally sought an apology from your administration and wished to prevent similar mistreatment for families of color when interacting with Jersey City officials. You assured us a response and plan of action would be prepared for August 1st but we have yet to hear back from you.  It is unfortunate that the City of Jersey City still refuses to acknowledge that Melvin has paternal relatives that loved him dearly.

Melvin made the ultimate sacrifice for the city he loved.  We truly appreciate all the efforts that you and the Jersey City Police Department made to honor his sacrifice and his memory.  His hiring as a police officer underscored the trend of inclusion within the great and diverse city of Jersey City.  Our regret is that we were not allowed to equally participate in the grieving process.

It is our sincere prayer and hope that the city government of Jersey City and the Jersey City Police Department will use this as a “teachable moment”.   We remain optimistic that the people of Jersey City will rise up against negative perceptions and believe that Jersey City’s greatest days are yet to come.

We are eternally grateful to the thoughtful people of Jersey City and those that have reached out from across the nation to honor our fallen hero. We ask you to continue to keep our family in your prayers.


The Santiago Family 

About The Author


  1. Ivette Báez via Facebook

    HUH??? Poor taste if you ask me! I’m so sorry to say this but it sounds like the “paternal” side of the family is looking for money…I would love to hear the facts.

  2. Ivette

    HUH??? Poor taste if you ask me! I’m so sorry to say this but it sounds like the “paternal” side of the family is looking for money…I would love to hear the facts.

  3. Gene Harmon via Facebook

    Very sad situation. Grieving people often do and say strange things. They deserve the benefit of a doubt. The might, however, be looking to sue.

  4. Ziggler Allen via Facebook

    “This is the second time we have resorted to writing after numerous attempts to discuss the inappropriate and insensitive treatment our family endured from city and police officials during our time of loss.”

    Whaaaat?? I don’t get it.

  5. Diana Calderon

    Jersey City did an amazing job the funerals, wake, burial they honored Melvin they way he deserved. But is sad it sound like they want money smh some people are soooo low using their sons death to get money smh RIP OFFICER MELVIN SANTIAGO

  6. jcfinest91


  7. Joseph La Morte via Facebook

    Hudson County Tv, what is your motive here??? Are you trying to gain favor with another unnamed local politician? Has Steven Fulop stole his thunder? You are not a news organization, remove this posting and stop making this young brave officer’s death a political football!

  8. Tommy samsom

    Pay attention, the paternal side which is the fathers side wrote this disgusting letter. Its obvious there was no relationship there between the fallen hero and that sad excuse for the paternal family who are starving for attention rather than mourning the slain officer . Why is hudson county tv entertaining such nonsense!!! SMH

  9. Maria

    What deadbeats! Sounds like they only worried about what they can get instead of mourning rhe poor officer. thoughts and prayers to the mom and her family. Stay strong, the good ppl of jc is on your side

  10. Jessica Mora via Facebook

    I still haven’t found the back story on this. Horrible reporting. LETTER IS NOT EVEN SIGNED?? Please give a complete report before posting an “open letter”

  11. Fair and Equal

    Yes, please what is the real background story? Because that open letter is just a piece, and it would be great if the mayor shared all his letters from the Santiago family, or memos in his administration regarding the ceremonies and funeral, and what later came their grievance against his treatment of them. Anyone say Open Public Records Act of NJ? This is an open letter, of course, so it’s out in the open. But can we also view the memos and letters to and from his office? “All government records are subject to public access under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”)”. I’d love to know more of the story.

    As a matter of opinion (since there are several opinions here), the Santiago family has no gripe against the maternal family. (I will use the terms “maternal and paternal” as it was referred to in comments). The paternal side wasn’t allowed to mourn like the maternal side was able to. Just wanted to be able to mourn and grieve like they were his family as well, immediate family. No one on the paternal side needs money, nor wants money, nor is requesting it. They were not allowed to be a part of the grieving process as family, as the other side was.

    The Santiago family is made up of the Santiago family, not just DeFazio McBride. Rest in Peace Melvin. You also adored and loved the Santiago side that bears your name and would hate to see them not allowed to grieve for you as others were. For the sake of having peace and focusing on honoring you, the Santiago family mourned during the events humbly and quietly.

    I feel bad for both sides, they both lost a son, grandson, cousin, nephew, and no one will ever grieve like a mother will grieve; no one is taking that away, ever. But he did have another family that he was very close to as well, and that has not been acknowledged. Again, I feel horrible for both families, especially his mom and little brother, absolutely. But he also has the other family he interacted with as much, and another little brother that bears his last name, who cried in silence, that no one has acknowledged.

    No, they seek no money, nor do not need money; just wanted to be recognized during the processionals, or ceremony or funeral as family as well; say a few words, say their proper good byes. How they have no regrets, because they shared in his life so much. The aunts, the uncles, the cousins he shared with so often, even up until shortly before his passing, his other little brother, who bears his last name. He was not adopted; he has a family that loves him and shared with him as much.***

    The City and Mayor did a wonderful job honoring the fallen hero; it was an amazing series of events honoring the young police officer that many will remember for years to come, that family members and friends will remember for a lifetime: the honoring of a hero and loved one who gave his life in service to the city he loved and grew up in. But both families should have been recognized for losing him.

    Signs a friend who knows both families, who refuses to pick sides, but chooses to acknowledge both. RIP Melvin. You’re in heaven now, and won’t need to deal with earthly drama any more. RIP.

    1. Gerard

      Sounds like a response from someone that works in politics…

      You say ” the Santiago family mourned during the events humbly and quietly”, which I’m guessing you mean the paternal side. Im sorry but taking photos and videos during a wake isnt something humble or quiet. You’re there to pay your respects and remember the person and the life they led. Not to take photos and videos.

      If the paternal side of the family really wanted to mourn, they would be respectful and wait some time before making open letters and attacks on the JC government’s handling of the situation. Mel’s life should be your focus. Remembering his life and his efforts to be the great man he became should be your focus. Not pandering to the city because “The paternal side wasn’t allowed to mourn like the maternal side was able to. Just wanted to be able to mourn and grieve like they were his family as well, immediate family”. Who was preventing their ability to mourn? No one is the answer as there was not a preventive factor in the situation.

      I’m sorry but to see this kind of bickering, just really upsets me. Again I say, focus on Mel’s life and his accomplishments and not your own feelings.

  12. Denise A.

    I have followed the tragic death and news coverage of Mel Santiago from early Sunday morning, July 13th and would like to comment on some things. I am not a family member or relative, but am happy to be a friend to some of those who lost Mel. I am someone who has listened to stories about Mel through the years…The words people use can be powerful weapons and cause incredible damage. However, it is what people “do”, and their “actions” that really matter. Mel’s family suffered the most horrible tragedy anyone can ever experience. His mom, his aunts & uncles, his cousins….the people who raised him and were there for Mel on a day-in, day-out basis, THEY are the people who suffer the loss of a fine young man. I know they would give ANYTHING to have Mel back… For those people who feel that they have not been given the appropriate respect and acknowledgement in the wake of Mel’s death (on his biological father’s side), I am really sorry that none of you participated in raising Mel and watching what a fine young man he became. THAT is your loss. I am sorry that you weren’t there to teach him to ride a bike, and take him on fun outings; to watch him graduate from high school and guide him when he needed it. That is what you should be lamenting; that you were not there for him. To the person (JCFINEST91) whose comments about Mel’s mom were meant to be cruel and hurtful… I can only imagine what an upstanding (that is sarcasm in case you need me to translate) person you are. Show your face and identify yourself and what positive part YOU played in Mel’s life. Mel loved his mom and his family more than anything – the family that has photos of all of the important moments in his life.

    1. Hero

      When I went go to pay my respects at the wake all the pictures that were up were with the defazios but the santiagos claim they have all these memories with the slain officer but there wasn’t a single photo with the santiagos to begin with so its obvious the paternal family had nothing to do with the hero if you think about it. Its sad that the santiagos want stuff even know they were not in the slain officers life as it seems.i truly feel like the santiagos want to use the fallen heros death to get recognition for something they Don’t deserve.

  13. it's sad

    that’s because they didn’t put any pics up. they have pics from when he was baby to up to just recently. phone calls, texts, baseball games, bowling, albums full of pics. they didn’t put any of the santiago fam pics up and that’s not fair. they didn’t include any of them.

Leave a Reply