NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos returned home to Greenlawn Monday, his casket accompanied by a cortege that included more than 100 motorcycle cops, saluted with firefighters’ giant American flags on its trip from Queens and welcomed by hundreds at St. Paraskevi Greek Church.
His funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Hundreds of mourners lined up Monday at the church door to pay their respects at the wake, including US Rep. Tom Suozzi, Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Town Clerk Andrew Raia, town council members Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol, sitting deputy supervisor Ed Smyth, New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, activist Curtis Sliwa, PBA president Pat Lynch, and Assemblymen Keith Brow and Steve Stern.
Tsakos will be buried at Northport Rural Cemetery.
Tsakos, an East Northport resident, was killed last week when a suspected drunk driver slammed into him in Queens where he was directing traffic around an unrelated fatal accident. That driver fled but was arrested a short time later nearby, and is facing 13 charges in the officer’s death. Tsakos leaves his wife, Irene, and two young children.
Meanwhile, a Greenlawn nursery owner found himself facing heavy criticism on social media after he initially refused to give up his parking lot for use during the services.
Conrad Decker, owner of Decker’s Nursery at 841 Pulaski Road, said he was approached by members of a fire department and told Pulaski Road would be closed for two days. His business is outside the section of road that was designated for closing for several hours Monday and Tuesday, Broadway to Stony Hollow Road
. But he said the firefighters said the road would close and then asked him to provide his parking lot to those attending the funeral. In a letter posted on the nursery’s Facebook. He said he had an emotional response to the request to give up the lot to the fire department, pointing out that he needed to keep his business running during the busy spring season.
Decker said he parked his trucks to block entrance because of threats.
On social media, however, several people slammed him, with one saying the only time he’d shop at the nursery was when it went bankrupt, and others suggested he could expect no support if he needed help from the fire or pollice departments.
However, Decker’s letter said he and the fire department had settled the matter and that they are “on good terms.” He will allow them to park their trucks in his lot if needed.
A letter from Conrad to our local community I wanted to take a minute to address a situation that has arisen in the past 24 hours that has quickly put our organization in the middle of quite a bit of discussion online. I’d like to try and provide a little more context so everyone has all of the information about what transpired.
Before I get too far along, however, I personally want to send my heartfelt condolences to the family of slain officer Anastasios Tsakos. While we do not know him or his family personally, based on the outpouring of support, it’s obvious that he was a great man, a great father and a great police officer. It is truly a tragedy and our prayers are with his family and the NYPD as we’re sure everyone is suffering from his loss.
Additionally, please let me clear up one very important point. I am NOT “anti-cop” and the Decker’s Nursery organization as a whole does not support “anti-cop” sentiment in any way, shape or form. If you’ve known us for any amount of time, you know we are in fact supporters of our local law enforcement officers, our first responders and our active military and veterans. We often try to find ways to give back to them when we can. We believe they are one of a kind individuals and we appreciate the work that they do. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of incorrect information being shared that has framed this situation as one that is anti-cop and I assure you that is not the case.
I’d like to provide a little bit of backstory. Late last week we were informed by the local fire department that they would be shutting down Pulaski Road for upwards of two days and that we would be forced to close our business during that time. In our industry, this is the busiest time of year and as a business, we provide jobs to a large number of staff who rely on their employment with us to support their families. This business is our livelihood and the way that it was presented to us left us with a lot of concerns. I was genuinely concerned about the outcome of being forced to turn customers away for two days during our busiest time of the year. We were then asked if we would be willing to allow the Fire Department to use our parking lot during this time for the funeral procession.
What resulted was unfortunate. My response to that request was driven by an emotional, knee jerk reaction. I was just told that I was going to be non-operational for two days and I was frustrated and upset and, at the time, I was unwilling to co-operate. This was not an anti-cop issue, it was a small business owner trying to stay in business issue.
I realize that my emotions got the best of me and that my response lacked compassion and understanding for what these officers are going through. I admit that I could have handled the situation better and for that, I’m truly sorry. My intention was not to be disrespectful.
Not long after this, we began receiving a number of threats to our business and staff. For safety reasons, we temporarily parked our trucks, overnight, in our front lot to prevent this from escalating any further.
I have already reached to our local Fire Department and we are on good terms. We have offered to allow them to park their trucks in our lot if they need to and they have provided support in return.
Decker’s Nursery has been a part of the Greenlawn, Huntington and larger Suffolk County community for 12 years now. We understand why this situation would cause disappointment but we truly hope that you’ll allow us to earn back your trust and respec