POLITICS

Vice President Biden to attend funeral for slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos

  • Left: Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Voices Of Solidarity Gala at IAC HQ on December 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images) Right: NYPD officer Rafael Ramos (AP Photo/New York Police Department, File)

    Left: Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Voices Of Solidarity Gala at IAC HQ on December 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images) Right: NYPD officer Rafael Ramos (AP Photo/New York Police Department, File)

  • New York Police Department Lt. Tanisha Gurley visits a makeshift memorial, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, near the site where NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed the two officers in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday, fatally shooting them before killing himself inside a subway station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    New York Police Department Lt. Tanisha Gurley visits a makeshift memorial, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, near the site where NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed the two officers in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday, fatally shooting them before killing himself inside a subway station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Vice President Joe Biden plans to be among the mourners at the funeral for a New York City policemen gunned down last weekend.

The White House says President Barack Obama has asked Biden to attend Saturday's service for Rafael Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, New York. Biden's wife will also attend. 

Obama is on vacation in Hawaii.

Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, were ambushed Saturday. New York's police commissioner says Liu's family plans to make arrangements after arriving from China.

The deaths of Ramos and Liu were the final act in a rampage by Ismaaiyl Brinsley that began when Brinsley shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend at her home outside Baltimore, then made threatening posts online, including a vow to put "wings on pigs" and references to high-profile cases of white police officers killing unarmed black men. After shooting the officers, Brinsley ran into a subway station and committed suicide.

The killings have raised concerns and tempers in the already tense nationwide debate surrounding police conduct. Some key developments after the weekend shooting in New York:

Amid calls for restraint, protests go on

Despite calls from New York's governor, the city's mayor and others calling for restraint, hundreds of protesters marched through midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night, with some holding signs saying "Jail killer cops."

The protesters were mostly peaceful as they wound through the city's bustling shopping district.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday called for a pause in protests over police conduct. He faces a widening rift with those in a grieving police force who accuse him of creating a climate of mistrust that contributed to the killings of the officers.

Police Commissioner William Bratton, speaking Tuesday in Rhode Island, said it was "unfortunate" that some protests continued despite the mayor's plea.

Tributes, memorial visits

Landmarks including the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dimmed their lights from 9 p.m. to 9:05 p.m. Tuesday to honor the slain officers.

A makeshift memorial has sprung up at the sight of the shooting, crammed with flowers, cards and candles. A daughter of Eric Garner, killed in a police chokehold, placed a candle at the site Monday and said she was touched by the message Ramos' young son posted online.

"It hit my heart," Emerald Snipes said.

The mayor and his wife quietly visited the site of the shooting on Tuesday morning, spending several minutes there.

De Blasio folded his hands before him and stood with his head bowed. His wife placed flowers among dozens of tributes.

Later, de Blasio observed a moment of silence at 2:47 p.m., the time the officers were shot.

About the victims

Ramos, who celebrated his 40th birthday this month, joined the New York Police Department in 2012 after working as a school security officer. He was a lifelong Brooklyn resident.

He was married with two sons: a 13-year-old who attends middle school in Brooklyn and one who is a sophomore at Bowdoin College in Maine.

The 32-year-old Liu, whose family moved from China when he was a teenager, had been a member of the police force for seven years, after serving in the police auxiliary. He moved this year to a home in Brooklyn's Gravesend section and got married two months ago.

His wife, Pei Xia Chen, gave a tearful statement to reporters Monday evening.

"This is a difficult time for both of our families," she said, expressing her condolences to Ramos' widow and children. "But we will stand together and get through this together."

Brinsley's hospitalized ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, was upgraded from critical to serious condition.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter & Instagram