Despite NYPD Commissioner’s Request, Police Turn Backs on de Blasio
A week after officer Rafael Ramos was laid to rest, many of Gotham’s uniformed men and women repeated their quiet act of protest during the funeral of Wenjian Liu.
Thousands of police officers turned their backs on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he delivered the eulogy for Officer Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn on Sunday. Police displayed the same behavior during the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos the previous weekend.
“We had lost a man who had embodied our city’s most cherished values,” said the mayor during Sunday’s ceremony, calling Liu “brave” and “kind.” As he spoke, thousands of officers in attendance turned their backs on him.
NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton had called against the gesture in a memo read at roll calls on Friday and Saturday, writing that “a hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance.”
Law enforcement union leaders have been vocal with their disapproval of de Blasio’s support of protesters against police violence. Ramos and Liu were killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley on Dec. 20. Although demonstrators denounced the gunman’s actions, Patrick Lynch, president of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said that the mayor had' “blood on his hands.” After Sunday’s show of protest, Lynch told The Associated Press that the officers “have a right to have our opinion heard, like everyone else that protests out in the city.”
Retired NYPD Detective Camille Sanfillipo told the AP: “The mayor has no respect for us. Why should we have respect with him?”
Liu, 32, left a widow whom he had married just two months earlier. He immigrated to the United States from China when he was 12. He majored in accounting, but according to his father, Wei Tan Liu, his son’s dream of becoming a police officer grew after the Sept. 11 attacks. Liu served on the force for seven years.