Nine members of law enforcement from Adams County joined officers from all over the country in attending the visitation and funeral last Friday of Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim who was killed in the line of duty on June 19.
Manchester Police Department sent officers Joshua Hayes and Jason Mallott, Seaman sent Sergeant Matt Windle, Winchester sent Chief David Benjamin and the Adams County Sheriff’s Department sent Deputy Brandon Asbury, Deputy Brent James, Sergeant Michael Mills, Deputy Randy Walters and Deputy Zach Wentz.
Those nine joined officers from as far away as Chicago, Detroit and New York City to pay their respects to a 27-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department and the first CPD officer killed in the line of duty since 2000.
Benjamin attended the visitation, as well as the public and private funerals for Kim, which were all heavily attended.
According to Benjamin, about 25,000 people showed up for the visitation.
“The visitation was from 2-8 p.m.,” Benjamin said. “We arrived at 2 and by the time we walked out it was 4. They were moving the line fairly quickly, it just took that long because there were so many people there.”
The large public funeral, held at the Cintas Center at Xavier University, where the school’s basketball teams play, was very emotional, too, according to Benjamin.
“It was amazing how emotional the ceremony was for such a large crowd,” Benjamin said. “[Officer Kim’s] brother painted a picture of Kim that not many of us knew. You walked out of there and you felt like you knew him and you knew his life story.”
One aspect of Kim’s murder hat especially touched Benjamin was that Kim had that day off from work and came in after being called in.
“Our respect for [Kim] is something you can’t even explain,” Benjamin said. “Seeing someone that does the same job as we do that is so dedicated to that job. Everyone hears that you’re a brother in law enforcement but it’s true. It could’ve been any one of us who took that bullet and laid down their life.”
While the somber atmosphere at the funeral and the speeches given by loved ones were moving, Benjamin said one of the most emotional moments of the funeral was Kim’s final radio call given out live where dispatch called Kim’s badge number multiple times with no response.
“We all got pretty emotional and that’s saying a lot for someone you’ve never even met,” Benjamin said. “But that part gets everyone’s attention.”
Mallott said he has attended police and military funerals in the past, but this ceremony touched him like no other ceremony ever has.
“At the cemetery, all the police officers got in line and were standing at attention to start the ceremony and it started to rain,” Mallott said. “It was one of the strongest downpours I’ve ever stood in but no officers moved — everyone stood right there. And every time the preacher would talk about God or anything religious it would literally thunder, a big loud thunder, it was kind of amazing. I’m not a religious guy but that was too weird.”
Mallott said when you learned what type of person Kim was and you saw the support from the community, it really hit him what he was taking part in.
“I’ve been to cop funerals before, it’s part of our job, but this was totally amazing,” Mallott said. “I guess it was just him as a person and the show of support from the community.”
The rain continued throughout the ceremony at the cemetery.
“I couldn’t see Officer Kim’s wife when she was handed to flag because the rain was so hard but I could hear her crying through the microphone,” Mallott said.
The funeral procession had police cruisers and motorcycles take part. According to Benjamin, about 750 police cars and 200 motorcycles took part as people lined the streets in support.
“The amount of support, signs, flags and people yelling at us thanking us and supporting us really made your hair stand on end,” Benjamin said. “It was well appreciated.”
“People from Cincinnati were lining the streets yelling ‘Thank you!’” Mallott said. “Even when they saw our car, they said, ‘Thank you Manchester Police for what you do!’”