Steven Silks, the deputy chief of Queens North for the NYPD, killed himself shortly before his retirement. He was 62 years old. Silks had been with the NYPD for over 38 years. At the time of his death, Silks was the executive officer of Patrol Borough Queens North.
Silks was found dead in an unmarked police car in a parking lot, along Tennis Place and Burns Street, close to the 112th Precinct Stationhouse, at around 6:30 p.m. on June 6, reports the New York Post. His body was discovered by a security guard for the West Side Tennis Club who did not immediately identify Silks as a member of the NYPD, according to the New York Daily News. Silks was rushed to Elmhurst hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Silks Has Been Referred to as ‘One of the Nicest Human Beings You Would Ever Meet’
One detective told the Post, “It’s terrible he would find himself in that place. Say a prayer for his family.” While another said that the deceased chief “lived for the NYPD… He loved what he did. He was admired and loved by everybody. It’s heartbreaking.”
Silks last day with the NYPD was set for July 9. President of the Detectives’ Endowment Association Michael Palladino said of Silks, “He had such enthusiasm for the job and for life itself which makes this difficult to understand. He was one of the nicest human beings I ever met.” The Yeshiva World identified Silks as being Jewish and referred to him as a “great friend of the Jewish community.”
2. Silks Once Scaled Mount Everest
The head of the Captains Endowment Association told the New York Daily News, “I am speechless. Steve was an incredibly dedicated and great guy. He was great at what he does. This is a terrible loss.” Richter also said that Silks had at one point scaled Mount Everest and ran the New York Marathon in 3:09.”
NBC New York reports that Silks did not have any children and was unmarried. A fellow officer told the Daily News, “His family lives out of state. He’s not married. He absolutely lived for the NYPD. He was admired and loved by everybody he worked with. He was aged out. He’s the kind of guy who would have served until he died of natural causes.” Silks was active in many charities, NBC said, including helping a children’s hospital in Queens around Christmas.
3. In 2018, 159 Police Officers Took Their Own Lives
The NBC report goes on to say that in 2017, 140 police men and women took their own lives. A rate that is higher than that of the general population. In addition, sixteen percent of officers said they had thoughts of suicide.
Blue H.E.L.P says that in 2018, 159 police officers killed themselves across the country. The organization says that is nine percent higher than those killed in the line of duty. Blue H.E.L.P is run by retired police officers.
4. Silks Held Many Prominent Roles During His Time With the NYPD
According to Silks’ LinkedIn page, during his storied NYPD career, he was at one point the second in command of the Police Academy, Patrol Borough Queens South, Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, Patrol Services Bureau, in addition to commanding two Bronx precincts.
New York City Councillor Bob Holden paid tribute to Silks on Twitter writing, “Absolutely devastated to learn that Chief Steven Silks of @NYPDQueensNorth passed away tonight. I’ve known him for many years and he was a great man and public servant. May he rest in eternal peace, and may we honor him for his service to our great borough and to the @NYPDnews.” Assistant Chief Martin Morales wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Dep. Chief Steve Silks (XO-PBQN) passed away yesterday after nearly 40 yrs of dedicated service. He was a one-of-a-kind, well-accomplished individual & an amazing storyteller. Steve will be missed by so many throughout the NYPD & NYC.”
5. There Are Unfounded Claims That Silks Gave Anthony Weiner’s Laptop to the FBI
As the tragic news of Silks’ death spread, right-wing trolls and activists sought to link his passing to Hillary Clinton. One forum, a user identified Silks as “the Police Chief that handed over the Weiner laptop to the FBI and had seen the contents.” That user continued, “As many of you know, some of the officers vomited, some cried and were sickened by what they saw. Two of those officers were shot and killed (more like ambushed). Was he going to be called to testify? There are no coincidences!” Heavy.com has found no evidence to suggest Silks was involved in the handing over of Anthony Weiner’s laptop to the FBI.
On 4Chan, one user pondered, “What did he know about Weiner’s laptop?” Another said that Silks had the Weiner laptop email files and got suicided just before he could lock in his pension and not fear losing his job.” Far right internet activists have long maintained, with no evidence, that the Hillary Clinton is involved in an elaborate child sex exploitation ring. Many of these activists are involved in the QAnon movement. That group believes that President Donald Trump is about to expose this sex trafficking.