Thousands of police officers, from New York City and across the country, gathered at Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens to pay their respects at the wake of Police Officer Rafael Ramos. In remarks to mourners, his sister Cindy Ramos said, "I’ll keep this short and sweet. Just like my brother. I know you always worry about me, but you know how I roll because we were two peas in a pod. Never think, just do, and just hope for the best. Having you as a brother was one of the highest honors that could have been bestowed upon me."
Ramos, 40, and Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, were fatally shot in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn a week ago today. The killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, turned the gun on himself on a subway platform after being pursued by police.
A three-year veteran of the NYPD, Ramos left behind a wife and two sons. His 19-year-old son Justin Ramos spoke at the wake, too, "My dad would have been there for everyone and to see so many people here for him is a testament to who he is as a person. It has been so helpful during this time... My father was a hero...I couldn’t have asked for a better role model." Ramos and Liu, a newlywed who helped support his parents, were posthumously promoted to detective by the NYPD. This will allow their families to collect more in benefits.
Ramos had been an usher at the church. The NY Times reports, "Some knew him as an usher named Ralph, a man who had no small task come Sundays. Dressed in a suit, he helped mothers handle baby carriages, steered the elderly to the elevator and personified the 'little' in a self-described 'big little church' by making churchgoers feel at home." He had also been studying to be a chaplain at the church.
JetBlue flew 730 police officers from outside of New York to the wake and funeral. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor Andrew Cuomo and, during the last hour of the wake, for just 10 minutes, Mayor Bill de Blasio, attended the wake. De Blasio, as well as Vice President Joe Biden, are expected to speak at today's funeral, which will be livestreamed on the church's website.
The NYPD has increased security for the funeral, in the wake of threats. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Association, said, "Any type of threat to a police officer at that funeral would be a major mistake overall. I think that it could only work against the individual doing it." Earlier in the week, he Tweeted, "NYC lacks leadership. Please hold the line, stay together and never give up. You have my commitment to see this through to the very end."