A sea of blue floods in to send off slain officer
Wearing black tape across their badges, 20,000 police from New York City, around the country and as far away as Canada, gathered in Queens on Saturday for the funeral of Police Officer Rafael Ramos.
A week earlier, Ramos and his patrol partner, Wenjian Liu, had been executed in an ambush by a crazed gunman.
After watching protesters bash police following the verdicts in the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, officers at the funeral said this was their turn to answer back.
In his remarks, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “All of this city is grieving. And grieving for so many reasons, but the most personal is that we’ve lost such a good man, and a family is in such pain.”
He described Ramos — a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent — as a devoted father who was studying to be a chaplain and “loved blasting Spanish gospel music from his car.”
“Police officers are called ‘peace officers,’ because that’s what they do — they keep the peace,” the mayor said. “They help make a place that otherwise would be torn with strife, a place of peace.
“Officer Ramos put his life on the line every day so other New Yorkers could live in peace, so they could live in safety.”
However, as de Blasio spoke, hundreds of officers watching him on a big screen turned their backs. Many cops feel the mayor has been more supportive of the protesters than the Police Department, an agency of 34,000 that de Blasio oversees as the city’s leader.
Vice President Joe Biden said New York can show the nation how to heal and come together.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he hoped New Yorkers could see Ramos and his partner Liu, who was Chinese, as real people, and that this would help defuse the current mistrust between many city residents and the police.
Liu’s funeral is set for Sun., Jan. 4, at 10 a.m. in Brooklyn.