113th precinct holds funeral for 95-year-old former NYPD detective and WWII veteran

Kemberly Richardson Image
Thursday, June 16, 2016
EMBED <>More Videos

Kemberly Richardson has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- NYPD officers at the 113th precinct in Queens aided a former NYPD detective and World War II veteran, and also arranged his funeral.

"We're definitely going to, we're definitely going to miss him," said Det. Dorrin Ferguson, NYPD.

But here's the thing, most of the NYPD officers who filled the pews for William Brown's funeral didn't know and never met the 95-year-old.

He was no ordinary man as evidenced by this extraordinary gesture.

"Mr. Brown planted some seeds a long time ago and now we're experiencing the harvest," said Rev. William Armstead, First Church of God in Christ.

A WWII veteran, Brown was part of a unit so tough; they were known as the Harlem Hellfights.

In 1948 he joined the NYPD, and 20 years later retired with honors as a detective.

He married, lived in a home not far from this church, but his wife died in 1968.

Fast forward to this past winter, when Brown had no heat and ended up in the hospital suffering from hypothermia.

Two detectives were assigned to watch over a man they knew little about.

"Every time he saw us, he was like, can you get my clothes, can you get my keys, can you get my jacket and it just formed from there," said Det. Tanya Duhaney, NYPD.

The church stepped in and fixed his furnace.

The detectives went above and beyond the call of duty.

"They did weekly home visits at the very least, took him to doctor's appointments, really formed a good bond," said Dep. Inspector Frederick Grover, NYPD.

Detective Brown died May 20th, but no one claimed his body. He would have ended up on Potter's Field.

Officers from the 113th Precinct arranged Brown's funeral and burial at Long Island National Cemetery with a proper send off, from his family in blue.

"We had to as human beings," an officer said.

"He didn't have any friends who he was close to, so we had to do that," another officer said.