Thousands of police officers from across the country, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Mayor City Bill de Blasio and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Queens Saturday for the funeral of slain New York Police Department officer Rafael Ramos. The 40-year-old officer and his partner, Wenjian Liu, were shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley while on duty Dec. 20.
— Andrew Siff (@andrewsiff4NY) December 27, 2014
A wake was held for Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens Friday. “Whether he was helping a mom with a carriage or bringing someone to their seats, he did it with so much love and so much vigor and so much joy,” the church’s pastor, Ralph Castillo, said of Ramos, according to the Associated Press. The eight-hour wake was attended by Ramos’ family and friends. Attired in a full-dress uniform, the fallen NYPD officer was brought into the church in a flag-draped casket
The deaths of Ramos and Liu have led to harsh criticism of de Blasio. The New York City mayor and the police unions have had a strained relationship which was reignited following the deaths of the two officers. On Friday, John Cardillo, a former cop, said hundreds of cops paid to have an anti-de Blasio banner flown over the Hudson River. “De Blasio, Our Backs Have Turned to You,” read the banner.
“It is our opinion that Mayor de Blasio's dangerous and irresponsible comments about his and his wife's concern for their son's safety at the hands of the NYPD fueled the flames that led to civil unrest, and potentially to the deaths of PO Wenjian Liu and PO Rafael Ramos, as well as the continued threats against NYPD personnel. The Mayor shows us no respect, and encourages the public to follow his lead,” Cardillo said in a blog post discussing the banner.
Earlier, the JetBlue Airways Corp. offered free airfare to police officers outside the New York metropolitan area who wished to attend the funeral.
The assassin Brinsley expressed outrage over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York via social media before killing Ramos and Liu last weekend. He shot the two officers while they were having lunch in their patrol car. He then committed suicide in a nearby subway station.
NBC News is providing a live stream of Ramos’ funeral, which can be viewed below: