Despite a plea from the NYPD police commissioner, officers once again gave New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the cold shoulder at a funeral for a fallen colleague.
Thousands of mourners lined up in the rain Sunday morning in Brooklyn to pay their final respects to slain NYPD detective Wenjian Liu. When a video screen began showing de Blasio, who honored Liu and the city’s heartbreak that followed the officer’s death, many officers turned the other direction in a sign of disrespect.
Liu, 32-years-old and a newlywed who been married just two months, was murdered in Brooklyn last month along with his partner, Rafael Ramos, 40, while sitting in their squad car.
Liu served on the NYPD force for more than seven years before his untimely death.
The killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley of Baltimore, suggested online he was seeking retaliation against cops over the deaths of two unarmed black men this summer, vowing to put “wings on pigs.” Shortly after the ambush in broad daylight, Brinsley took his own life.
Prior to the ceremony, Commissioner Bratton paid homage to Liu on Twitter.
Bratton also spoke at the funeral service, along with FBI Director James Comey and Liu’s father and his wife, Sandy Chen.
Prior to the ceremony, Bratton, urged NYPD officers not to repeat last week’s “act of disrespect,” when thousands turned their backs on Mayor De Blasio at Ramos’ funeral.
“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton said in a memo to the force. “I issue no mandates, and I make no threats of discipline, but 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.”
The detectives’ deaths further inflamed long-simmering tensions between the NYPD and the mayor’s office. Some officers blamed the mayor for being overly sympathetic to the recent wave of protests against police practices. During his 2013 campaign for office, de Blasio also sharply criticized the force’s “stop-and-frisk” policies.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is mourning the New Year’s Day death of his own father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, declared it’s time for healing.
“There a lot of pain, a lot of anguish on many different sides,” said Gov. Cuomo on Saturday outside of the wake for Liu. “We have to stop any fights within the family. And we have to come together as the family of New York and stand strong.”