Thousands of police officers paid their respects to Police Officer Wenjian Liu, who was killed along with Officer Rafael Ramos three weeks ago while sitting in a squad car on a Brooklyn street. Liu, 32, had just been married for a few months, and Governor Cuomo told reporters after leaving the funeral home, "They had just had moved into their home, just had started the American dream. His parents were living with them, and just a few months into the marriage she is a widow."
The NY Times reports, "A cold rain pelted the long, blue line of police officers that stretched for blocks outside the Aievoli Funeral Home in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn on Saturday. They were there, most of them standing stoically, without raincoats or umbrellas... Among the first to arrive were hundreds of officers from the 84th Precinct, where both men had been assigned. They streamed out of a nearby church in their dress blue uniforms, marching in unison, their white-gloved hands swinging in metronomic rhythm as they headed into the funeral home in pairs."
Liu and Ramos, 40, were fatally shot—executed, as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said—by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who later killed himself in a subway station. Brinsley posted on social media that he wanted to get back at police for killing Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, but Brinsley's family also said he was mentally ill and "spiraling." Earlier that day Brinsley had shot and wounded an ex-girlfriend in Baltimore.
Police unions seized on the officers' deaths as the direct result of Mayor Bill de Blasio's perceived lack of support for the police during anti-police brutality protests. At Ramos' funeral, officers turned their backs on the screen showing de Blasio's eulogy, which lead to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton asking officers not to turn backs at Liu's funeral, "A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance."
Neither de Blasio nor Bratton addressed the media after spending roughly 15 minutes with the Liu family. The slain officer’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, was inside along with her husband’s parents.
Chen placed a yellow flower basket with ribbons to her spouse’s right, along with a message in Chinese: “To my husband ... the noble spirit will live forever.”
Liu’s father appeared on the verge of breaking down after arriving with an NYPD escort. Mourners said some family members were in tears as they greeted the stream of guests.
Police officers from across the country attended the wake. Twenty members of the San Francisco police were there, and one, Officer Wayne Lok, told the News, "It’s just a fellow police officer killed in the line of duty. I just came out to show my respects and support the family."
Liu's funeral is being held today.