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Dozens Gather at Queens Vigil to Honor Slain Police Officers

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 31, 2014 12:53pm
 The vigil was held Tuesday night at the 107th Precinct in Pomonok.
Queens Vigil for Slain Officers
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QUEENS — Dozens of residents, elected officials and NYPD members braved the cold weather Tuesday night to mourn slain police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos at a vigil held at the 107th Precinct stationhouse.

During the vigil, organized by several Queens precinct community councils, many lit candles; some held signs that read “Support the NYPD.”

“It’s a very, very difficult time for our NYPD family,” said Assistant Chief David Barrere, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South. “I can’t thank you enough for being here tonight.” 

Participants held a moment of silence and Public Advocate Letitia James led a prayer for the two fallen officers.

Dets. Liu, 32, and Ramos, 40, who worked in the 84th Precinct, were killed in an ambush on Dec. 20 by a lone gunman as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.

Mary Bashir, 43, who lives in Pomonok, came to the vigil with her 15-year-old daughter, Sophia.

“We were very upset to hear about the officers, the way their lives were taken,” she said as she held a lit candle. “We wanted to pay our respects.”

Local faith leaders and elected officials addressed the crowd, expressing their support for the NYPD.

“The city stands with the police department and we stand with them as they still are healing and bury the second police officer, officer Liu this weekend,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The slain officers have been mourned across the city. Ramos was buried last Saturday in Queens. The funeral for Liu is scheduled for Sunday morning in Brooklyn.

“Our hearts go out to the families but our respect goes out to this great police department that we have out on the streets every single day protecting us,” Katz said.

The vigil took place only several hours after a meeting between Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and leaders of the police unions.

The unions have been upset with de Blasio after his statements about the danger police posed to his son, Dante, after a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict an officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

After the two officers were murdered, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said that de Blasio had "blood on his hands."

“Obviously there is a lot of tension,” said Assemblyman David Weprin, who also attended in the vigil.

“But hopefully something positive will come out of [the meeting] and the rhetoric will stop on both sides and everybody will come together,” Weprin said.

Kenichi Wilson, member of Community Board 9, said after the vigil that many misunderstandings between residents and police officers could be resolved if more people attended meetings organized by precinct community councils.

During these meetings, he said, people can “ask the police questions that might resolve certain conflicts,” said Wilson, an Ozone Park resident who regularly attends 102nd Precinct community council’s meetings.