Cops turn backs on mayor again at fallen officer’s funeral

A sea of blue: Around 25,000 law enforcement professionals from all over the country attended the service, according to police brass.
The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

They gave him the cold shoulder.

Hundreds of police once again turned their backs on Mayor Bill Deblasio during a funeral service for slain police officer Wenjian Liu in Dyker Heights on Jan. 4.

Top brass directly in front of the funeral home remained at attention, but hundreds of the thousands of rank-and-file officers that filled 65th Street from 13th to 18th Avenues did an about-face when Hizzoner took the podium to eulogize Liu. Police union reps have said Deblasio has blood on his hands for the deaths of Liu and fellow cop Rafael Ramos, charging he has been insufficiently supportive of the NYPD. Officers made the disrespectful showing despite police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s memo late last week requesting officers not air their grievances at the ceremony for a slain officer.

“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton wrote in the Jan. 2 memo.

The memo said officers who did protest would not be disciplined.

Despite rain, tens of thousands of police and civilians stood along 65th Street and neighboring roads to attend the funeral before a motorcade accompanied the body to its final resting place in Cypress Hills Cemetery, law enforcement officials said.

Family members remembered Liu as a gentle and caring man who sacrificed for anyone who needed him.

“To me, he is my soulmate,” said Liu’s widow Pei Xian Chen.

The two married in September.

“He was fearless in and out of work,” Chen said.

Liu’s father called him a dedicated son who embodied Confucian ideals of piety toward parents.

“He called every day when he was finished with work to tell me he was safe,” Wei Tang Liu said through an interpreter.

Deranged transient Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed Liu and Ramos as the pair sat in a patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Dec. 20. Brinsley, who that morning shot his ex-girlfriend in the stomach at her home outside of Baltimore, turned the gun on himself on a G train platform after murdering the officers, police said. Brinsley had a history of depression and violent behavior and his girlfriend talked him out of a suicide attempt the day of the shooting spree, according to a New York Times report. In Instagram postings, he explained the murders as revenge for the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, according to reports.

In the hours following the officers’ deaths, police unions seized on the killings as evidence that the mayors’ hands-off approach to anti-police-brutality protests had fomented violent anti-cop sentiment. Officers at the hospital where Liu’s and Ramos’s bodies had been taken turned their backs on DeBlasio as he filed in, and thousands, including many from outside New York, repeated the gesture outside of Ramos’s funeral. The latest protest comes amid an apparent work slowdown by police citywide, with officers writing more than 90 percent fewer summonses during the past two weeks than during the same period a year prior, according to the Times. The same period has seen drastic declines across the board in parking tickets, arrests, and criminal summonses.

Police unions have been in contract negotiations with City Hall since May.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon, DeBlasio and Bratton denied the apparent slowdown is a coordinated effort.

“At this time, I would not use the term slowdown, which would indicate it is an organized or comprehensive initiative,” Bratton said.

The 90 percent drop in summonses amounts to “very few days in the middle of the holidays and in the middle of very extraordinary circumstan­ces,” DeBlasio said.

The mayor said the display disrespected the officers who died, their families, and all police-supporting New Yorkers.

“They were disrespectful to the families who had lost their loved one. And I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in a context like that,” he said. “I also think it’s disrespectful to the people of this city who, in fact, honor work of the NYPD.”

Liu, 32, was a seven-year veteran of the force who immigrated to the United States in 1994, Bratton said. The Police Department posthumously promoted Liu and Ramos to detectives, he said.

The Council will vote whether to co-name streets in Dyker Heights and Queens for the slain officers sometime this month, officials announced.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Incorrect street reference fixed.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
De Blasio is far too kind to the disgraceful NYPD, but as long as they think he hates them, I'll vote for him.
Jan. 5, 2015, 6:32 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
Another shameful display by NYPD.
Jan. 6, 2015, 12:20 am
caribefuneral from says:
The Caribe Funeral Home with a legacy of two generations of dedicated, experienced funeral service. We believe in personal attention and uncompromising quality. We are proud of our long standing traditions, our serene facilities and steadfast commitment to serving families in their deepest time of need.
funeral home in brooklyn
funeral services in brooklyn
direct cremation
Jan. 6, 2015, 3:58 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I'm no fan of the mayor, but using this officer's funeral as an oppurtunity to spotlight their problems with mayor is disrespectful to a man who died in the line of duty. The funeral is for the deceased and his family, friends and colleagues. It is not a time to publicly air your frustration with your boss.

That said, Mr. DeBlasio is not much of a leader if he cannot prevent such actions from happening twice. He clearly does not have the respect or trust of the police force. Beyond that, he seems to have no control over what they do. The mayor should be able to at a minimum enforce respect and decorum amongst city employees (even if they don't want to). He is not leading them - and it's plainly obvious to anyone. It has nothing to do with his views, but rather his inability to fill the shoes of the office of the mayor. You don't have to be liked by everyone to be a leader, you just have to direct effectively and make sure that your organization runs as it should do.
Jan. 6, 2015, 7:23 am
ty from pps says:
"Beyond that, he seems to have no control over what they do."

No mayor seems too. Even the blessed-clearly-on-his-way-to-sainthood Giuliani was under constant threat of juvenile reprisals by the police if anyone dared to question *anything* about the pure perfection that is the NYPD.

When everyone is a "hero," professionalism goes out the window.
Jan. 6, 2015, 9:26 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
I agree Michael, DiBlasio has managed this terribly, but these protests at police funerals come across as childish and churlish.
Jan. 6, 2015, 9:48 am
turn your back from Brooklyn says:
Why would they face a man that has publicly disgraced them. It is not disrespectful to the fallen officers, but rather the contrary. It is due to the extreme level of respect these men and woman have towards each other and their fallen brothers, that they have the guts to turn away from a false leader.

Kudos NYPD!!!
Jan. 6, 2015, 10:59 am
ty from pps says:
"publicly disgraced them" -- Ha! The untouchable "hero" syndrome. No criticism may ever be uttered, else the castle of cards may crumble! They come across as a bunch of thin skinned whiners.

In every other profession, criticism is meant to be and should be taken as a reason to improve (either in real terms or improving the perceptions of others). However, the NYPD are all "heroes" and can do no wrong, so they take criticism as a "public disgrace," act childish, and continue without changing anything.

The "false leader" is an interesting turn of phrase. The duly elected political ("civilian") leadership of the city is most definitely the head of all the City agencies, including the NYPD. Anything else would suggest some sort of military junta. So, I would suggest the NYPD start being professionals, stop whinging, stop being childish.... OR rise up in a blaze of glory, overthrow the City government and enjoy their time in federal prison when they get crushed by the National Guard. Though, it would be kind of weird for cops residing in Nassau and Westchester counties to occupy NYC... no?
Jan. 6, 2015, 11:37 am
Mike from Maspeth says:
This is a disgusting display by Lynch designed to strengthen their hand during contract negotiations. The NYPD pulled the same BS on Dinkins and the Blessed Guiliani. Yeah, let's hear it for our heros!

A crazy man killed those 2 policemen, and that was a tragedy. But 5 cops jumped a black guy selling loose cigarettes, got him in a choke hold and that death was ruled a homicide. Stop and frisk is just as bad as it ever was, and now our "heros" at the direction of a tiny little tyro union/mob boss are engaging in an illegal work slowdown, and they don't even have the guts to admit that's what they're doing! Yeah, let's hear it for our zeros!
Jan. 6, 2015, 12:22 pm
Resident from Dyker Heights says:
Just a minor correction:

"Top brass directly in front of the funeral home remained at attention, but hundreds of the thousands of rank-and-file officers that filled 65th Avenue from 13th to 18th Avenues did an about-face when Hizzoner took the podium to eulogize Liu."

Should be *65th Street
Jan. 6, 2015, 2:43 pm
jerry from B Ridge says:
It waa so childish, self centered, an embarrassingly small-making cheap shot.
Jan. 7, 2015, 1:07 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Regardless of the police view of the mayor (to which they always hate, dem or republican), they do not have a right to protest their leadership publicly. The right to complain publicly is reserved for others. I believe the police department needs to do a better job at defining the authority police hold, which ultimately is at the will of the public. Being a police officer is a privilege, not a right.
Jan. 7, 2015, 11:21 am
Kenneth Falk from East New York Brooklyn says:
We are not protesting the police. We are protesting the policing policies of Rudy and Mike. We are protesting the New Jim Crow Era. We are fighting to bring justice, not just for Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Rafael Ramos and WenjianLiu, we also march for the sons and daughters of their families and future minority families that may become entwined in the racist policing policies that ignore us, abuse us, inprison us, and take our lives. Why are certain Police Officers fighting to continue these actions?
Jan. 8, 2015, 12:18 am
Mike from Ft. Greene says:
Keep up the comments, people! There's an ad out there thanking "real New Yorkers" for supporting the cops and slamming those who are "causing trouble" with their comments and observations about how handy this awful behavior is during contract negotiations.

We ARE Real New Yorkers! And thank you Kenneth Falk for your comment especially!
Jan. 8, 2015, 6:45 am
Frank from Prospect Lefferts says:
I'd like to know where all the PBA chiefs live. How many actually live in NYC? How many of the senior officers are "real New Yorkers?"
Jan. 8, 2015, 8:06 am
Beverly says:
Frank - why does that matter?
It's how they do there job, not their personal lives that matter.
Jan. 8, 2015, 8:13 am
ty from pps says:
Excerpted from NY Daily News ("Hammill's Resolutions")

"BILL DE BLASIO must resolve not to be bullied by Lynch. De Blasio is the mayor of New York, elected by 73% of the 1,026,168 people civic-minded enough to vote. Lynch is a union leader elected by a majority of 35,000 PBA members, 40% whom do not even live in this city, leaving Lynch with 21,000 cops eligible to vote for mayor, or 2% of the turnout. The police vote did not elect de Blasio. It will not unseat him."

So... their "personal lives" do sort of matter. For 40% of the NYPD, Bill de Blasio is PURELY their boss. He is not their mayor. He is the head of the company in which they are employed.

The 60% who do live in NYC are welcome to organize political protests. They can request 'parade' permits and assemble in various areas around the city like everyone else (as long as they are off-duty). And if their grievances with the mayor are so fundamental, why do they have to resort of these cheap stunts like back-turning at a darn funeral?? They can't muster the same numbers to show up for a couple hours on a Wednesday afternoon in front of City Hall?! If that's the case, it seems the outrage may be more of the FAKE variety.

For the 40% who live in Nassau, Westchester and New Jersey... they don't have this same right to protest the Mayor of New York. This sort of action is purely insubordination. They are 'citizens' of the city, they are basically mercenaries on the NYPD payroll. If they try to publicly embarrass their boss, they should be fired.
Jan. 8, 2015, 11:16 am
ty from pps says:
*They are NOT 'citizens' of the city, they are basically mercenaries on the NYPD payroll.
Jan. 8, 2015, 11:18 am
Paula Thompson from Brooklyn says:
Ty - many people who live in New York sympathize with the police, and not the mayor. The mayor recieved such a high percentage of the vote because of the awful man who ran against him. Voters were against Lahota, not for DeBlasio (Real Name Wilhelm).
I also wonder if the same election were held today, if the results wouldn't be different (even with that god-awful other choice!)
The Mayor is very unlikely to win another term. This is only one of his poorly handled bungles.
Jan. 8, 2015, 2:31 pm
ty from pps says:
Paula -- What was that sly little comment "Real Name Wilhelm" supposed to get at? He took his mother's name. His father abandoned his family when he was 7. Not wanting to be identified as the "Jr." of that man seems quite reasonable. And, NO, his "real name" is the one he legally changed it to.

Paula -- You know that your comment was right up there with the crazy "birthers" right? So, you've lost all credibility when you suggest the mayor made other "poorly handled bungles." Your conspiracy theory tin foil hat crap gets in the way.
Jan. 8, 2015, 3:28 pm
ty from pps says:
Paula -- Did you know that Lady Gaga's name is really Stefani? Oh and Queen Elizabeth doesn't have a last name?! WHAT!?
Jan. 8, 2015, 3:31 pm
Michael says:
Well ty - then his name should be Warren De Blasio.

Also, Queen Elizabeth's last name is Windsor.
Jan. 9, 2015, 3:52 am
Michael says:
You never really addressed Paula's points. I also think that De Blasio would do worse in an ellection held today, than he did before anyone saw what he could do as mayor.

She's not saying that he wasn't born in the U.S. - she's just commenting that he was born with a differnt name than what he uses. Not wanting to be identified by the name that your mother and father chose for you is an exception, and some people would find that to be odd. He also has done this two times - first to Warren De Blasio Wilhelm, then in 2002 (for an ellection) to Bill De Blasio. It's not to pay disrespect to his father who commited suicide with incurable lung cancer when De Blasio was a teenage, as you claim.

His public name is most likely chosen to be popular with voters more than anything else.
Jan. 9, 2015, 4:01 am
ty from pps says:
Michael -- Queen Elizabeth doesn't have a last name. Windsor is her family's name, not a last name.

I ignored the rest of Paula's comments because she sounded like a whinging birther.

As far as his father: " "[My dad] was an officer in the Pacific in the army, [and fought] in an extraordinary number of very, very difficult, horrible battles, including Okinawa.... And I think honestly, as we now know about veterans who return, [he] was going through physically and mentally a lot.... He was an alcoholic, and my mother and father broke up very early on in the time I came along, and I was brought up by my mother's family—that's the bottom line—the de Blasio family."

He died when Bill de Blasio was 18. But was effectively not part of the family by the time Bill de Blasio was 7.
Jan. 9, 2015, 12:06 pm
direct cremation from says:
Affordable Funeral Services For Families Of All Beliefs. We have one of the Largest Chapels in the New York City Area. We provide Funeral,Burial and Cremation Services. We offer Great pricing and you can depend on our professionalism. Valet Parking Available.
Affordable Funeral Services
funeral services in brooklyn
direct cremation
April 10, 2015, 12:14 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: