Thousands of police officers converged under heavy security Friday for the funeral of a young New York City police officer who was killed on patrol.
Snipers watched from a nearby elementary school roof and authorities imposed a three-mile no-fly zone above a Long Island church where Officer Brian Moore’s funeral Mass was held.
The 25-year-old died Monday, two days after he was shot in Queens. He and his partner were in street clothes in an unmarked car and were stopping a man suspected of carrying a handgun when the suspect shot him in the head.
Busloads of officers arrived from as far as California, Louisiana, and Chicago to line the streets outside the church, and more than 200 officers on motorcycles led a procession from a funeral home as officers stood at attention and a police helicopter hovered overhead. Thousands of officers lined up and saluted as a hearse carrying Moore’s body headed to the church. As many as 30,000 officers were expected.
“Right now, it’s a tough time in law enforcement,” said Detective Omar Daza-Quiroz, 33, who traveled to the funeral from Oakland, California. “Sometimes people forget we are human and that we have lives.”
Surveying the turnout, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called it “unfortunate that it takes a tragedy like this to remind people of the outstanding job cops do.”
Moore’s death came amid a nationwide discussion of policing, race and the use of deadly force, after police killings of unarmed black men in New York; Ferguson, Missouri; North Charleston, South Carolina, and elsewhere in the last year.
But last weekend’s shooting also came only five months after two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were killed in an ambush in their patrol car by a man who had posted online about killing police in revenge for the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.
Liu’s relatives were among mourners who arrived early for Moore’s funeral. So was city Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and paralyzed in July 1986 and became an international voice for peace.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the mourners attending the officer’s wake on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio was expected at Friday’s funeral.
At Ramos’ and Liu’s funerals, hundreds of officers turned their backs to the mayor in a searing sign of disrespect. Police union leaders had said de Blasio had helped foster an anti-NYPD sentiment by allowing protesters to march through the city’s streets after a grand jury decided not to indict an officer in Garner’s death.
An uneasy truce between de Blasio and the police eventually settled in after some police union infighting, a public backlash to a NYPD job slowdown and a series of City Hall investments in the police department. There has been no similar sign of tensions in the wake of Moore’s death:
De Blasio’s “words are measured and careful to know that there’s support, and that’s important,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, who once said de Blasio had “blood on his hands” after Liu’s and Ramos’ deaths.
Moore had been on the force for only a handful of years, but he had already built up a record of more than 150 arrests and had earned meritorious service medals. He was the son, nephew and cousin of New York Police Department officers.
Moore and his family are “truly blue bloods,” the union chief said.
The suspect in Moore’s killing, Demetrius Blackwell, faces charges including murder, attempted murder and other crimes. He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea. His attorney has denied the charges.
Source: The AP