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NYPD Commissioner Asks Cops Not to Turn Backs on Mayor at Upcoming Funeral

Bill Bratton is asking the city’s police officers not to turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio during this weekend’s funeral for Wenjian Liu, one of two cops killed in December in Brooklyn.
January 3, 2015, 7:00pm
Photo by John Minchillo/AP

The New York Police Department's Commissioner Bill Bratton is asking the city's police officers not to turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio during this weekend's funeral for Wenjian Liu, one of two cops killed in December in Brooklyn.

Last weekend, NYPD officers drew national attention when they turned away from de Blasio during the funeral of Rafael Ramos, one of the cops killed by a man claiming to avenge Eric Garner's death. Bratton has previously been critical of de Blasio for allowing the escalation of protests against police violence that erupted across the city in the aftermath of the non-indictment of the cop involved in the death of Staten Island resident Garner. The commissioner issued a statement on Friday that a funeral was not the place to show such grievances.

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The New York Post is reporting that Bratton released a four paragraph speech to be read at all precincts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, ahead of Liu's funeral. Bratton said the officers' action had detracted from the honoring of Ramos during last weekend's service.

"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," the statement says. "It stole the valor, honor and attention that rightfully belonged to the memory of Detective Rafael Ramos' life and sacrifice. That was not the intent, I know. But it was the result."

Bratton called the "assassination" of Liu and Ramos an "attack on all" of the NYPD, and said he understood "emotions are high."

"I issue no mandates, and I make no threats of discipline," he wrote. "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."

Thank you to our law enforcement partners, 1st responders & all for the show of support at the funeral of Det. Ramos. — Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton)December 29, 2014

The statement came as officers from throughout the country descend on New York to attend Liu's wake Saturday and funeral on Sunday.

But Bratton's request quickly prompted a backlash, both from cops and from some vociferous de Blasio opponents, who are saying NYPD officers should still turn their backs on him.

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"Obviously he's doing this to help his boss, de Blasio," a police source told the Post. "He's taking his side. He's trying to protect him and not make him look bad."

Dear Bill Bratton, commish of — #AllLivesMatter (@TAFischer)January 3, 2015

— TIMENOUT (@TIMENOUT)January 3, 2015

Liu and Ramos were shot in their police car last month by a man who posted beforehand on Instagram, "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take one of ours, let's take two of theirs. #Shootthepolice."

Liu's wake began at 1 PM today and his funeral is set for Sunday at 11 AM.

Opinion: The Cops Who Turned Their Backs at the NYPD Officer's Funeral Are the Most Threatening Protesters Of All. Read more here.

Follow Meredith Hoffman on Twitter: @merhoffman