Officer Wenjian Liu was laid to rest Sunday morning amid a sea of mourners paying their respect to an NYPD Officer who was murdered, along with his partner Rafael Ramos two weeks ago by Ismaaiyl Brinsley in retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
There have been reports in the media regarding a number of officers turning their backs once again on Mayor de Blasio when he spoke during Officer Liu’s funeral service. Anywhere from a handful to more than a thousand are the numbers being cited.
However, the number may have been even larger had the PA system been extended throughout the entire assembly of Law Enforcement Officers as it had been for Officer Ramos’s funeral. Unfortunately the only monitors that were seen were in front of the Funeral Home extending only a few blocks down the procession route, and completely out of sight and ear shot of thousands of officers.
Mayor de Blasio’s unapologetic arrogance may have taken a petty turn on Sunday. After he saw thousands upon thousands of Law Enforcement Officers from around the country turn their backs on him at Rafael Ramos’s funeral last week, de Blasio surely didn’t want to that happen for a second time.
Thousands of Law Enforcement Officers stood quietly at attention throughout the service without any idea as to what was going on.
Every officer I’ve spoken to throughout several police departments, not just the NYPD, stated that even though some couldn’t see the screens at Ramos’s funeral, they were all able to hear the audio regardless of how far away from Christ Tabernacle Church they happened to be standing.
Not so for Liu’s.
Jumbotrons were not speckled throughout the entire crowd, and nothing could be heard by thousands of officers from inside the funeral home. Thousands of Law Enforcement Officers were completely left in the dark while they stood in the rain and cold until the procession passed.
One law enforcement officer who attended both Ramos’s and Liu’s funerals stated:
“At Ramos’s funeral I was so far away my street wasn’t even on the aerial photo, but at least we were able to hear the service. At Liu’s funeral, I was on the main street approximately 5 blocks away, but we never saw or heard a single thing from inside the funeral home. They excluded us completely so no one would have the opportunity to turn their backs on the Mayor.”
After hearing this I immediately called Mayor de Blasio’s press office, who in turn told me that the NYPD was in charge of handling the audio and video.
Not surprisingly, this came as news to the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, who said they had nothing to do with setting up the monitors or speakers for either funeral, and that I should call the funeral home directly since it would most likely be their responsibility. I thought that was strange. The idea of a funeral home shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a PA system or life-size monitors makes little sense.
When I called the funeral home, they told me the Mayor’s office was “in charge.”
So, did somebody drop the ball, or was this intentional? At the very least, Mayor de Blasio and his team did a disservice to all Law Enforcement in attendance by not giving all of them the courtesy to hear the service.
At worst, this was a petty, selfish and vindictive move by a petty Mayor, who only cares about his image and not the Law Enforcement Officers that were paying final respect to one of their own. These officers lives are more important than his public image.
Either way, there were cops from all over the country who traveled to NYC to pay their respects. Making them stand out there and not allowing all of them to hear or see what was going on inside was just wrong.