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New York police snub mayor at shot colleague's funeral

By AP Reporter

Thousands of New York city police officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio as he spoke at the funeral of an officer shot dead with his partner.

The protest was a stinging display of scorn for the mayor despite entreaties from the police commissioner not to do so.

The show of disrespect came outside the funeral home where Officer Wenjian Liu (32) was remembered as an incarnation of the American dream - a man who had immigrated at age 12 from China and devoted himself to helping others in the US.

The gesture, among officers watching the mayor's speech on a screen, added to tensions between the mayor and rank-and-file police even as he sought to quiet them. "As we start a new year, a year we're entering with hearts that are doubly heavy" from the loss of Officer Liu and his partner, Officer Rafael Ramos, de Blasio said. "Let us rededicate ourselves to those great New York traditions of mutual understanding and living in harmony. Let us move forward by strengthening the bonds that unite us, and let us work together to attain peace."

The officers' deaths strained an already tense relationship between police unions and the mayor, who union leaders claim contributed to an environment that allowed the killings by supporting protests after the deaths of Eric Garner in the New York City borough of Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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