By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — About 100 Philadelphia police officers are in New York Saturday for the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos, part of a national show of solidarity for the slain officer.
The Fraternal Order of Police organized buses to take Philadelphia officers to join thousands of others at the Queens church where Officer Ramos will be memorialized.
FOP vice president Roosevelt Poplar says it is a somber journey.
“We’re going up there to show our respect for another officer who was killed in the line of duty, so it’s an occasion no one wants to see happen, but it’s also a gathering of police officers throughout the country to show our support for one another and as much support as we can show for the family,” he says.
Poplar says police always feel a loss when an officer is killed, but he thought this case — where the officers were targeted, amidst national protests against police use of force — required a show of solidarity.
Among the speakers at Officer Ramos’ funeral was Vice President Joe Biden. The Vice President expressed his condolences to the officer Ramos’ wife, saying, “I’m sure I speak for the whole nation, Maritza, when I say to you that our hearts ache for you.”
Mr. Biden said he has spoken at too many funerals for officers and watched too many families grieve. “I’ve observed on thing that unfortunately, it’s only when a tragedy like this occurs that all their friends, neighbors, and people who didn’t even know them become aware of and reminded of the sacrifices they make every single solitary day to make our lives better.”
Paying tribute to the New York Police Department, the Vice President said New York is the most alive of all cities in no small part because of the sacrifices that New York police officers make every day.
The Vice President mentioned New York’s resiliency as well. “We look at you in awe because this is the united city of New York,” he said. “A city that rose as one to confront two of the greatest disasters of this century. One from the evils of terrorism on 9/11 and one from the fury of nature in Superstorm Sandy.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also expressed condolences at the funeral.