Watch NYPD Officers Shun Bill de Blasio By Literally Turning Their Backs at Officer Ramos' Funeral
The New York Police Department has turned their backs on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — literally. Earlier this month, the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association distributed waivers to NYPD officers asking them to ban de Blasio from attending the funeral of any officer killed in the line of duty. On Saturday, de Blasio did just that when he attended and delivered a eulogy at slain officer Rafael Ramos's funeral. Though the NYPD wasn't able to bar the mayor from attending the funeral, they showed their utter disapproval when hundreds of NYPD officers turned their backs on de Blasio during his eulogy.
The service for Ramos was held at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, with thousands of officers from around the country stretching the sea of blue more than six city blocks outside the church. Vice President Joe Biden and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also took to the podium to make their remarks. But the speaker who drew the strongest reaction, was Mayor de Blasio, who told the crowd, "All of this city is grieving and grieving for so many reasons. But the most personal is that we lost such a good man."
Despite his warm condolences, as de Blasio spoke, hundreds of officers outside the church turned their backs to a big-screen TV playing the mayor's eulogy. Sgt. Myron Joseph of the New Rochelle Police Department told ABC News that he and his fellow officers turned their backs to "support our brothers in the NYPD."
The less-than-warm reception was part of the lingering tension between de Blasio and the NYPD over his comments after the grand jury's decision not to indict officer Pantaleo. De Blasio had shown his support for protesters by mentioning his own fears for his biracial teen son and by using the word "allegedly" when discussing the protesters who were arrested for assaulting officers.
In response, Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said that de Blasio threw NYPD officers "under the bus" and the union distributed requests for officers to bar both de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito from attending the funeral of any cop who was killed in the line of duty due to their "consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve."
In what would be chilling foreshadowing, this exact showdown would play out just a week later when two NYPD officers were gunned down in broad daylight.
On December 20, officer Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, were fatally shot while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The assailant, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had posted intentions to kill law enforcement officers as retribution for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The killing came amid weeks of demonstrations in NYC. Lynch immediately directed blame for the cop slaying at de Blasio, suggesting that he had encouraged the protests and even declaring that he had "blood on his hands."
It seems hundreds of officers in attendance at Ramos's funeral agreed with the sentiment. But for de Blasio, who attended the funeral at the request of Ramos's family, his main priority was honoring a man who had lost his life trying to protecting others.