New York Daily News

 December 27, 2014, 3:20 PM


 

 

Vice President Biden, Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton eulogize Officer Rafael Ramos at Queens funeral

 

The dignitaries pay their respects Saturday in Queens at Christ Tabernacle Church, where slain officer served as an usher every Sunday. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton posthumously appointed him chaplain of the 84th precinct.

BY CAITLIN NOLAN, ERIK BADIA, ANNIE KARNI

James Keivom/New York Daily News
The hearse containing the casket of New York Police Department officer Rafael Ramos leaves Christ Tabernacle Church following his funeral. See more photos, below, and go to the Daily News gallery.
Julio Cortez/AP
Justin Ramos, the son of slain New York City police officer Rafael Ramos, left, is comforted by his mother, Maritza Ramos, following funeral services at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, in New York. Ramos and his partner, officer Wenjian Liu, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. Also pictured is officer Ramos' other son, Jaden Ramos, bottom.
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
The casket of New York Police Officer Rafael Ramos is carried out of Christ Tabernacle church on December 27, 2014 in New York. Thousands of people, including US Vice President Joe Biden, attended the funeral Saturday for Ramos, one of two New York officers shot dead in apparent revenge for recent police killings of unarmed black men. Ramos was shot alongside his partner Wenjian Liu on December 20 on the heels of nationwide protests accusing police of racism and using excessive force against black people.
JUSTIN LANE/EPA
Mauritza Ramos (C) clutches an American flag while standing with her sons Justin (L) and Jaden (R) following the funeral for her husband, New York Police Officer Rafael Ramos, at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, New York, USA, 27 December 2014. Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were gunned down last weekend while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS
Law enforcement officers turn their backs on a video monitor as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the funeral of slain New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Rafael Ramos near Christ Tabernacle Church in the Queens borough of New York December 27, 2014. Tens of thousands of police and other mourners filled a New York City church and surrounding streets for the funeral on Saturday of one of two police officers ambushed by a gunman who said he was avenging the killing of unarmed black men by police. Singled out for their uniforms, the deaths of Rafael Ramos and his partner Wenjian Liu have become a rallying point for police and their supporters around the country, beleaguered by months of street rallies by protesters who say police practices are marked by racism.
MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray walk past a sea of policemen while arriving for the funeral services of New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Rafael Ramos in the Queens borough of New York December 27, 2014. Thousands of police and other mourners were expected to fill a New York City church and surrounding streets for the funeral Saturday of one of two police officers ambushed by a gunman who said he was avenging the killing of unarmed black men by police. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is due to make remarks at the service for Ramos, whose death, alongside his partner Wenjian Liu, has become a rallying point for police and their supporters around the country, beleaguered by months of street rallies by protesters who say police practices are marked by racism.

The devastated family of Officer Rafael Ramos mourned amid a sea of blue Saturday at a jam-packed funeral service for the NYPD hero killed one week ago in a Brooklyn ambush.

The slain cop was eulogized by Vice President Biden, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio — who extended an olive branch to the thousands of cops inside and outside the Queens church where Ramos had long served as an usher.

An emotional de Blasio, describing the NYPD as “the finest police force in this country,” first offered his sympathy to the grieving Ramos family before addressing the officer’s colleagues.

“I extend my condolences to another family, the family of the NYPD, which is hurting so deeply these days,” said de Blasio, the target of police vitriol in the week since Ramos and his partner were killed.

“All of this city is grieving and grieving for so many reasons, but the most personal is we’ve lost such a good man and a family is in such pain.”

The mayor’s words fell on the deaf ears of some mourners. Outside the church, dozens of NYPD officers watching the funeral on a large video monitor turned their backs to the screen as de Blasio spoke.

Many others in the audience held back tears or wiped them away with tissues during the 90-minute service. A police honor guard carried Ramos’s casket from the church into the eerily-quiet street.

His widow Margarita, her eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, stood flanked by her two sons in their black suits.

A lone trumpter played “America the Beautiful” as the assembled officers stood at attention before the flag was taken off the casket and presented to Ramos’ wife.

Biden, Cuomo, de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton led the mourners inside the Christ Tabernacle Church for the sad sendoff to the two-year NYPD veteran.

Biden spoke first, standing between twin American flags with Ramos’ casket directly in front of him, to eulogize the slain cop as religious man who joined the NYPD “for all the right reasons.”

“There will come a time when Rafael’s memory will bring a smile to your lips instead of a tear to you eye,” Biden said, addressing the slain officer’s family. “My prayer for you is that it will come sooner rather than later.”

Ramos’ older son, Justin, sat in the front of the church wearing his father’s NYPD jacket.

The vice president appeared to reference the ongoing spat between City Hall and the police unions, expressing confidence that a peace could come from this tragedy.

“This is a city of courage and character, having faced and overcome the greatest challenges, and I am absolutely sure as you are that that spirit is alive and well in this city,” Biden said.

“I believe that the police force in this incredibly diverse city will show the nation how to bridge any divide.”

The audience applauded when the vice president called the NYPD “the finest police department in the world.”

Cuomo stood and led the church in an ovation for Ramos during his address.

DEBBIE EGAN-CHIN
Numerous floral arrangements were brought to the Myrtle Ave. church.

“At the end of the day, we are one — the family of New York,” the governor said. “God bless you and keep you, and you will be forever in our prayers.”

Bratton, during his eulogy, announced the deeply religious Ramos was appointed the posthumous chaplain of the 84th Precinct.

He also confirmed that both Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu, the second victim of the gunman, were promoted to detective first grade.

Ramos’ widow and two sons arrived about 75 minutes before the service began in a church killed with Ramos’ colleagues from the 84th Precinct came inside.

They were joined by officers from Brooklyn’s 79th Precinct, and members of the Liu family.

Outside, law enforcement representatives from New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, San Francisco and Indiana stood silently in member of their slain brother.

The service began with snipers perched on the roof of a nearby apartment building as NYPD Chaplain Monsignor Robert Romano led the mourners in the Lord’s Prayer and mourners heard the National Anthem.

A painting of the fallen officer stood outside the Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, showing Ramos in his uniform with “84th PCT” painted above him.

Officers carried dozens of flower arrangements from the church to the flower car, including white flowers with blue ribbons, an arrangement in the shape of a shield with “COFC” emblazoned on its front, one from the New York State Police and a cross made of blue and white flowers.

Another shield arrangement reads “952145 NYPD.”

Ramos, 40, and Liu, 32, were ambushed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley while they were at the Tompkins Houses. The 28-year-old gunman then fled into a nearby subway station and committed suicide.

akarni@nydailynews.com