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Thousands Mourn Slain NYPD Officer

  • VOA News

Thousands of police officers and mourners from around the United States gathered in New York Sunday to honor Wenjian Liu, a policeman shot to death last month in a targeted attack.

New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio and Liu family members eulogized the officer, who was slain December 20 alongside his patrol partner, Rafael Ramos, as they sat in their squad car.

Liu's wife of two months choked back tears as she spoke at the funeral about her "hero."

"He took pride in the fact that he is NYPD (New York Police Department). He [was] a very hard-working cop. ... He was fearless in and out of work," Pei Xia Chen said.

Out of thousands of officers, dozens of those watching the funeral on huge television screens outside the funeral home turned their backs on the mayor as he addressed the service. Hundreds of officers did so last week when de Blasio addressed the funeral for Ramos.

The back-turning on DiBlasio has come to symbolize anger many officers feel toward the mayor for what they say is a lack of support in the face of recent anti-police protests throughout the U.S.

New York and other U.S. cities have been gripped by racially-charged rallies protesting a lack of legal action against white officers using what critics see as undue, including lethal, force in confrontations with black suspects.

'Grieving, not grievances'

On Saturday, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton made clear in a memo read to police that he did not want police officers to make any political statements at Liu's wake or funeral. Bratton said, "A hero's funeral is about grieving, not grievances."

Bratton and de Blasio drew salutes from some officers when they arrived at Liu's wake Saturday.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed Liu and his partner, Ramos, before shooting himself in a nearby subway station.

Brinsley had earlier posted anti-police and anti-government messages on social media and alluded to taking revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both unarmed black men who died at the hands of white police officers in 2014.

Brinsley was black, the officers he killed were Asian and Hispanic.

A service for Ramos in December drew tens of thousands of mourners as well.

In both the Brown and Garner cases grand juries failed to indict the police officers involved.

U.N special rapporteur on minority issues Rita Izsak has called for a review of policing in the United States.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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