Thousands of mourners have gathered on a rainy Sunday morning in New York City for the funeral of slain police officer Wenjian Liu. Liu and his partner Rafael Ramos were shot at point-blank range by a deranged man on December 20 in Brooklyn. The gunman shot and killed himself almost immediately after killing Liu and Ramos.
The funeral for Ramos was held last weekend, but Liu’s funeral could only be held after his family members from China had arranged for travel visas. Wenjian Liu came to the U.S. from China as a 12-year-old child and later became an NYPD officer.
Ramos’ funeral, also attended by thousands, was somewhat marred by a statement of protest that hundreds of police made toward New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. During de Blasio’s speech at the funeral, some police in the crowd turned their backs on the mayor in a gesture of disapproval over his lack of support for law enforcement.
Liu’s 11 a.m. EST funeral at Brooklyn’s Aievoli Funeral Home follows his Saturday wake that included the ceremonial burning of paper money and Buddhist chants typical of traditional Chinese funerals and wakes.
New York City has remained divided over police treatment of civilians following the shootings of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, despite pleas from the mayor to the public to stop protesting until after the funerals were over. A large group of protesters did gather at the funeral for Ramos, though there were no major disturbances.
Protesting did quiet down slightly over the past two weeks, a possible side effect of the holiday season that is typically marked by family gatherings, as well as domestic and international travel.
On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at the wake for Liu that he was an officer who truly lived the American dream by immigrating with his family and joining the police force. Both Liu and Ramos were promoted to Detective First Grade at Officer Ramos’ funeral.
As Liu’s Sunday funeral was set to start, thousands of police from all over the United States gathered to pay their respects along with other mourners. Some were flown in by airlines like JetBlue, who covered the cost of travel.
Posts on Twitter showed photos of the crowd gathering for Wenjian’s funeral, as well as special security measures to protect police.
— Worldwide Actions (@AlwaysActions) January 4, 2015
— ShababniK (@shababnik1) January 4, 2015
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) January 4, 2015
Wenjian Liu was just 32 years old at the time of his death.
[ImageSvia AP and WNBC]