Local police chaplain: “they have each other’s backs”

Rafael Ramos, Wenjian Liu

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Thousands of police officers, including many from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, attended the funeral of a slain NYPD officer Saturday.

Fr. David Costa, chaplain of both the North Attleboro Police Department and the New England Association of Chiefs of Police, said that the turnout was a testament to the brotherhood of law enforcement.

Most of those who attended, including 20 from the Cranston Police Department, about 50 from the Rhode Island State Police, and another 50 from several southeastern Massachusetts departments, never knew Officer Rafael Ramos, but Fr. Costa said that their shared bond is the reason they attended.

“We’re not in their shoes many times facing that danger, but they have each other’s backs. Words don’t have to be spoken all the time. It’s just a presence that’s important.”

Ramos, who was made an honorary NYPD chaplain at his funeral Saturday, and his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, were shot and killed on December 20th while sitting in their cruiser.

The man who shot them, 28 year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had posted threats online about killing police officers just before he ambushed Ramos and Liu. Brinsley committed suicide in a nearby subway station shortly after the shooting.

Fr. Costa said that he sees many local police officers in his parish and knows them as more than just the blue uniform. The bonds they form between each other while on-duty are strong, and the loss they feel is heavy.

“Officers are usually well-known and beloved at a local level, and so it brings people together in support, in grief and questioning, and also in celebrating and just to be there, again, for each other.”

Vice President Joe Biden attended Ramos’s funeral in New York, at which Ramos and Liu were posthumously promoted to Detectives.

Funeral services for Liu have not yet been announced.

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