NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hundreds of NYPD officers turned their backs Sunday as they watched Mayor Bill de Blasio eulogize an officer shot dead with his partner, repeating a stinging display of scorn for the mayor despite entreaties from the police commissioner not to do so.
The show of disrespect came outside the funeral home where Officer Wenjian Liu was remembered as an incarnation of the American dream: a man who had emigrated from China at age 12 and devoted himself to helping others in his adopted country.
The gesture among officers watching the mayor’s speech on a screen in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, added to tensions between the mayor and rank-and-file police even as he sought to quiet them.
“As we start a new year, a year we’re entering with hearts that are doubly heavy” from the loss of Officer Liu and his partner, Officer Rafael Ramos, de Blasio said. “Let us move forward by strengthening the bonds that unite us and let us work together to attain peace.”
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, some police officers from the NYPD and other departments didn’t turn their backs, but at a location about a block away from the funeral home, most officers made it clear their hostility toward the mayor, though few were willing to comment.
“Just no respect for the mayor. Nothing else to say,” said one man.