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Have you heard about Detective WenJian Liu and his daughter Angelina?

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Governor Hochul signed legislation in his name last week

From Andrew Harris, 10/12/21

In 2014, Detective WenJian Liu and his partner, Detective Rafael Ramos were on-duty in New York City. As they sat in there patrol car, a murderer, hell bent on revenge for recent police-related deaths approached the car and assassinated both officers. The killer fled into the subway and committed suicide.

NYPD and the entire city were shocked at the intentional killing and rallied around the Liu and Ramos families. Liu has just been married, and Ramos had two young sons at the time of their deaths. Detective Ramos holds the distinction of having the largest funeral in New York City history, then Vice President Joe Biden was in attendance.

Liu’s legacy is perhaps even more historic. As a newlywed, Wenjian and his wife were very hopeful about the future, and starting a new family. When the detective was assassinated his wife made an extraordinary request of medical professionals: Extract his sperm while it is still viable.

The story now evolves from a tragedy into a miracle of sorts. Liu’s widow, Peixia gave birth to a healthy baby girl in 2017, the biological child of her father. The baby was named Angelina and her birth launched a complicated legal case over her father’s estate. Normally, the family members of any fallen member of NYPD receive substantial death benefits. Because Angelina was born three years after her fathers killing, the newborn was technically not eligible.

Last week, after constant lobbying by the NYPD and local elected officials, a new state law changes that eligibility. Here is the information provided by Governor Hochul’s office:

GOVERNOR HOCHUL SIGNS LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING ANGELINA LIU AS THE GENETIC CHILD OF DETECTIVE WENJIAN LIU 

Amends New York State’s Estates, Powers and Trusts Law to Provide Rights to Detective Liu’s Child 

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.4350-A/A.7028) establishing Angelina Liu as the genetic child and distributee of Detective Wenjian Liu for the purposes of estates, powers and trusts law. 

“The case of Angelina and Wenjian Liu is an extraordinary one for which special considerations are necessary,” Governor 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.” 

On December 20, 2014, NYPD Detective Wenjian Liu was murdered in his vehicle while on duty. Through the use of in-vitro fertilization, Detective Liu’s wife, Pei Xia Chen, gave birth to their daughter, Angelina, in 2017. In this case, the Social Security Administration considers the child non-marital and refers to state law to determine the child’s biological status. 

This bill will ensure that Angelina is considered Detective Liu’s child for purposes of New York’s Estates, Powers and Trusts Law despite the fact that due to the tragic circumstances of his passing, Detective Liu’s daughter wouldn’t otherwise be considered his child in the eyes of the law. 

Legislation S.4350-A/A.7028 will allow Angelina to be properly named an heir of her father so that she may receive the benefits and any other rights and privileges she is entitled to. 

Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “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. 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.”

Assemblymember Peter Abbate said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing this bill to ensure Detective Wenjian Liu daughter remembers the sacrifice and service her father made to our community.” 

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