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Mayor De Blasio Visits Families of Murdered Police Officers

 On Dec. 22, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the families of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were killed in the line of duty.
De Blasio Visits Families of Slain Officers
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NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the families of the officers gunned down in Brooklyn Saturday in the wake of an outcry about his words and actions regarding the NYPD and called for putting them ahead of "protests" and "political debate" in their time of mourning.

The embattled mayor, along with his wife Chirlane McCray and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, first visited the family of Officer Rafael Ramos at his family's home in Cypress Hills Monday morning.

De Blasio shook the hands of two of the officers outside before heading inside for about 25 minutes. He said nothing to the media on the way out but spoke to the officers.

At a later press event, de Blasio said that Ramos' two teenage sons, Jaden and Justin, a student at Bowdoin College, "reminded me of my own children."

 The widow of Officer Liu, Pei Xia Chen, made a statement outside the family home Monday evening.
The widow of Officer Liu, Pei Xia Chen, made a statement outside the family home Monday evening.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

"They were incredibly impressive young men."

He described to the boys the loss of his father, Warren Wilhelm, who committed suicide three decades ago and said he would "be there for them."

A service for Ramos is scheduled for Friday, from 2-9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, 64-34 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, Queens. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. there. He will be buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery, police officials said.

Later de Blasio went to the Gravesend home of Officer Wenjian Liu's family.

He spent about 20 minutes inside and left without saying anything. Carnations with a blue ribbon were on the fence of the home and candles were in the front yard.

Later, he recounted speaking to Liu's widow, Pei Xia Chen, whom he married recently, "who was looking forward to building a family and now her husband was gone in an instant."

Outside the home Monday night, Chen thanked "the police department, our neighbors, the entire new York city community, friends and coworkers for the help and support they provide."

"We would also like to express our condolences to the officer Ramos' family," she said. "This is a difficult time for both of our families but we will stand together and get through this together."

Liu came to the US from Canton, China in 1994 and joined the police department in 2007 after learning English at Lafayette HS.

"He was an asset to the police department using his Chinese language skills whenever and whereever it was needed," a family statement read. "He was looking forward to having his own family."

Neighbor Kenan Taskent, the Muslim clergy liaison to the 61st Precinct, visited with the family after the mayor left.

Liu's wife was "devastated," he said. "The poor lady."

He also hugged Liu's father.

"I was hugging the father for the longest time and the poor guy couldn't stop crying. It's so sad," he said.

"It's so devastating. What kind of times are we living in? They're here to protect us, but they can't even sit in their car."

Liu's body was taken to Aievoli Funeral Home in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The NYPD was helping members of his family come to the US from China before arrangements could be made.

The heads of three police unions criticized the mayor for engendering anti-police sentiment that they say led to the kiling of the two officers.

The mayor previously met with the families on Saturday, the day of the shooting.

At Woodhull Hospital, where the officers were taken after the shooting on Tompkins Street and Myrtle Avenue, officers turned their backs on the mayor as he walked by before addressing the media.

De Blasio has sparked a firestorm of criticism in recent weeks for calling the protests of the deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown "peaceful" despite escalating tensions between police and marchers.

He also used the term "allegedly" in describing an attack on two NYPD lieutenants during a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the wake of Saturday's killings, the unions representing officers and sergeants said that de Blasio had the slain officers' blood on his hands.