Angelina Liu was conceived from sperm retrieved and frozen the night Detective Wenjian Liu died in December 2014, through the use if in-vitro fertilization.
Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos were targeted by a gunman who had posted anti-police messages on his social media pages in the days before the shooting.
Then, in 2017, Liu's widow Pei Xia Chen gave birth to a healthy 6 pound, 13 ounce baby girl at Weill Cornell Hospital on the Upper East Side.
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She was dubbed the NYPD's miracle baby, but she was not eligible to receive the same benefits as other children whose parent died in the line of duty because of the way she was conceived.
"I think this is very important that Angelina is legally and lawfully recognized by New York state," Chen said. "Angelina will be treated just like all other line-of-duty children."
The Detectives Endowment Association (DEA) got involved, pressuring politicians to step in.
"This was a landmark case," DEA President Paul DiGiacomo said. "There's no case like this before. "So they had to do a standalone bill to include Angelina in a situation like this. This has never been experienced before."
Last weekend, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation establishing Angelina, now 4, as the genetic child of Wenjian Liu for the purposes of estates, powers and trusts law, the final step in Chen's long-fought battle to ensure her child could receive benefits related to Liu's line-of-duty death.
"The case of Angelina and Wenjian Liu is an extraordinary one for which special considerations are necessary," Hochul said. "I am proud to ensure that Angelina Liu receives the benefits she is entitled to, and I hope with the signing of this legislation that Angelina and her family are able to remember Detective Liu in peace."
Liu and his wife had only been married about three months when he was fatally shot, but they had always dreamed of being parents.
"We had plans, we had dreams," she said. "There's a whole life in front of us, and we were talking about having a family."
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The night after Detective Liu passed away, she had a dream, in which he handed her a baby girl.
"Detective Liu's family suffered an unspeakable loss, made worse by an outdated state law that did not consider his posthumously born-daughter Angelina to be his," state Senator Andrew Gounardes said. "I am incredibly proud that we were able to right this wrong and hopefully provide just a small measure of solace to the Liu family. I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing my legislation and honoring the memory of Detective Liu and the tremendous sacrifice he made."
With state benefits now resolved, the DEA will focus to federal ones, including Social Security.
"We will always do whatever we need to do to protect them and their benefits," DiGiacomo said.
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