Police and members of the public will come together on Tuesday night in Fresh Meadows for what will likely be the largest candlelight vigil in the borough to date to honor two slain police officers and to call for an end to the disharmony that has rattled the city.
The joint ceremony organized for eight precinct councils from Queens will honor Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, murdered on a Brooklyn street on Dec. 20, and is also intended to mend the tension between the public and police, according to the organizers.
The candlelight vigil will be held just hours after Mayor de Blasio meets with police union leaders at the Police Academy in College Point in a bid to end the acrimony between union leaders, some rank and file officers and the city administration.
The vigil will be held at the 107th Precinct at 71-01 Parsons Blvd. in Fresh Meadows at 7 p.m., according to the organizers, Patrol Borough Queens South.
In keeping with the tone of reconciliation, event organizers stressed that the vigil would be about coming together as a community and leaving politics out of the ceremony.
“This is about bringing people together,” said Carolann Foley, president of the 107th Precinct’s community council and one of the organizers of the vigil. “This is going to be a positive thing and people’s politics are besides the point right now. That’s a conversation for another day.”
The event will be attended by officers and community councils from the 100th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 105th, 106th, 107th and 113th precincts. The flyer invites anyone from the public to join the vigil.
Across Queens, similar events have taken place but, according to resident Mike Sidell, the Tuesday event is expected to be the largest vigil.
In Hamilton Beach, residents elected officials and police from the 106th Precinct got together on Tuesday to hang 200 blue ribbons on utility poles around the neighborhood showing their support for the NYPD.
“I’m the daughter of a retired police officer,” said Charlene O’Dea, a Hamilton Beach resident. “I want to show my support for the NYPD.”
Over the weekend, Ramos’ wake and funeral were held in Glendale, with thousands of police and others in attendance and lining the streets.
Foley originally expected the event to only be attended by 200 people, but she soon realized that many more would be attending.
“This is the community doing this, not the police,” Foley said. “And all of these people are coming to simply pray. What could be better than that right now for the city?”
Additional reporting by Salvatore Licata