Tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Saturday for the funeral of New York City Police Department officer Rafael Ramos, who was killed along with his partner on Dec. 20 by a man targeting the police.
Vice President Joe Biden attended the funeral and offered his condolences to Ramos’s widow, Maritza, Reuters reported.
“Your husband, and his partner, they were a part of New York’s finest, and that’s not an idle phrase,” Biden said. “I believe that this great police force of this incredibly diverse city can and will show the nation how to bridge any divide. You’ve done it before and you will do it again.”
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton also spoke at the funeral, which was held at Christ Tabernacle Church in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens.
“Our hearts are aching today. We feel it physically. We feel it deeply. New York City has lost a hero – a remarkable man because of the depths of his commitment to all around him,” de Blasio said.
As de Blasio made his remarks, hundreds of officers watching the funeral on giant screens outside the church symbolically turned their backs on the mayor.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 27, 2014
Tension between police officers and the mayor has been simmering since the police union’s president, Patrick Lynch, said the mayor had fostered a climate of anti-police sentiment that led to the shooting that killed Ramos and Liu.
“There’s blood on many hands tonight,” Lynch said on Dec. 20. “That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.”
Ramos, 40, was a married father of two. His older son, Justin, arrived at the funeral wearing his father’s police department jacket.
At a memorial service on Friday, Justin remembered his father as a man who worked hard to provide for his family.
“Dad, I’ll miss you with every fiber of my being,” he said.
Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
At a press conference held on the day the officers were killed, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said the two were shot without warning.
“They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe,” Bratton said.
Bratton identified the gunman as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who died following the shootings of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In online postings, Brinsley had threatened the police, saying he would act to avenge the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, emphatically denounced the killings of officers Ramos and Liu at a press conference in Harlem on Dec. 21.
“My husband was not a violent man, so we do not want any violence connected to his name,” she said.