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Officers stage silent protest at Ramos funeral

The casket of New York City police officer Rafael Ramos, center, is carried from Christ Tabernacle Church following funeral services in Glendale.
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Thousands of police used the funeral of a murdered officer to air their dispute with Mayor DeBlasio in Queens on Saturday.

More than 20,000 police officers from as far away as Pearl, Miss., and San Francisco gathered outside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens on Saturday for the funeral of Rafael Ramos, one of the two NYPD officers who were murdered as they sat in their squad car a week earlier. Many in the crowd in blue outside turned their backs on Hizzoner’s televised image as he eulogized their slain colleague.

City pols had asked anti-police brutality demonstrators to stop protesting until both officers have been buried, and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association union, which helped organize an earlier back-turning protest inside the Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital where the officers’ bodies were carried, had said it was not giving interviews until the second funeral is over. But the union’s head Pat Lynch appeared on CNN that afternoon, and stopped short of supporting or condemning the protest.

“We have to understand the betrayal that they feel. But today we also come to bow our head in mourning, and tomorrow we’ll debate,” he said, then abruptly walked out on the interview.

Lynch said on the night of the murders that protesters have blood on their hands for supposedly inciting violence against the police, and that Mayor DeBlasio does, too. DeBlasio has taken a hands-off approach to the marches that have gripped the city for the past month following grand jury decisions not to indict the officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island. Police unions have also been embroiled in contract negotiations with City Hall since May.

NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan was inside during the funeral but condemned the cops’ act of protest in the street.

“It is disappointing because today is all about Officer Ramos,” he said. “We’ll hash all that out at a later time, but right now this is about celebrating the officers and their families.”

Ramos’s wife and two sons joined the widow of his fallen partner, Wenjian Liu, to hear remarks from Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, and the mayor.

“I’m sure I speak for the whole nation when I say to you that our hearts ache for you,” Biden said.

The Veep spoke of his own life tragedies, specifically the loss of his wife and daughter in a 1972 car crash.

“I know from personal experience that there is little anyone can say or do to ease the pain,” he said.

He was followed by the governor, who denounced recent threats against the NYPD, saying that “an attack on the NYPD is an attack on all of us.”

Cuomo vowed his support and said “75,000 police officers and National Guardsmen statewide have your back every step of the way.”

When it was DeBlasio’s turn to speak, he kept his comments brief, but solemn.

“Officer Ramos put his life on the line every day so other New Yorkers could live in peace, so they could live in safety,” he said. “That is what he believed in. His life was tragically cut short, but his memory will live on in the hearts of his family, his congregation, his brothers and sisters of the NYPD, and literally millions of New Yorkers. We will not forget.”

The mayor was about a minute into his remarks when the first of the officers turned their backs to a video screen that was set up outside the church for the overflow crowd. Others officers followed suit until nearly the majority of those in uniform on the street had joined in the protest.

It was a repeat of last Saturday, when dozens of officers turned their backs on the mayor as he made his way down a hallway at Woodhull Medical Center, where the bodies of Ramos and Liu were taken after they were shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a transient with a history of mental illness who called the murders retribution for the killings of Garner and Brown. Brinsley killed himself moments later.

Pallbearers carried Ramos’s casket out of the Christ Tabernacle Church, where he was an usher, for full honors, including a fly-over by a dozen helicopters. A motorcade led by 300 motorcycles made its way towards Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn for his burial.

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North, was overwhelmed by the scene following the funeral.

“This is unprecedented, wow,” he said, surveying the crowd of officers from all over the country. “They’re here from L.A. and Texas and a lot of those motorcycles are from New Orleans. They are from coast to coast and Canada and it’s greatly appreciated that they came.”

Many in the crowd came by bus caravan from Boston, explained Sgt. Steven Dearth of the Hingham. Massachusetts Police Department, calling the murders an act of terrorism.

“We had our own experience with domestic terrorism with the marathon bombing, but assassinating police officers is a whole different animal,” he said. “I’ve got to say I’ve been to too many of these funerals.”

The huge throng of law enforcement personnel was slow to break up, as many of the cops exchanged unit patches on their way to waiting buses. Meanwhile, the residents of Glendale, Queens were getting their neighborhood back.

One neighbor sat on the front steps of his 67th Street home, enjoying a cigar as the departing vehicles clogged Central Avenue.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the NYPD, but we’ve been on lockdown for two whole days,” Warren Isaksen said. “A lot of our residents are really fed up that we couldn’t use our cars to go grocery shopping. We had helicopters all night long with searchlights lighting up our bedrooms. We love them, but we’re glad it’s over.”

Workers at the Manna Deli on Central Avenue were sorry it was over.

“We’ve never had a morning quite like this,” Sean Teng said.

As the only deli for several blocks, it was jammed, according to Teng’s colleague.

“It was unbelievable. We had to resupply several times this morning,” Long Chen said. “And it was fun to meet those guys. The amount of support they showed for each other was truly remarkable. And I’ve never felt safer in my life.”

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Clarity and context added.
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Reasonable discourse

Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
Public employees with amazing perks (like sloppy free triple parking anywhere they want), carrying arms off duty, health and EXTRAORDINARY retirement benefits turning their backs on their boss who was democratically elected to make decisions? (Well, at least as democratically as you can get in New York City's corrupt patronage system). Any other hardworking New Yorker who disrespected their boss like that would be sent packing.

This is thuggish, arrogant behavior you would expect in a dictatorship. In countries where this kind of stunt is tolerated, the military and police routinely replace leaders they don't like by force. This is just one step away. Maybe New York has come to the point after the World Trade Center events where they accept living in a police state.

A tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of police officers in New York City regrettably are killed or injured in the line of duty. It's terrible and tragic when anyone is killed by a maniac, but these arrogant, aggressive and spoiled PUBLIC EMPLOYEES —whose salary comes from New York's massive tax burden— and with very little oversight in their often rude and even brutal treatment of citizens (and laughable internal affairs oversight) seem to think they have more rights than the average citizen or worker.

But I guess that's what you get when you live in The Empire State's biggest cutthroat trading post. So never mind.
Dec. 27, 2014, 7:10 pm
Grant from Williamsburg says:
"That was where Ramos and Liu were taken after they were shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley in retaliation for the shooting of two unarmed black men by police. The gunman later killed himself."

I'm pretty sure this guy was derranged and it should not be considered retaliation considering he also shot a girl in Baltimore.
Dec. 27, 2014, 7:42 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
Don't turn your back on racism.
Dec. 27, 2014, 8:59 pm
gf from bensonhurst says:
epiphany must be aware that the police do vote as citizens and have the same protections as she to protest/petition government etc.

i doubt they would be able to do the same to police commissioner bratton or a precinct commander.

as for the remainder of her remarks concerning benefits/salary to pension etc? she does not seem to understand the nature of the chartered municipal corporation (nyc) , or the term "citizen" and all that comes with citizenship.

hint hint, you joined the association like joining aaa or costco and are subject to all the benefits and rules of that association.
Dec. 28, 2014, 9:35 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
May their next contract include layoffs.
Dec. 28, 2014, 12:21 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
GF is very vague in her crash course in civics and law. Whether the "chartered municipal corporation" permits officers to show disrespect to their bosses or not, they still seem irresponsible in their attempt to publicly divide the city, when the bigger threat to citizens in New York City really is crime, police misconduct and corruption. If they don't like their their jobs, where they can retire on a full pension after 20 years (many do under the age of 40), have amazing health benefits, can park anywhere they like and mouth off to any citizen—or worse—mostly with no recourse, then they should seek work in the private sector—not the bloated tax-funded public sector. In the real world of the private sector, they will find it much harder to retire and still support their families. In the pubic sector today, people are increasingly struggling and on their own when it comes to health and pension benefits (and there is no free NYC parking!).

The New York City Charter according to Chapter 18, gives the elected (whether most police officers voted for him or not) to choose a police commissioner who sets policy in enforcing the law. If they don't like their boss, there is always the door.

§ 431. Department; commissioner. a. There shall be a police department the head of which shall be the police commissioner who shall be appointed by the mayor and shall, unless sooner removed, hold office
for a term of five years.

On the other end of the scale, I will also say that anyone who hurts a police officer during a protest, is responsible for the legal consequences (which should not include excessive force of brutality in an arrest).
Dec. 28, 2014, 2:17 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
Back-turning = a self-centered, unprofessional stunt.
Dec. 28, 2014, 2:24 pm
Byron from Brooklyn says:
@ epiphany - Is the mayor their boss? Isn't the police commisioner their boss?
And if your boss is awful, are you supposed to blindly follow his terrible "leadership". I mean, I know that was the prevailing attitude in 1930's Germany, but it doesn't add anything today. Blindly following and pretending to respect the mayor won't really make any difference.
Dec. 28, 2014, 2:24 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
Hi Byron. You are free to walk the streets of NYC trying to get a recall petition signed. I'm not a big fan of the mayor either, but comparing his actions to Germany in the 1930's is off-base, hysterical rhetoric. Kind of dulls the point of your argument.
Dec. 28, 2014, 2:40 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Oh, Byron.

You're actually suggesting that the police should not be subject to civilian control lest we become fascist?

People are getting dumber and dumber.
Dec. 28, 2014, 4:19 pm
your home town from Brooklyn says:
DeBlasio,

Support NYC's Finest

AND even older,

NYC's the Carriage Horses

Stop the hypocrisy!
Dec. 28, 2014, 8:18 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
they were off duty and from out of town and perfectly within their rights.

retire after 20 yers - fantastic - nice work if you can get is
Dec. 28, 2014, 8:38 pm
Ed from The Bronx says:
DeBlasio is a one termer.

Abe Beame and Dave Dinkins all rolled into one.
Dec. 29, 2014, 1:39 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
I wonder if Akhaily Gurley gets any cash. he wasnt a cop but wrongly killed by a cop.
Dec. 29, 2014, 8:17 am
Jimmy from Flathbush says:
Byron -- Did you really write that? "Is the mayor their boss? Isn't the police commisioner their boss?" Seriously?! So, according to you in a hierarchical organization, only the direct supervisor is someone's boss? That's just dumb.
Dec. 29, 2014, 2:45 pm
andres de brooklyn from flatbush says:
I support the police union but i think they have gone too far..they have to stop it or they gonna lose the public support.
Dec. 29, 2014, 3:42 pm
Joey from B Ridge says:
andres, they've gone much too far.

Both NYPD *and* imported non-NY PD shunning NYC's civilian mayoral office? as if PD are a pan-jurisdictional force unto themselves?

This looked bad and ugly.
Dec. 29, 2014, 9:35 pm
ty from pps says:
Audrey -- That's an ignorant statement. Do you now see how much worse it is when the actual police force expresses the same ignorant thoughts?
Dec. 30, 2014, 10:09 am

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