A sea of blue enveloped Christ Tabernacle church in Glendale Saturday as thousands of police officers and law enforcement officials from throughout the region and country gathered to pay respects to Rafael Ramos, one of two New York City police officers murdered last week while they sat in their patrol car outside a housing complex in Brooklyn.
Ramos, 40, and his partner, NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, were shot at point-blank range execution-style in Bedford-Stuyvesant by a gunman who had stated on social media sites prior to the slayings that he was going to “put wings on pigs” and referenced the deaths of unarmed African Americans Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who had both died at the hands of white police officers.
Joining a packed congregation that included Ramos’ family, friends, fellow officers and countless parishioners and mourners, his funeral services were also attended by Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had come under fire in recent weeks from police rank and file for comments made in the wake of a grand jury’s recent decision not to prosecute the officer who killed Garner.
A grand jury also decided not to seek criminal charges against the police officer who killed Brown, a teenager, in Ferguson, Mo. in August.
The services for the slain officer, who leaves behind a wife and two children, comes amid weeks of protests throughout the city and across the nation against the grand juries’ decisions, among other police-related grievances.
“He was my rock,” Ramos’ son Justin said at a wake held Friday for his father. “He was a beacon of wisdom. He was my absolute best friend.
“Dad, I’ll miss you,” he cried.
“I speak for whole nation that our hearts ache for you,” Biden told Justin and brother Jaden during the funeral Saturday, according to The Washington Post, one of a multitude of local and national media outlets covering the services. “I do hope you take some solace in the fact that there is 25,000 of the same fraternity who will stand with you and stand with you for the rest of your lives.
“He was so so part of you, he will be a part of you forever,” he continued, reported the paper, telling Ramos’ wife: “The time will come when Rafael’s memory will bring a smile to your lips rather than a tear to your eye.”
Biden said of Ramos and Liu, according to The Post:
“Being a cop is not what they did. It was who they were, like every man and woman here today. You all joined for the same reason, there was something about you that made you feel you should help.”