Hundreds of police officers again turned their backs as Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke yesterday at the funeral for slain officer Wenjian Liu, demonstrating the challenge the mayor faces in healing a rift with the nation's largest police force, the Wall Street Journal reports. Liu, 32, was fatally shot in his patrol car on Dec. 20 with his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, 40. With the officers' funerals over, attention will turn to whether the mayor and the city's police unions can work out differences that have spilled into public view.
There also is the matter of unresolved pay and benefit negotiations; New York officers have been working without contracts since 2010. “As far as any type of a fix is concerned between City Hall and the members of the NYPD, that challenge falls squarely on the shoulders of the mayor,” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, a police union. “Words alone won't heal the wounds.” The officers' back turning may have showed the limits of Police Commissioner William Bratton's sway. He asked the force of 35,000 on Friday not to show disrespect to the mayor, saying it distracted attention from the memories of the slain officers.