The thin blue line stretched across the country as police officers, state troopers and others law enforcement agents gathered in New York City for the funeral of a slain officer killed with his partner in a crime that shocked America.
“When an assassin’s bullet targeted two officers, it targeted this city and it touched the soul of an entire nation,” Vice President Joe Biden said in his eulogy. President Obama did not attend because he is playing golf in Hawaii on his 17-day vacation.
The streets outside the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens on Saturday turned blue with a sea of uniformed officers stretching for blocks. Cop choppers hovered above in a missing-man formation and Officer Rafael Ramos’ body was carried by pallbearers in a casket draped in the NYPD flag.
The event was tense, with a few hundred officers outside the church turning their backs from big screens showing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had said he worried whether his wife and son were safe from police. Some top police officials say the mayor’s anti-cop rhetoric contributed to a climate of mistrust before the murders of Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu.
In a statement, de Blasio’s office said: “The Ramos and Liu families, our police department and our city are dealing with an unconscionable tragedy. Our sole focus is unifying this city and honoring the lives of our two police officers.”