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