NEW CITY – NYPD Officers Russell Mattera and David Radziwon were honored by a grateful Rockland County on Tuesday for arresting Grafton Thomas, the man suspected of attacking Jewish party-goers during a Hanukkah celebration at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on December 28.
County Executive Ed Day, multiple members of the Rockland County Legislature, and representatives from the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office were all on hand to thank the officers for “putting their lives in danger” to apprehend the “dangerous suspect.”
“Saying thank you hardly seems enough” said Legislator Aaron Wieder as he presented the officers with the Distinguished Service Award, “we are forever grateful to you both.”
He noted that if you thank a cop, they will tell you they are just doing their job.
“But if your job is to apprehend and arrest a dangerous person armed with a machete and just slashed innocent people, it is not just doing your job. It is putting your precious and one life in danger. That is exactly what Officers Russel Matter and David Radziwon did on a very cold Saturday night,” he said.
In addition to the legislature’s highest honor, Mattera and Radziwon were also presented with separate honors from the county’s D.A. and sheriff’s office.
The officers apprehended Thomas on 44th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem soon after he fled the scene of the attack. Police were able to identify his vehicle thanks to the efforts of Josef Gluck, one of the attendees at the celebration who was able to spot and memorize Thomas’ license plate number.
Thomas is accused of injuring six people with a machete, including 72-year-old Josef Nuemann, who remains comatose with a skull fracture. He is not expected to recover.
Thomas has pled not guilty to 14 grand jury charges, including six counts of second-degree attempted murder. He is currently being held in a federal detention center in Westchester.