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By now, you have likely heard the story of Emily Zamourka, the homeless woman in Los Angeles who became an Internet sensation last week after a Los Angeles police officer filmed her singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini in the subway.
The video of Zamourka went viral — the video has been viewed over one million times — and thousands of people who were touched by Zamourka’s voice — as well as her apparent plight — began to offer to help. One GoFundMe to help Zamourka get back on her feet raised over $100,000, and Zamourka was reportedly offered a record contract by grammy-nominated producer Joel Diamond.
4 million people call LA home. 4 million stories. 4 million voices…sometimes you just have to stop and listen to one, to hear something beautiful. pic.twitter.com/VzlmA0c6jX
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) September 27, 2019
But you may not have heard that the only thing Zamourka wanted was an opportunity to meet the LAPD officer who filmed her and made it all happen.
Zamourka was initially nervous about the possibility of an officer videotaping her in the Subway. As a homeless person who is probably used to being shuffled along by police officers, she initially asked the officer not to film her.
She told the Los Angeles Times, “What do you expect with a police officer taking a picture of you?”
But after the flood of support, the LAPD went back to Zamourka and asked if there was anything they could do. According to KCAL-TV, Zamourka replied that the only thing she wanted was to meet the officer who made it all possible.
So the department made that happen, and captured it all on video.
We saw with our brains, but we listened with our hearts.
Her voice continues to captivate our city, and as the offers for help pour in, we asked: “Emily, what can we do for you?” Her answer: “I want to thank Officer Frazier for taking the video.”
Her wish was granted tonight. pic.twitter.com/lH4V51YTZ4
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) October 3, 2019
The officer — who has been identified by the Department only as “Officer Frazier” — can be seen in the video approaching the much smaller Zamourka and enveloping her in a hug.
Since the initial video surfaced, local media have performed further investigations on Zamourka’s background and discovered that she was a trained pianist and violinist who moved to the United States from Russia. She does not have any training as a singer, but taught herself by watching performances as a child in Russia, and by watching opera on TV.
According to KCAL, she became homeless when she accumulated steep medical bills due to an unspecified “serious medical problem,” and began playing her violin in the subway for extra cash. When her violin broke, she was unable to do this, and lost her home, but continued to perform in the subway for what little subsistence she could muster.