2nd NYPD funeral follows cold, wet day of mourning
NEW YORK (AP) Thousands of police officers are paying their respect to a New York Police Department officer shot to death along with his partner as mourners converge from around the country Sunday for a second funeral that stands to test tensions between the city's mayor and police.
Buddhist monks will lead a Chinese ceremony for Officer Wenjian Liu, followed by a traditional police ceremony with eulogies led by a chaplain. 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 Dec. 20.
Officer Lucas Grant of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in Augusta, Georgia, said he came to Liu's funeral with about six other officers from neighboring departments "to support our family."
"When one of us loses our lives, we have to come together," Grant said.
A day earlier, mourners lined up for blocks on a cold, rainy day for Liu's wake.
"This is a really tragic story," Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters following the wake, held just two days after the death of his own father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
"This is really pointless. It had nothing to do with them," he said of Liu and Ramos. "They did nothing wrong. ... It was pure and random hatred."
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, killed himself 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."
The deaths strained an already tense relationship between city police unions and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who union leaders have said contributed to an environment that allowed the killings by supporting protests following the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The head of the rank-and-file police union, which is negotiating a contract with the city, turned his back on the mayor at a hospital the day of the killings. The act was imitated by hundreds of officers standing last week outside Ramos' funeral who turned their backs toward a giant TV screen as de Blasio's remarks were being broadcast.
Many people, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, have since pressed all parties to tone down the rhetoric. And this weekend, Police Commissioner William Bratton sent a memo to all commands urging respect, declaring "a hero's funeral is about grieving, not grievance."
On Saturday, officers standing outside the Brooklyn funeral home where Liu was displayed, dressed in full uniform in an open casket, saluted as the mayor and commissioner entered.
But some ill will was visible again Sunday, as retired NYPD officer John Mangan stood across the street from the funeral home with a sign that read: "God Bless the NYPD. Dump de Blasio."
"I agree with (the officers) turning their backs," said Mangan, who lives on Long Island and attended Ramos' funeral with the same sign. "The mayor turned his back on the police department a long time ago."
De Blasio was scheduled to deliver remarks at Liu's funeral.
Liu's funeral arrangements were delayed so relatives from China could travel to New York. He is to be buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery.
On Saturday, a small vigil was established in Chinatown and community members gathered, burning pieces of paper in honor of Liu in keeping with Chinese tradition.