Family urges Cuomo to sign Briana’s Law

The family of Briana Ojeda, Senator Jesse Hamilton, Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz, and several other local officials took to the steps of City Hall for a news conference Aug. 10 to call on Governor Cuomo to sign Briana’s Law.

The Ojeda family has been fighting for seven years to pass this law, which requires CPR training for NYPD officers and New York State Troopers every two years. Currently, under the NYPD policy, officers only receive CPR training as cadets in the police academy and are not required to be retrained.

“With the legislature’s passage of Briana’s Law, 11-year old Briana Ojeda and her family have given the gift of life to New Yorkers who turn to help from police,” said Hamilton. “Briana’s Law ensures our police officers have the training to provide life-saving assistance in an emergency.”

Briana’s Law is a memorial to Briana Ojeda, who tragically lost her life after suffering an asthma attack at a playground in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in 2010. Briana’s mother, Carmen Ojeda, tried rushing her 11-year-old daughter to a nearby hospital, but she was stopped by a police officer for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Carmen Ojeda said she pleaded for help from the NYPD officer and asked if he knew how to perform CPR. He did not. The officer allowed them to continue on to the hospital, where Briana Ojeda died shortly after.

Carmen Ojeda described the moments before her daughter’s death as happy. She remembers Briana as being playful, artistic, and full of laughter. She said the pain of losing her daughter is a “constant battle” and something you never get over.

Holding back tears, Michael Ojeda, Briana’s father, addressed their many supporters for the past seven years.

“Thank you for believing in what we are fighting for,” said Michael Ojeda. “This law, it’s not going to bring my daughter back but it will save you guys and your families.”

Briana’s Law has had many revisions to accommodate the needs of both houses and Ortiz believes now is the time for the law to finally be passed.

“All first responders and police officers should be trained in CPR, it’s a basic part of emergency response efforts,” said Ortiz. “This legislation has passed both houses with the support of the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. I urge the governor to approve this legislation and help us win this battle.”

Despite the many challenges they’ve faced over the past seven years, the Ojeda family will continue to fight for the legacy of their daughter and the safety of their fellow New Yorkers.

“We never gave up and we never will,” said Carmen Ojeda.

The family is hoping Cuomo signs this law Aug. 27, which marks the anniversary of Briana Ojeda’s death.