The funeral of Rafael Ramos, one of the two police officers killed in the ambush-style attack one week ago, took place on Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, New York. More than 25,000 American and Canadian police officers came to pay their last respects.
Wenjian Liu, 32, and his colleague Rafael Ramos, 40, were the victims of Ismaaiyl Brinsley who shot them in their patrol car in Brooklyn, after weeks of protests against the shooting of two unarmed African American men by white police officers.
The gunman who later committed suicide motivated his action via social media. He said it was retaliation for the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the two shot unarmed men.
Ramos had been an officer for two years. He had two children Justin, 19 and Jaden, 13. At the wake held on Friday, his oldest son described him as his “absolute best friend”. He added that he was eternally grateful for all the things he had done for him and his brother.
His casket decorated in the NYPDS’s green white and blue flag was carried by colleagues in ceremonial uniform while officers from his Brooklyn station stood in salute. There were police helicopters in “missing man” deployment, a customary formation dedicated to fallen officers.
The ceremony began with Pastor Jonathan Collado quoting Martin Luther King: “The old law about an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind”. New York mayor Bill de Blasio also held a speech to honor the fallen officer.
His eulogy was followed on screens outside the church by officers who turned their backs as the mayor spoke. They did the same thing when the mayor arrived at the hospital where the two officers were declared dead last week.
The relationship between police officers and the mayor of New York has declined since the shooting, many of them considering that De Blasio was on the protester’s side instead of theirs.
In his eulogy, the mayor talked about how the nation was grieving for many reasons, one of which being the loss of a great man. Vice President Joe Biden also present at the funeral spoke about how he believed that a police department such as the NYPD has the power to “show the nation how to bridge any divide”.
Ramos was posthumously named chaplain of his department. Both he and his deceased colleague were promoted the highest rank of detective.
Funeral arrangements for Liu are not complete. JetBlue, the same airline company that arranged for officers all over the U.S to travel to the funeral on their expenses, is collaborating with a partner in order to bring Liu’s Chinese relatives to the U.S free of charge.
Image Source: NY Daily News