As New York once again gets ready to become an ocean of blue as thousands upon thousands of mourning police officers are expected to take part in a funeral on Sunday, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton is calling for respect. When cops gather to bid their respects to Wenjian Liu, the second police officer ambushed by a gunman in Brooklyn last month, they should leave political statements at home. “A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton wrote in a memo that was read out to cops at roll calls on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. “I issue no mandates, and I make no threats of discipline, but I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor and decency that go with it.”
Bratton never describes exactly what he’s talking about, but made it clear he was not happy at how cops helped feed a news cycle that focused on the conflicts between the police department and the mayor rather than on the dead officer. Bratton says it is time to do things differently (via the New York Daily News):
For the last seven days, the city’s and the country’s consciousness of that funeral has focused on an act of disrespect shown by a portion of those tens of thousands of officers. It was not all the officers, and it was not disrespect directed at Detective Ramos. But all officers were painted by it, and it stole the valor, honor, and attention that rightfully belonged to the memory of Detective Rafael Ramos’s life and sacrifice.
That was not the intent, I know. But it was the result.
On Sunday, we will gather together again, with the rest of New York City and law enforcement officials nationwide, to mourn for Detective First Grade Wenjian Liu. We gather to support his parents, his widow, and everyone who is there to remember a life tragically cut short.
The assassination of Detectives Liu and Ramos was an attack on us all. As a cop, one who lived and worked through the assassination threats of the 1970s, I understand that emotions are high. I issue no mandates, and I make no threats of discipline.
But I remind you that when you don the uniform of this Department, you are bound by the tradition, honor, and decency that go with it.
The wake for Liu is being held Saturday afternoon while the funeral will begin on Sunday at 10 a.m. It is taking place almost two weeks after the shooting because officials wanted to wait for Liu’s relatives to arrive from China. Liu was born in Guangzhou, China, moved to New York in 1994 and joined the NYPD in 2007. He got married two months before he was killed.