Officer Rafael Ramos received a hero’s funeral today, as an estimated 25,000 police officers from around the country looked on.
Several eulogists, including Governor Cuomo, Vice President Biden, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, praised Ramos as an outstanding officer and a warm person. But when Mayor Bill de Blasio began to speak, several hundred NYPD officers watching on viewscreens outside the church turned their backs to the screen.
Thousands of police officers from across the country assembled in winter sunshine in New York City for the funeral of Rafael Ramos, a police officer shot to death with his partner in an ambush last week.
The officers in dress blue uniforms stood outside the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens for the Saturday morning services. The sea of blue stretched more than six city blocks.
In his eulogy, Mayor Bill de Blasio offered the city’s condolences to the Ramos family.
“All of this city is grieving and grieving for so many reasons,” he said. “But the most personal is that we lost such a good man.”
Vice President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to Ramos’ two sons.
“You’ve shown tremendous courage these past days,” he said.
He said Ramos and his partner Wenjian Liu were officers who were committed, passionate and vigilant.
“Being a cop was not what they did, it was who they were like every man and woman in uniform today and they, like every one of you here and outside, all joined for the same reason,” Biden said.
The church applauded when Biden called the New York Police Department 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.
“I believe this police force will show the nation how to bridge any divide,” he said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the mourners they knew who officer Ramos was. “Father, son, brother and husband,” he said. “He was a New Yorker. He was a New York City police officer.
The church erupted in applause when Bratton ended by saying Ramos was a hero.
There were also cheers when Bratton said he had promoted Ramos to detective first grade and appointed him an honorary department chaplain.
Bratton said Ramos and his partner were assassinated because of who they were. “They were killed for their color,” the commissioner said. “They were blue.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the shooting of the two officer “an attack on all of us.”
De Blasio has been scrambling since the shootings to bury his remarks earlier this month when he told an audience after the Eric Garner grand jury refused to indict that he had warned his bi-racial son to be careful around police.
It is apparent that many in the New York City Police Department have long memories:
Dozens of police officers turned their backs in silent protest Saturday as Mayor de Blasio eulogized their slain colleague Officer Rafael Ramos.
The officers were part of the overflow crowd standing outside the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, watching the funeral on large video screens, when de Blasio stepped into the pulpit.
A mixture of NYPD members and officers from other departments then turned their backs toward the screen above Myrtle Ave. in Queens.
They stood mutely as the mayor’s words of praise for both Ramos and the NYPD echoed across the cool December morning, falling on deaf ears.
Officers had done the same thing one week earlier when de Blasio arrived at Woodhull Hospital after the double murder.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch said the mayor had “blood on his hands” after the killings last weekend in Brooklyn.
De Blasio has taken great pains to praise the police department vociferously and often in the week since the shootings. It hasn’t taken. It appears that what the police officers want most from de Blasio — aside from his resignation — is an apology. This is something the mayor will probably not give them. It’s a sign of weakness de Blasio can’t afford at this juncture of his war with the department.
The wound is deep, but will almost certainly scab over. Neither side can afford a total break. But the cops have de Blasio on notice and it won’t take much for open warfare to break out again.