Since Amir Abdul-Khaliq’s death Sunday after an on-duty crash last week, the city he served has gotten to know the Austin police officer as a dutiful Muslim and a dedicated police officer, but on Thursday the public learned more about him as a friend and family man.
Abdul-Khaliq’s family members and his patrol partner shared a more intimate portrait of his life during a public memorial at the Wilhelmina Delco Center in Northeast Austin.
His son, Malik, remembered the prayers, lessons, jokes and love his father offered. He said his father had instilled in him the strength to endure the emotionally draining experience of his father’s death.
Abdul-Khaliq had been escorting a funeral procession in North Austin on Sept. 1 when a driver tried to illegally cut through the procession, police have said. The 17-year veteran motorcycle officer collided with the vehicle and was hospitalized.
“If there is one thing my father has taught me more with religion or with morals, it’s ‘When in fear, stand up no matter how scared you are. When your faith is tested and life is hard, pray hard,’” Malik said.
Abdul-Khaliq, 46, died Sunday after extensive treatment. Adhering to Islamic tradition, Abdul-Khaliq was interred on Monday.
Malik told the audience of loved ones and his father’s fellow officers that he wouldn’t be able to replace his father.
“But I will try my best to fill his shoes,” Malik said. “To the Police Department, I thank y’all for everything, all you’ve done to this point, and I hope to join y’all in my father’s place very soon.”
Abdul-Khaliq’s partner for eight years on motorcycle patrol and his “brother,” officer Jermaine Kilgore, said Abdul-Khaliq’s five children had gained an uncle. He spoke of how he and Abdul-Khaliq shared so much in common as “good old country boys from Arkansas” — Abdul-Khaliq was born in Fort Smith, Ark. — who loved football, had previously served in the military, and, of course, had a love of motorcycles.
The “dynamic duo,” Kilgore said, became nearly inseparable after Kilgore joined the Austin police highway enforcement motorcycle unit — or “motors” as it’s known among the rank and file. Abdul-Khaliq would ride on the left, the customary spot for the senior officer, and Kilgore would be on his right, he said.
“Every time you saw him, you saw me,” Kilgore said. “It was like old school with a little mix of new school.”
Abdul-Khaliq’s father, Amir Abdul-Khaliq Sr., gave extended thanks to Austin police and the Austin community for taking care of his family in the wake of his son’s death.
Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Steve Adler also spoke during the event, which was followed by an appearance of an honor guard, a pipe and drum corps and a procession that traveled from the Delco center to Lady Bird Lake.
Abdul-Khaliq’s death is a loss that will be hard for his colleagues to process and get through, Kilgore said.
“Amir lost his life doing what he loved to do, serving his community and putting others before himself,” he said.