Police outside cop's funeral turn backs on NYC mayor
NEW YORK (AP):
Hundreds of officers outside the church where a funeral was held for a policeman killed along with his partner in an ambush shooting turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke during yesterday's service.
The reaction from officers watching Officer Rafael Ramos' funeral on giant TV screens followed comments from police union officials who had said Mayor Bill de Blasio contributed to a climate of mistrust that contributed to the killings of the two New York Police Department officers.
Inside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, however, mourners gave de Blasio polite applause before and after his speech.
The mayor said hearts citywide were aching after the December 20 shootings that left Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, dead.
"All of this city is grieving, and grieving for so many reasons," de Blasio said. "But the most personal is that we've lost such a good man, and the family is in such pain."
Police union officials have blamed de Blasio for fostering anti-police sentiment for his support of protesters angry that no charges will be filed in the police deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island.
At a hospital, after the officers' slayings, the police union's president, Patrick Lynch, and others turned their backs on de Blasio in a sign of disrespect. Lynch said the mayor had "blood on his hands".
Weeks before the shooting, Lynch had suggested that officers sign a petition requesting that the mayor not attend their funerals were they to die in the line of duty.
The mayor followed Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Andrew Cuomo on the roster of speakers eulogising Ramos.
Officers inside and outside the church applauded when Biden called the NYPD the finest in the world.
"When an assassin's bullet targeted two officers, it targeted this city and it touched the soul of an entire nation," the vice president said.
Cuomo called the daylight shootings of the officers as they sat in their cruiser on a street in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section "an attack on all of us".