Film Revisits Murder of Nassau County Police Officer

arthur lopez
Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez
Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez

A documentary recounting the murder of a Nassau County police officer during a traffic stop near Bellerose Terrace last year is set to premier this weekend during a special screening in Hempstead.

Heroes Behind the Badge: Sacrifice & Survival highlights five cases in which police officers were shot, including Emergency Services Unit Officer Arthur Lopez, who pulled over a car when the driver allegedly shot the 29-year-old officer in the chest in October 2012.

“Nassau County’s been hit pretty heavy in the past few years,” said Bill Erfurth, a retired Miami-Dade police lieutenant who produced the film and its prequel. “We thought it would be a fitting tribute to do a story for Arty and for Nassau County.”

Erfurth said three other Nassau police officers—Highway Patrolman Michael Califano, Bureau of Special Operations Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf and highway Patrolman Joseph Olivieri—killed in a 20-month span are also mentioned in the film, which mostly focuses on Lopez and four other officers from around the country.

Darrell Fuller was charged with murdering Lopez and a carjacking victim as he fled the scene of the first shooting. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Fifty percent of the proceeds from the film will be donated to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that funded the documentary.

Erfurth, who was inspired to produce the film after seven of his colleagues were killed in the line of duty, said he’s gotten dozens of requests to screen the film. A similar documentary he produced has been shown at police academies nationwide.

“I want [viewers] to walk out with a different perception, a different attitude toward greater respect and appreciation for the sacrifices of law enforcement,” he said. “It’s a very powerful depiction of what goes on behind the thin blue line.”

The 90-minute film will play 4 p.m. Sunday at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University. Tickets are $15 each. For more information or to buy a DVD, visit www.heroesbehindthebadge.com