Yesterday Newark was a stop on the 16th annual Police Unity Bike Tour, a four-day ride from New York to Washington, DC to commemorate law enforcement killed in the line of duty.
The ride helps ensure the fallen officers “will never be forgotten,” Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said as the riders -- as well as their police motorcycle escorts -- gathered at the Newark Police Memorial on Franklin Street.
Onlookers applauded when the caravan of about 200 cyclists -- including 14 officers from Newark --- rode up the street, above which flowed a giant American flag.
Yesterday’s tour had special significance for Newark’s finest, who were honoring the memory of Det. Michael Morgan, a 32-year-old officer shot and killed on Nov. 7, 7, 2011, while trying to prevent a robbery at a Paterson club he and some friends were attending.
Members of the Morgan family, including Phyllis Morgan, his mother, attended yesterday’s event. Michael Morgan had planned on taking part in this year’s ride said Phyllis Morgan. He’ll be there in spirit with the riders, she added.
The Newark Police Department are “like my family,” she said.
The Police Unity Tour began in 1997 with a handful of officers from Florham Park. This year, more than 800 police officers from across New Jersey are expected to take part, part of a continent of 2,400 police expected to arrive in Washington Saturday that includes police from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and elsewhere.
The riders have raised about $20 million since 1997 for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.