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Hundreds of NYPD officers angered by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presence at a funeral for a slain cop had a mini-demonstration of their own today, ABC News reports.
For the second time this month, NYPD officers have turned their backs on de Blasio in the aftermath of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu’s execution at the hands of a disgruntled citizen.
As mourners gathered to remember Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens today, a number of high-profile people like Vice President Joe Biden came out to pay their final respects. Most were respectful of the somber tone for today’s funeral, but some couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use it as a chance to protest.
At least one person held a sign calling for de Blasio to be ousted from office. When the mayor did step up to the podium to say a few words about the deceased, the majority of officers that came out for the funeral gave him the cold shoulder by turning their backs on him as a show of disrespect.
Once he’d addressed Ramos’ family, he tried to reach out to the other officers that had come out. He spoke directly to the cops in the crowd, stating, “[I] extend my condolences to another family — the family of the NYPD — that is hurting so deeply right now.”
Despite his attempt to mend that fence with the NYPD as a whole, it fell on deaf ears as the force appears to be holding its resolve against him. The night Ramos and Liu were gunned down, cops showed up to the hospital where they had been taken and turned their backs on de Blasio.
It’s unclear exactly what prompted the divide, but some outlets report that it goes back to November, when a grand jury announced that it would not indict the officer that choked Eric Garner to death through an illegal manuever.
When talking about protestors acting out against the decision, de Blasio used the word “allegedly” and ticked off many on the force. They felt it showed a lack of support for the NYPD from the city’s top official, and they haven’t taken the perceived slight lightly. It was likely the final straw in tension between de Blasio and the Patrolmens Benevolent Association, whose leader tried to get officers to sign a petition demanding that the mayor not attend memorials for officers that die in the line of duty.