Police turn backs on mayor at slain officer's funeral
Hundreds of police officers standing outside the church where a funeral was being held for one of two slain NYPD officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio as he spoke during the service.
The funeral for Officer Rafael Ramos was held Saturday morning at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Queens.
While de Blasio received polite applause before and after his eulogy, many officers positioned outside the church watching the service on giant TVs showed their discontent by turning their backs. The reaction follows comments from police officers and union officials who said the mayor contributed to a climate of mistrust that culminated in the fatal shooting of Officer Ramos and his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, in Brooklyn last week.
PBA officials, including President Patrick Lynch, have been vocal in their displeasure over de Blasio's support of protesters who called for justice in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Lynch blamed the mayor for fostering distrust of police, and said de Blasio had "blood on his hands" following the ambush shooting.
Some people who attended Saturday's services were seen holding signs that read, "Dump de Blasio."
Among the roster of speakers at Ramos' funeral were Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
Biden received widespread applause from officers both inside and outside of the church when he called the NYPD the world's finest.
Cuomo stressed the professionalism of the officers, especially in the past few weeks, when they were protecting protester's rights to free speech even though much of it was hateful toward them.
Bratton pointed out that the past few weeks in the city have brought to surface racial tensions and questions. He said that he hopes everyone can put aside their differences and see each other as people.
Bratton promoted both officers Ramos and Liu to first-grade lieutenants. Ramos was also promoted to honorary chaplain.
In addition to the funeral, mourners paid their respects by visiting a growing memorial at the scene of the shooting.
Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.