Police, Politicians, Gather In New York For Ramos Funeral
Police from around the country were gathering at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens today to honor a fallen comrade, Officer Rafael Ramos, who was fatally shot in an unprovoked attack one week ago along with his partner, Wenjian Liu.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vice President Joe Biden are among those expected to speak at the funeral, which followed a wake for Ramos on Friday that was attended by hundreds.
The shootings laid bare a rift between De Blasio and the New York City Police Department. Shortly after last Saturday's attack, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's president, Pat Lynch, accused the mayor of having "blood on his hands" for what is perceived as a lack of support for the department amid protests against police violence.
During Saturday's wake, Ramos' commanding officer, NYPD Capt. Sergio Centa, said the slain officer had been studying to be a pastor: "He had Bible study books in his locker, which is rare for a police officer, but that goes to show you the type of man he was."
The Associated Press notes that "when the Ramos family arrived, the eldest son - wearing his father's New York Police Department jacket - was hugged by a police officer."
Funeral plans for Liu have yet to be announced.
Ramos and Liu were shot and killed on Dec. 20 by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who left online threats and postings suggesting the assault was in response to the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Garner was killed in New York's Staten Island in July after a police chokehold; Brown was shot and killed in August in Ferguson, Mo. Both Garner and Brown were unarmed.
Nearly 700 police officers from outside New York arrived on JetBlue Airways flights that were offered by the airline free of charge.
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.