It happened yet again. On a smaller scale it seems, but cops—perhaps in the hundreds or even thousands—apparently decided to ignore a call by Police Commissioner William Bratton to leave politics out of the funeral for murdered NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu. As soon as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s image came up on a large screen outside the funeral for the officer who was shot dead alongside his partner on Dec. 20 in Brooklyn, “hundreds of cops turned their backs yet again,” according to the New York Daily News. The New York Post also says it was “hundreds” of cops who decided to turn their backs to the mayor. The Associated Press, however, says the number of cops with their backs turned numbered in the “thousands,” describing the scene as a “stinging display of scorn for the mayor.”
The New York Times confirms the account but doesn’t even hint at the number saying that “handfuls” of police officers turned their backs. “Those with backs turned were scattered among the crowds of hundreds that filled the streets,” notes the Times.
The way in which officers chose to once again turn their backs on the mayor contrasts with how officers saluted de Blasio and Bratton when they arrived at Liu’s wake on Saturday. That came shortly after the release of a memo that was read out to cops at roll calls on Saturday in which Bratton said that “a hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance.”
Thousands of officers packed the streets of the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn to honor Liu on a rainy Sunday. “All of our city is heartbroken today,” de Blasio said. Liu was killed fighting for “all that is decent and good,” the mayor added, while paying tribute to the “young man who came here from China at the age of 12 in search of the American dream.” Liu’s funeral was delayed because officials wanted to wait for his relatives to arrive from China. The Sunday service was led by Buddhist monks.