NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Accompanied by the sounds of bagpipes and sobs, city officials, family members and police on Sunday honored the lives of two officers who were shot to death a year ago while in their cruiser.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton dedicated two bronze plaques inscribed with the names of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos outside the entrance of Brooklyn’s 84th Precinct. The officers were killed on Dec. 20, 2014.
An NYPD helicopter flew overhead in honor of the slain officers.
Hundreds of officers in dress uniform, many in tears, stood listening to Liu’s father, Wei Tang Liu, bent over in grief and sobbing as he spoke in Chinese about his only child.
Liu’s wife, Sandy Liu, translated, breaking down as she spoke her father-in-law’s words: “Before my son’s death, I would hear his voice every day for the past 33 years of his life.”
Liu’s father thanked those who had reached out to the family.
“We are so grateful for all the love and support for the past year,” he said.
Later, officials laid wreaths on the sidewalk near the spot where the police cruiser had been parked.
The two officers were shot at point-blank range through their cruiser window. The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, then killed himself with the same weapon. He had posted on Instagram that he wanted to put “wings on pigs” and referenced Eric Garner, whose police chokehold death led to protests against the NYPD.
Calvin Hunt, of Harlem, brought a sign to the event which read “#Blue Lives Matter.” The sign was carried by Hunt’s children, Cameron, 8, and Olivia, 11.
“Teaching my kids that the police is good,” Hunt told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “We got bad and good in our lives, but these was good police.”
Commissioner Bratton assured Liu and Ramos’ families the officer’s sacrifice was not in vain, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.
“Their deaths stopped a momentum, a momentum toward a precipice in this country a year ago, that was beginning to spin out out control,” Bratton said.
Bratton posted about the slain officers Sunday on Twitter, writing “One year later we remain faithful to our vow that we will
#NeverForget our fallen heroes, Detectives Ramos & Liu.”
The family of Detective Ramos did not speak publicly at Sunday’s ceremony, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported. Earlier this week, Ramos’ widow announced the creation of a foundation in support of police officers created in her late husband’s name.
“I don’t ever want anyone to forget who Rafael Ramos was,” Maritza Ramos said.
The two plaques honoring Detectives Liu and Ramos will be mounted inside the 84th Precinct station house.
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