Paralyzed officer, Steven McDonald, shares message to youth

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Paralyzed officer, Steven McDonald, shares message to youth
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by Esther Animalu, staff reporter

Detective Steven McDonald visited the school for his testimonial. Photo attribution to Nikita Mosier.

Detective Steven McDonald visited the school for his testimonial. Photo attribution to Nikita Mosier.

Detective, Steven McDonald, arrived at the school to give a testimonial speech about the ordeal that he had endured, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.

“Growing up in America, there are a lot of troubling things that happen. All of you are privileged to attend a school that is centered around journalism because you’re exposed to news and current events that are happening all over the world,” detective Steven McDonald said.

McDonald spoke to students as well as the community on how he came to forgive the young man who shot him, and how this type of positive attitude can be used to address bullying and other adversities that young teens face today within society. He also stressed that students should rise above the setbacks that they may face in life, and use that momentum in order to turn it into something positive.

“We have to promote peace throughout our school, environment, and surrounding communities. Violence takes peace away from us. Violence is not the voice of the people, but the voice of their actions,” McDonald said.

Behind reassuring eyes and uplifting smiles, McDonald strived to radiate peace within the audience of students. His voice was punctuated by a ventilator. He graphically recounted the moments before, during, and after the fateful incident of his attack.

“Steven McDonald’s message inspired me to be a better person and give people second chances. I learned that it is good to forgive others and not express hate,” six grader Divianshi Kumar said.

During McDonald’s patrol with Sergeant Peter King at Central Park in 1986, there had been a whopping surge of bicycle thefts and various trivial crimes around the sectioned area. They then encountered a group of suspicious teenagers.

“My son is now policing the streets of New York City. It’s a very dangerous job. Everyday police officers across the country put themselves in risky situations to protect the community,” McDonald said.

While questioning the young group of teens, McDonald noticed a strange bulge in the pant leg of the youngest boy. In act of procedure, he then bent down in order to examine the hidden item. While on his knee, he felt the presence of someone moving over him. The assailant pointed a gun to McDonald’s head.

“My head was down, and all of a sudden the 15-year old suspect shot me. What I vividly remember was how loud the bullet was. It lodged into my right arm. The impact was sufficient. I was shot again in the throat and fell back. Then, he shot me again for the third time. It was a very scary situation. Death was calling my name. Smoke was in the air. The smell of gunpowder was so strong,” McDonald said.

In addition, McDonald wanted the students to take in that it’s essential to promote peace and diminish the spread of hate. He also noted that despite one’s race, heritage or background, everyone needs to unite together as a whole and help keep the city safe.

“People all over the city heard about what had happened to me, there were news reports, radio broadcasts, and media coverage all over. People of different backgrounds and races were concerned about me. Tragedy brings people together,” McDonald said.

Above all, the former NYPD police officer routinely stressed how fortunate he felt to be alive. He stated that the police department makes numerous sacrifices on a constant basis.

“Mr. McDonald’s speech was very motivational, it was amazing to learn how he overcame such a dark time in his life. Forgiveness helps people heal,” seventh grader Alannah Dubei said.

McDonald honed in on advocating for harmony and lawfulness throughout each student’s neighboring areas. McDonald opened up that he’ll always be proud to wear blue, the official representation of NYPD uniforms.

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WJPS News switched from a monthly newspaper (named The Blazer) to an online convergent media site. Now, working with the school’s broadcast, The Highlight and the yearbook The Byline, we are hoping to bring the information for students to one place.