SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Hundreds of San Francisco police officers, as well as people from the community gathered Wednesday night to benefit an injured officer.
The charitable event at Bill Graham Auditorium started at 5:30 p.m. and lasted until 10 p.m. This auditorium has hosted countless social events, but few have both celebrated and supported an injured officer.
"When there's a need, we all step up. and this is just an example of it," said SFPD commander Teresa Ewins, the injured officer's former commanding officer.
Hundreds of people donated 40-dollars per person to attend this four and a half hour benefit for officer Elia Lewin-Tankel. Friend Stephan Goyne said Elia was one of his groomsmen, and the two have been inseparable for eight years..
"He's incredible. he's the funniest guy ever. in fact if he were here right now, he'd be making fun of my hat and making fun of my shoes," said Goyne.
An SFPD officer in the Tenderloin District, Lewin-Tankel was critically injured while on bicycle patrol October 18th. Driver Marquise Johnson allegedly ran the 32-year officer down on Turk Street, while racing away from police. Lewin-Tankel has a severe brain injury and recovers at a South Bay rehab center..In a statement read during the benefit, Lewin-Tankel's family said this is a difficult moment in their lives, but, "We're choosing to see this as another obstacle Elia will no doubt overcome and something that will make him stronger and wiser." The Tenderloin community came out to in force hoping the positive energy will aid the officer's recovery. Chief William Scott says the hardest times bring out the true beauty in San Franciscans..
"I think when people see that, it brings out the best. it makes them understand how much of a sacrifice and how dangerous our jobs are," said chief Scott.
An existing gofundme page has raised over $100,000. There are hopes the money from tonight's benefit, added to that, will take the financial pressure off officer Lewin-Tankel's family as he continues down the long road to recovery.