NEW YORK (AP) — The mother of an emergency medical technician who died during the 9/11 response pressed the New York Police Department on Monday to more fully recognize his actions.
Talat Hamdani spoke up during the question and answer portion of the NYPD's pre-Ramadan conference, saying her son Mohammad Salman Hamdani was an active cadet when he died.
"He died saving his fellow Americans at the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001," she said. "To this day, the NYPD has not acknowledged him officially as a cadet of the force. I am still fighting for justice."
Mohammad Salman Hamdani was buried with full NYPD honors, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called him a hero. But his name is not listed among the fallen members of the department. At the memorial, he is listed among those who had only a loose connection to the World Trade Center response, not among the first-responders.
Hamdani said she does not want the additional money benefits that would come with the recognition; she only wants his name to be listed properly. She said he was a police cadet for three years and had taken the test to enter the academy, but was first waiting to see if he was accepted to medical school when the terror attack happened. Departmental records show he was not on the payroll from July 2001, and only those considered "active" members are listed on the memorial walls.
"Although we assume his actions that day were that of a compassionate and focused individual, his presence and actions that day had no connection with his status as a Police Cadet with the NYPD," according to a letter she received from the department in 2012.
But Hamdani argues her son was acting as a first-responder when he ran toward the burning buildings. His body was eventually found amid the twisted remains of the north tower — his lower half shattered into 34 pieces.
"I am asking the City of New York and the NYPD to acknowledge the sacrifice of my child 13 ½ years ago," she said.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said he was not familiar with the circumstances and would get back to her.
"I'm more than happy to follow up," he said.