NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu’s funeral draws thousands of supporters to say final goodbyePosted by Mona Salama on January 5, 2015
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Under a cloudy gray sky and drizzling rain, thousands of New York’s finest and supporters gave their final salute to the second officer assassinated late December in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn at Aievoli Funeral Home.
A sea of blue was seen down 65th street from 12th Avenue all the way to 18th Avenue. Officers came to pay respect for one of their fallen in a traditional police ceremony featuring a cultural attribution of Buddhism as a Buddhist monk began the ceremony.
Wenjian Liu, 32, a seven-year veteran, was in a patrol car with his partner, Detective Rafeal Ramos, in Bedford-Stuyvesant when they were shot just days before Christmas. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, an emotionally disturbed man, vowed to kill police as revenge of the Grand Jury decision of Ferguson and New York City. Liu was an immigrant, who came to this country 20 years ago from China. His short life was dedicated to becoming a NYPD officer. He was recently married, having been wed for two months before his tragic death.
The President wasn’t in attendance again, sending the director of the FBI, James Comey, to deliver a eulogy during the funeral ceremony that began shortly after 11 a.m. Comey noted that 115 police officers were killed last year in the US, citing this as a “shocking increase”, while also saying “I don’t know why there is so much evil and heartache in the world.”
Liu’s newly wed wife, Pei Xia Chen, spoke about her husband through tears as she referred to Liu as her “soulmate and best friend”. She also said,
“Although he worked often, he would always make sure to take time for me — his number one fan — his family and his friends. He was always there when someone needed something. His spirit will continue to look after us.”
Liu wife ended her eulogy by giving thanks to the officers attending Wenjian’s service and for honoring his memory and respecting her husband.
Liu’s father, Wei Tang Liu, broke down also during the emotional eulogy. Speaking in Chinese, he described this day as the “saddest day of his life.” Praising his only son, “Wenjian, you are the best son, you are the best husband,” Wei Tang Liu said. “Also, you are also our police officer and our best friend.”
As Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his eulogy, outside the funeral home hundreds of NYPD officers and other officers from around the country began to turn their backs on the mayor. The silent move left many questioning if some officers would show anger toward the mayor, despite orders from Police Commissioner, William Bratton. Bratton wrote a memo Friday urging respect while saying, “a hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance and it stole the valor, honor and attention that rightfully belonged to the memory of Detective Rafael Ramos’s life and sacrifice.”
“The mayor’s eulogy focused solely on praising Liu, talking about the many stories he had heard about Liu. However, he ended by commenting on the ongoing controversy regarding over-policing. Detective Liu was a good man, an example of a brave and kind New Yorker who came to the city from China and followed his dream to join the Police Department.”
“We had lost a man who had embodied our city’s most cherished values,” the mayor said. “Detective Liu’s dream was clear and it was a noble one: to don the blue uniform, to pin on the badge, to dedicate himself to protecting and serving the city he loved.” De Blasio concluded his remarks by asking all “to work together to attain peace”.
After the remarks, the officers who had turned their backs to de Blasio, turned around while getting into formation as Commissioner Bratton gave his remarks about Liu’s decision to become a police officer following the September 11th attacks and his undivided devotion to his family. Bratton said,
“At the end of every tour, he would call his father to let him know he was safe. At the end of every tour, except one.”
The funeral drew many supporters from the Asian community who came to show support for Liu and the police department by holding signs honoring Liu “Officer Liu will live in our hearts forever.” many Chinese-Americans attended the funeral traveling by buses to show support to an officer they never knew.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President, Patrick Lynch, defended the officers disdain for the mayor saying officers “have a right to have our opinion heard, like everyone else that protests out in the city”.
Congressman Pete King (R-NY) was in attendance for the funeral. His district is home to many of the NYPD officers. He said in regard to the officers repeating their show of disdain toward de Blaiso, “I would hope they won’t, but I can’t be critical of them if they do.”
The funeral for Liu is the city’s first for a Chinese-American officer killed in the line of duty.
RIP, brave one. Gone but never forgotten.
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