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Saturday 14 December 2019
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Fundraisers Added to Help Family of Officer Ortiz

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Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

Manuel "Manny" Ortiz of the Rochester Police Department died Nov. 2, 2019. Provided by the Rochester Police Department

Manuel “Manny” Ortiz of the Rochester Police Department died Nov. 2, 2019. Provided by the Rochester Police Department

The Rochester Police Locust Club has set up a fund to help the two younger children of Rochester Police Office Manny Ortiz.

An account has been opened at Canandaigua National Bank, Locust Club president Mike Mazzeo said Nov. 20.

Donations can be made at any CNB branch, or checks can be sent to the Locust Club, 1425 Lexington Ave., Rochester, NY 14606. Donors should indicate “Manny Ortiz Fund” and Mazzeo said 100% of donations will go to the family.

“We want to ensure his children have the opportunity most children have,” Mazzeo said at a news conference.

Ortiz had three children. The oldest is an adult. The others, Alejandro Manuel Ortiz and Sophia Marie Ortiz, are young teens.

Ortiz died Nov. 2 as he was driving to work and accidentally shot himself in the leg, hitting an artery.

Mazzeo said it has not been determined whether Ortiz’s death will be classified as happening while on duty. He said he hoped it would be ruled that way, but the decision is made by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. The ruling has implications for the family, such as a tuition waiver at SUNY schools for children of officers who died in the line of duty.

A spokesperson for the comptroller’s office responding to a request about the status of that decision wrote in an email that the office had recently learned of the death. “Information related to the incident has to be submitted before any determination can be made related to the eligibility for the accidental death benefit. Information about eligibility is on the comptroller’s web site.

Mazzeo said it took time for the Locust Club to meet banking requirements to set up the fund. Previously, the Rochester Police Foundation announced a $50,000 GoFundMe campaign for Ortiz’s family. Mazzeo said no amount has been set for the Locust Club account, and that the union has been in contact with the Rochester Police Foundation.

Locust Club president Mike Mazzeo announces the union has set up a fund for the youngest children of RPD Officer Manny Ortiz. Photo by Patti  Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

Locust Club president Mike Mazzeo on Nov. 20, 2019 announces the union has set up a fund for the youngest children of RPD Officer Manny Ortiz. Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

Mazzeo said other fundraising events that have been approved by the family will be posted on the Locust Club web site. Those include:

  • Remembrance t-shirts , available at www.mannyortiz124.com. Bracelets are being made and will be for sale at the Locust Club.
  • Sauce for a Cause benefit held by the Rochester Firefighters Local 1071, 4 p.m. until sold out, Dec. 12, 65 Hudson Ave. Proceeds benefit the families of Ortiz and Officer Denny Wright, severely injured Oct. 4 while answering a call for family trouble.
  • A portion of proceeds from Salsa and Sonidos Unidos by Legacy Drama, Dec. 8, 112 Webster Ave. Hosted by Freddy Colon. Go to EventBrite.com or call (585) 471-5335.
  • Beards for Brothers, an offshoot of the Beards for Bucks program that supports programs for teens and young adults with cancer. Starting Dec. 1, Beards for Brothers will collect additional funds for the Ortiz family. Go to locustclub.org for more.

Mazzeo said the outpouring of support from the community has sustained RPD officers in the days following the injury to Wright and the death of Ortiz.

“It’s been a tremendous boost for the well-being for those who have an impossible job and face far more unjust and unfair criticism than I’ve ever seen before,” he said. “It’s essential for those who are willing to place their lives in jeopardy to protect others that they know in their heart the community supports their work and sacrifice.”