New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called slain New York City Police Officer Rafael Ramos "a hero" and gave the officer a posthumous promotion during Ramos' funeral today
"The men and women who hear that blue and wear that badge, we know who Rafael Ramos was," Bratton said at Ramos' funeral. "He was a New York City Police Officer, and he was, he is a hero."
Bratton promoted both Officer Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu, the other NYPD cop killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their car, to detective first grade.
The commissioner also honored Ramos by announcing the officer would be made an honorary chaplain at the 84th police precinct, where he worked. Ramos had been studying to be a police chaplain before he was killed.
Thousands of uniformed police officers gathered for the funeral at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens, standing outside the church where it was broadcast on large screens.
Bratton was just one of many high level government officials who spoke, including Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Biden called the New York Police Department the finest in the world.
"They were a part of New York's finest, and that not an idle phrase," he said. "This is probably the finest police department in the world, the finest police department in the world. They earn that praise."
He said that the killing, termed an "assassination" by city officials, reached beyond the city.
"When an assassin's bullet targeted two officers, it targeted this city and it touched the soul of the entire nation," he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised Ramos' dedication to his duty as an officer.
"For Officer Rafael Ramos, being a police officer was more than just a job; it has to be. It was a calling," he said.
De Blasio offered condolences not only to Ramos immediate family, but "his other family," the NYPD, and called Ramos "a peace-maker for the City of New York."
"Officer Ramos put his life on the line every day so the people of New York could live in peace," the mayor said.
While most mourners remained somber - thousands of officers lined the road to the church - one man held a sign reading, "God Bless the NYPD, Dump DeBlasio." The shooting came amid heightened tensions between the police and the mayor over what some police saw as a lack of support for the force.
Hundreds of officers watching the funeral from outside turned their backs when the mayor spoke, just as officers turned their backs on him when he arrived a the hospital the night after Ramos and Liu were killed.
Bratton touched on the divisions currently affecting New York City after the death of the police officers and asked for calm and understanding.
"If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people like officer Ramos and officer Liu, to see our communities filled with people like them too," said Bratton. "If we can learn to see each other then, when we see each other we'll heal."
Speaking directly to Ramos' two sons, Bratton honored their father's service.
"We are here because your dad was assassinated," he said "That's a different word from murdered, which is awful enough. It speaks of the prominence of the person killed," Bratton said.
"Your dad was assassinated because he represented something, and that's true, he did," he said. "He represented the men and women of the New York City Police Department. He was the embodiment of our model, Fidelis ad mortem, faithful unto death."
Law enforcement officials had increased security around the church after a number of threats were made against the NYPD since the shooting.
After the service at the church, thousands of officers saluted as Ramos' casket was brought out. New York City Police Officers flew overhead in honor of Ramos, before the flag covering his casket was folded and given to his wife and sons.
Ramos was killed on Dec. 20, along with fellow officer Wenjian Liu, 32, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street.
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself.