AM NY  January 22, 2015

NYC Council votes to name streets for slain cops


Streets in Brooklyn will be named after slain officers Rafael Ramos, left, and Wenjian Liu.

The New York City Council voted unanimously Thursday to name streets in honor of the two NYPD cops murdered last month by a cop-hating gunman.

By a vote of 50-0, lawmakers approved the dedications after a tearful appearance on the chamber floor by the widows and other family members of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were shot dead Dec. 20 in a patrol car in Brooklyn.

"Forever, these two streets will bear their names," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "Forever, New Yorkers will remember, and forever their memory will live."

Each of the streets being renamed is near one of the murdered cops' homes in Brooklyn: West Sixth Street, between Avenues S and T, is to be designated "Detective Wenjian Liu Way," and Ridgewood Avenue, between Shepherd Avenue and Highland Place, "Detective Rafael Ramos Way."

The men, who died at the rank of officer, were posthumously promoted to detective.

Their families flanked Mark-Viverito, Police Commissioner William Bratton and Patrick Lynch, head of the rank-and-file officers union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Tensions between Lynch and City Hall have been inflamed since he said Mayor Bill de Blasio had blood on his hands for voicing sympathy with those protesting the deaths of unarmed minority men at the hands of police. While it was unclear whether Lynch's appearance represented a rapprochement, the parties set aside the disagreements to appear together at the council.

"Today in the NYPD, we say to those families, the day you lose your loved one you become part of our family and family comes together to give them a shoulder to cry on, a shoulder to lean on and a cause to put our hands to gather to show respect for the sacrifice," Lynch said.

Shortly before the vote to name the streets, Lynch, Bratton and Mark-Viverito kissed the families as some of the loved ones wept. Several of the family wore a T-shirt being sold to honor the men.

The naming legislation, part of 56 designations of thoroughfares and public spaces approved Thursday, goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his signature.

Leaving City Hall, Lynch renewed his hope the council would not pass legislation criminalizing chokehold use by police or requiring that officers inform people stopped on the street of their constitutional right to refuse a voluntary search.

Asked Thursday whether he thinks council is adequately supporting his officers, he said: "Time will tell."