New York, Dec 28 (IANS/EFE) Some 25,000 policemen gathered Saturday to pay their last respects to Rafael Ramos, one of the officers killed a week ago in New York by a man who allegedly wanted to avenge the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.
Wearing their blue dress uniforms, the cops followed the funeral of their fellow officer on giant TV screens installed outside a church, inside of which numerous dignitaries headed by US Vice President Joe Biden attended the ceremony.
“I’m sure I speak for the whole nation when I say our hearts ache for you,” Biden said, offering his condolences to the victim’s family and to the entire New York Police Department (NYPD), which he called “the finest police department in the world.”
The phrase, applauded by all the people present, came after months of tension around the country due to the deaths of several African-Americans at the hands of police, that sparked strong protests against police violence and supposed racism.
Officers Ramos and Wenjian Liu were killed by a black man, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who committed suicide shortly after perpetrating the double assassination in the New York borough of Brooklyn.
Brinsley, who suffered from mental problems, acted in the name of two African-Americans killed by cops. Eric Garner was killed in New York in July and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.
On Saturday, Biden said he was convinced that New York would lead the reconciliation of the country, where racial tensions of the past are again in evidence.