Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the wake of slain cop Wenjian Liu without incident Saturday, but it won't be clear until Sunday's funeral whether police officers will heed NYPD Commissioner William Bratton's appeal to end their back-turning protests against the mayor.
An on-duty NYPD honor guard saluted when de Blasio walked into the Brooklyn funeral home with Bratton as people lined up outside to pay their respects.
Sunday, officers are expected to fill the streets outside the funeral home to watch the service on a video screen. It was on Dec. 27 during the funeral of Rafael Ramos, the officer slain with Liu, that hundreds of NYPD members and out-of-town police turned their backs when de Blasio gave a eulogy.
"A hero's funeral is about grieving, not grievance," Bratton said in a memo being recited at roll calls.
The mayor and the police labor unions have been at odds since he voiced empathy with protesters over the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner.
Ramos and Liu were gunned down Dec. 20 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot them in Bedford-Stuyvesant as they sat in their patrol car. Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said that night that de Blasio had blood on his hands.
De Blasio spent less than 15 minutes at Saturday's wake, arriving at 1:12 p.m. Because he went through the front door, he did not face more than 1,000 officers lined up out back. In contrast to Bratton, who arrived early and chatted with officers on the street, de Blasio went straight inside from his NYPD-driven SUV.
Luda Kaplan, who carried a handmade sign on the street showing the letters "NY" and "PD" with a heart in between, said she supported police officers turning their backs to the mayor.
"Absolutely, I support them 100 percent," said Kaplan, a secretary who said her son-in-law just retired from the NYPD. "And I hope they're going to do the same today."
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who came to pay his respects, said that although he's been critical of the mayor, he hopes there is no such protest Sunday.
"I'm not going to criticize any cop who wants to turn his back. I just think at this stage, I think they've made their point and it's probably best for them and for the department if they don't turn their backs," he said.Los Angeles Police Officer Hannu Tarjamo, a union leader, said he was not planning to turn his back in protest of de Blasio.
"We're not here for the politics . . . We don't know enough,"Tarjamo said.
Peaches Guidry, a police officer from Jennings, Louisiana, said she considers a memorial the wrong place to protest.
"But," she said of New York officers, "they had their reasons."
With Nicole Fuller,
Will James and Darran Simon