Thousands of police turn their backs on NYC mayor

Thousands of police turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at the second funeral for an officer gunned down in his squad car, repeating a stinging display of scorn for a mayor who many officers say is anti-police.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 06, 2015, 00:21 AM IST

New York: Thousands of police turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at the second funeral for an officer gunned down in his squad car, repeating a stinging display of scorn for a mayor who many officers say is anti-police.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton eulogised Officer Wenjian Liu yesterday as an incarnation of the American dream: a man who had emigrated from China at age 12 and devoted himself to helping others in his adopted country.

The gesture among officers watching the mayor's speech on a screen outside a Brooklyn funeral home added to tensions between de Blasio and rank-and-file police even as he sought to mollify them.

Police union leaders have said he contributed to an environment that allowed the officers' slayings by supporting protests following the police killings of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.

"Let us move forward by strengthening the bonds that unite us, and let us work together to attain peace," de Blasio said.

After hundreds of officers turned their backs to a screen where de Blasio's remarks played during Ramos' funeral last week, Bratton sent a memo urging respect, declaring "a hero's funeral is about grieving, not grievance."

Bratton and de Blasio planned a news conference at police headquarters today.

Liu, 32, had served as a policeman for seven years and was married just two months when he was killed with his partner, Officer Rafael Ramos, on December 20.

Liu's weeping, father, Wei Tang Liu, said that his only child used to call after every shift to say: "I'm coming home today. You can stop worrying now."

Dignitaries including FBI Director James Comey and members of Congress joined police officers and other mourners at a service that blended police tradition with references to Buddha's teachings.

The officers' killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, committed suicide shortly after the brazen daytime ambush on a Brooklyn street.

Investigators say Brinsley was an emotionally disturbed loner who had made references online to the killings this summer of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers, vowing to put "wings on pigs" in retaliation. He started his rampage by shooting and wounding an ex-girlfriend in Baltimore.

The deaths strained an already tense relationship between city police unions and de Blasio.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, whose rank-and-file union is negotiating a contract with the city, turned his back on the mayor at a hospital the day of the killings and said de Blasio had "blood on his hands."