New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the re-investigation of unsolved cases involving LGBTQIA+ victims. The initiative follows the tragic deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger, victims of fatal drugging and robbery in Hell’s Kitchen in 2022.
“Every New Yorker should be able to go out at night, enjoy New York City’s renowned nightlife, and come home safely to their families and community,” said Mayor Adams. “We miss Julio and John, and all the LGBTQIA+ victims of crime. LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers and visitors must be safe and feel safe, especially during Pride Month.” He expressed his hopes that this new process will answer more questions for communities and solve more cases.
The Detective Bureau of NYPD will spearhead the re-examinations, providing updates on the case statuses and initiating further reviews. Investigations will remain active until an arrest is made or the suspect is confirmed deceased and unreachable. Some cases may also be reassessed by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force to ascertain possible bias motivations. The move was announced by Adams alongside the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau, the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit.
Earlier this year, the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office uncovered an alleged plot surrounding the deaths of Ramirez and Umberger, leading to the indictment of five individuals involved in a suspected 17 similar incidents, including the murders. Two suspects have been charged in connection with their deaths.
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks described the new process as a “crucial step towards justice” for the LGBTQIA+ community, expressing hope that it will restore faith in the system, commemorate the lives lost, and reiterate that everyone deserves justice, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell stressed the importance of hearing the voices of victims in the LGBTQIA+ community, and asserted that the review process will further enhance public safety for all.
Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Fred Kreizman stated that New York City is committed to delivering justice for LGBTQIA+ victims of crime. “During this Pride Month, we reaffirm our responsibility to safety and justice for all New Yorkers.”
Council member Erik Bottcher told W42ST this evening: “At a time when our community is under attack, this is welcome news. No family should have to experience the pain and anguish that the families of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger experienced, knowing the killers of their loved ones are on the loose. Hopefully with this new announcement and commitment from law enforcement we can bring that same justice to more families.”
New Yorkers can access a form online to request the NYPD re-examines cases involving LGBTQIA+ victims. The Mayor promised: “The NYPD will respond to all inquiries.”