Despite Bill Bratton’s request that they behave respectfully, hundreds of cops turned their backs as Mayor de Blasio spoke at the Sunday funeral of murdered NYPD officer Wenjian Liu. As with the similar protest at the funeral of Liu’s partner, Rafael Ramos, the back-turning took place outside the ceremony, where thousands of uniformed members of law enforcement watched the proceedings on jumbo screens. As the New York Daily News and several other news outlets noted, “It wasn’t immediately clear how many of the protesting cops were NYPD officers, or from out of town.” But photos from the scene show that at least some of the protesters were from New York.
Meanwhile, inside of Aievoli Funeral Home on Brooklyn’s 65th Street, Liu’s family mourned the seven-year NYPD veteran. Speaking through a translator, Liu’s father, Wei Tang Liu, recalled “the best son,” who took him to the doctor when he was ill, waited for him outside the factory where he worked, and called at the end of his own workday to say, “‘I’m coming home today. You can stop worrying now.” “This is the saddest day of my life,” Wei Tang said.
Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, whom he married just two months before he was killed, talked about her “soul mate.” “He was always there when anyone needed something,” she said. “I thank you for sharing this moment with me, with us, with our family, to reflect the goodness of his soul and the wonderful man that he is.”
In addition to de Blasio, Bratton and FBI head James Comey addressed the crowd. The mayor talked about Liu’s “profound humanity,” relaying a story told to him by one of the officer’s partners:
The two police officers had responded to “a lift,” a call to take someone home, and found a veteran who had served in Vietnam. Officer Liu “poured the man a soda” and the officers sat and listened to his stories of the war.
Afterward, they drove the elderly man home and lay him in his bed. Officer Liu wrapped the man in blankets before they left.
“That was Detective Liu’s way,” he said. “Lifting people up in every sense, wrapping them in kindness and teaching others by his example.”
“[Liu] sought out the suffering, the disturbed, the injured and tried to bring them comfort,” said Bratton. “We all believe in the possibility of being part of something larger than ourselves … Liu witnessed it and saw the possibility of service, to be part of something that would help others.”