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Eulogy for Wenjian Liu

Police Officer Wenjian Liu believed in possibility. Like his partner that day, Rafael
Ramos, his partner now for all time, Officer Liu believed in the possibility of
making a safer world.
All cops do. Its why we do what we do. Its why we run forward, toward the
danger, when others run away.
We believe in the possibility of keeping disorder controlled. We believe in the
possibility of a city free from fear.
Over the last 22 years, the men and women of this Department have made those
possibilities reality, through the work of cops like Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
I knew I wanted to be a cop since my childhood. Wenjian and Rafael both heard
the call later in life, but the pull was just as strongbecause we all believe in the
possibility of being part of something larger than ourselves.
Officer Liu left China when he was twelve. His parents, Wei Tang Lui and Xiu Yan
Li, found work, and worked hard, and he worked hard, too. He helped them when
he could, he studied hard at school. He called himself Joe. For a while, he was
on the path to becoming an accountant.
But 9/11 changed those plans, as it changed so many things for so many of us.
Some people witnessed that horrible day and were paralyzed.
Officer Liu witnessed it and saw the possibility of service, the possibility of being
part of something that would help others.
For 170 years, immigrants to this city have found a home in the NYPD, to help
others, to have a life of significance.

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Eulogy for Wenjian Liu


Only the homelands have changed. First it was the Irish. And then the Italians
like Lieutenant Giuseppe Petrosino, who called himself Joe, too, and was
murdered by the mafia while on assignment in Italy.
And now our cops are from everywhere. The NYPD looks a lot more like the city it
serves than some people think. More than half of our officers call New York City
home, and live within its five boroughs, just like Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
And our heroes are from everywhere, toolike Haitian-born James Nemorin, who
was murdered with his partner Rodney Andrews in 2003. And Eugene Marshalik,
who fled the war in Chechnya, and was murdered with his partner, too, Nicholas
Pekearo, in 2007.
These menand now thousands of womencome to follow the American
dream. They come to this greatest of cities and join this greatest of Departments
because it represents what they came here for.
Everyone who comes here is from someplace where opportunity is more rare.
Someplace where fear is more common. Someplace less free.
And if you come from such a place, is it any wonder youd want to join the
profession that helps make America so different? Because without public safety
there is no possibility of free government. Everything that our government
promisesfreedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom
from feareverything starts with public safety. It starts with us.
Officer Liu believed this. He joined the NYPD first as an Auxiliary officeran
unpaid volunteer with no gun, just a uniform and a star-shaped shield and the
belief that its possible to make a difference. The belief that public safety is
everyones responsibility.

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Eulogy for Wenjian Liu


When two of his Auxiliary brothers were murdered by a madman in Greenwich
Village, he could have turned away. He could have said it wasnt worth it. Instead,
four months later, he took the oath to become a New York City police officer.
For seven years, he kept the streets of Brooklyn safe, first in Brownsville, then in
Downtown Brooklyn. For seven years, he sought out the suffering, the disturbed,
the injured, and tried to bring them comfort.
You heard the mayors story. That is the police we want. That is the police we
have.
And for thatnot for how he died, but for how he lived and performed his duty
for that, I am so honored to posthumously promote Wenjian LIU to Detective First
Grade.
But as amazing as his story is, his refusal to be dissuaded or daunted, his
dedication, its hardly unique. Its what cops do.
In the days after Detectives Liu and Ramos were assassinated, murdered for their
color, slain because they were blue, I visited their families and learned what
profoundly good men they were. And I found myself wondering why do we
always lose the good ones?
Until I realized: its the law of averages. Almost all of them are the good ones. Our
cops are people just like Wenjian and Rafael. They, too, share a belief in whats
possible and a desire to serve.
Detective Liu led a responsible, compassionate life. He loved his wife, Pei Xia
Chen, Sanny, his longtime sweetheart but only just married. Just starting out.
He cooked for his parentsmade a great soup, Im told; knew how to buy a good
vegetable.
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Eulogy for Wenjian Liu

He enjoyed simple things: an avid fisherman who loved to show off his catches to
his friends.
He loved his family, and they loved him, as we see from so many who have come
from so far away.
And at the end of every tour, he would call his father to let him know he was safe.
At the end of every tour but one.
He had wisdom, and ethics, and humanity. On our Departments website, people
who worked with him have been writing remembrances. They all recount his
happiness and humor, his outlook, his righteous intentions.
In those comments, and in the words of friendsas well as the clear example of
his choosing to be a copIve seen proof of his ethical conduct. Ive seen it in
stories of his speech and action, and from the livelihood he chose.
He was persistent in his efforts, and mindful of his obligations. He was patient. He
shared his culture. He was, after all, a good man. A humane man. He was a New
York City cop.
And he knew what all cops knowhe knew how hard the Job could be.
Every day we face problems that would require days of deliberation in a judges
chambers, and we have but an instant to decide.
Because every day we face people who need help, or people who are hurting. And
we help them.
Sometimes we face people who are hurting others, or would hurt us. And we try
to help them, too, and stop them if we must.
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Eulogy for Wenjian Liu

We answer four-and-a-half million radio runs a year. Nearly four hundred


thousand arrests. And for good or ill, only a tiny handful make the news.
And the millionsliterally millionsof the rest go unnoticed.
We do this because we took an oath. We do this because we believe in possibility.
This is what we signed up for. The possibility of helping people. The possibility of
making a safer, fairer city.
To Wenjians and Rafaels brothers and sisters in blue, I want you to know: I am so
proud of you. Proud of you for making those possibilities a reality for so many in
this city. Even after forty-four years, I am so proud to be one of you.
Were cops. We hold the line. We dont quit when things are hard, because when
arent they?
We took this Job to prevent crime and disorder. Over the past twenty-two years,
this Department has reminded the world of how thats done. The mission has not
changed. The belief in possibility has not changed.
And a much larger part of this city, of this country, a much larger part than you
think is proud of you, too. There are people who need us. We will not abandon
them.
To do so would be to dishonor the memories of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
It would dishonor the others killed with their partners. A lot of those partners
were as different as Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramosdifferent races, different
upbringings, different languages. Because every police car holds a little bit of the
city.
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Eulogy for Wenjian Liu

More than 130 officers have been killed in the line of duty in the last forty-five
years, and it would dishonor them, too.
So we cannot falter, we cannot flag.
We will move forward, for we carry the possibility of all those dead, and all those
who have worn the uniform before us.
Its the possibility of making a better world.
And its impossible to let their sacrifices and their efforts be in vain.
But today we say farewell to Detective First Grade Wenjian Liu, as we said
farewell to Detective Rafael Ramos. We thank the Liu family for sharing him with
us.
As their guests, we mourn with them. We take comfort in the Buddhas words,
that even when death comes, the lessons of goodness do not perish.
And as cops, we celebrate his life, and that of Detective Ramos, and honor what
they accomplished for so many.

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