Police saluted New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as he entered a funeral home with Police Commissioner William Bratton for slain officer Wenjian Liu’s wake on Saturday.
The gesture marked a stark contrast from last week, when hundreds of NYPD officers turned their backs on Mr. de Blasio at the funeral for Liu’s partner, Rafael Ramos. Both officers were killed two weeks ago by a gunman who shot them in their police cruiser and then killed himself.
The respect shown by officers toward Mr. de Blasio on Saturday came after Mr. Bratton urged police to refrain from making political statements, CBS News reported.
“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton said in a memo to be read to all commands at roll calls on Saturday. “I issue no mandates, and I make no threats of discipline, but I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor and decency that go with it.”
Union officials say police were expressing frustration with Mr. de Blasio when they turned their backs on him at the funeral and outside a hospital when the officers were killed. They say Mr. de Blasio helped foster anti-police sentiments by supporting protests over the police killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who resisted arrest for selling individuals cigarettes in Staten Island, CBS reported.
The man who killed Liu and Ramos, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had made references online to the killings of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers and vowed to put “wings on pigs.”
Since the officers were killed, New York police have investigated at least 70 threats made against officers and more than a dozen people have been arrested.
Community leaders, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan have urged people on both sides to calm tensions and Mr. de Blasio met with police union leaders earlier this week.
Liu’s wake was held at the Aievoli Funeral Home in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. A funeral will be held on Sunday with a Chinese ceremony led by Buddhist monks, followed by a traditional ceremony and a burial at Cypress hills Cemetery.
Liu, 32, had been on the police force for seven years and was married just two months before his death.