Thousands gather to mourn slain New York police officer

Thousands gather to mourn slain New York police officer
Updated 04 January 2015

Thousands gather to mourn slain New York police officer

Thousands gather to mourn slain New York police officer

NEW YORK: Thousands of police officers paid their respect to a New York Police Department officer shot to death along with his partner as mourners converge from around the US on Sunday for a second funeral that stands to test tensions between the city’s mayor and police.
Liu, 32, had served as a policeman for seven years and got married just two months before he was killed with his partner, Officer Rafael Ramos, on Dec. 20. As Liu’s family arrived for his funeral, Police Commissioner William Bratton tweeted: “We will never forget his sacrifice.”
A day earlier, mourners lined up for blocks on a cold, rainy day for Liu’s wake. “This is a really tragic story,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters following the wake, held just two days after the death of his own father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
“This is really pointless. It had nothing to do with them,” he said of Liu and Ramos. “They did nothing wrong. ... It was pure and random hatred.”
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, killed himself shortly after the brazen daytime ambush on a Brooklyn street.
Investigators say Brinsley was an emotionally disturbed loner who had made references online to the killings this summer of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers, vowing to put “wings on pigs.”
The deaths strained an already tense relationship between city’s police unions and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who union leaders have said contributed to an environment that allowed the killings by supporting protests following the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The head of the rank-and-file police union, which is negotiating a contract with the city, turned his back on the mayor at the hospital where the two officers were taken after they were shot. The act was imitated by hundreds of officers who turned their backs toward a giant outdoor TV screen as de Blasio’s remarks at Ramos’ funeral were being broadcast.
Many people, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, have since pressed all parties to tone down the rhetoric. And this weekend, Bratton sent a memo to all commands urging respect at Liu’s funeral, declaring “a hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance.”
On Saturday, officers standing outside the Brooklyn funeral home where Liu’s body was displayed, dressed in full uniform in an open casket, saluted as the mayor and commissioner entered. funeral a week ago, when thousands of officers turned their backs on the mayor.
“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton wrote in a memo to officers.
De Blasio and Bratton entered the funeral home together for the wake as officers stood guard by the entrance, saluting both men as they went in.
The murders frayed already strained relations between the police force and de Blasio, who sharply criticized the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” tactics during his 2013 campaign.
The liberal mayor also offered qualified support for the wave of protests triggered by the two black men’s deaths in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, and has said he talked to his bi-racial son, Dante, about interacting with police.
Immediately after Liu and Ramos were shot, Patrick Lynch, the head of the city’s largest police union, expressed scorn for de Blasio, saying there was “blood on many hands.”
Ramos’ funeral a week ago among the largest in NYPD history, with more than 20,000 officers from around the country on hand.
When de Blasio began his eulogy there, many uniformed officers turned their backs in a gesture of disdain, which Bratton called inappropriate, saying it had stolen the “valor, honor and attention” that was rightfully due the slain officer.
In his memo, Bratton said he understood emotions were running high among the rank and file, adding that his entreaty to the department was not a mandate and he was not threatening to discipline those who did not comply.
“But,” he said, “I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor and decency that go with it.”