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'No One Told Me to Leave': New York Governor Kathy Hochul Defends Attending Slain NYPD Officer's Wake Despite Family's 'Outrage'

new york governor kathy hochul asked leave wake nypd officer
Source: mega

Mar. 31 2024, Published 10:30 a.m. ET

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul has defended her decision to attend slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller's wake on Friday after a viral video appeared to show her being confronted by a mourner and asked to leave, RadarOnline.com has learned.

"We always ask: 'Would the families like us there?' If the families say, 'No, this is the time for our personal family grieving, we don't want a politician there,' we don’t go," Hochul said during an Easter event at the governor's mansion on Saturday, per Politico.

"In this case, we asked. We were told the family is welcoming. We always check, and they said to come, and I went. And no one told me to leave."

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Diller, 31, was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Far Rockaway, Queens on Monday, March 25.

Suspect Guy Rivera, who was charged with first degree murder, reportedly had at least 21 prior arrests, prompting widespread Republican criticism of New York state's bail reform laws.

A source told The New York Post that the man seen confronting Hochul at the wake, Diller's uncle, told the Democratic governor, "We don’t want you here. You’re not wanted here. You have blood on your hands. If you want to do something, change the bail laws.”

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new york governor kathy hochul asked leave wake nypd officer
Source: mega

Officer Jonathan Diller's shooting death has sparked widespread criticism over New York's bail reform laws.

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"Everyone is just so distraught – and, yes, there’s a lot of anger," Hochul said in an appearance on MSNBC on Saturday. "Understandably there’s anger about how these individuals could commit crimes over and over and are back out on the street again."

“We worked hard with the [state] Legislature last year to change the bail laws, so the judges have more discretion, and there’s a lot of complicated factors here,” she added. "But I totally understand the outrage of the family. I really do."

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new york governor kathy hochul asked leave wake nypd officer
Source: mega

"I will remain convinced that it was the right thing to do," Hochul said of attending the wake.

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"I think everyone knows my positions on the bail laws. I’m the one who’s been trying to make the changes to go back to where it was," Hochul said in her speech at the governor's mansion, adding that she does not regret her attendance at the wake.

“People will do what they’re going to do for their own reasons, and I will remain convinced that it was the right thing to do," she said. "I would do it again, and that’s my job. My job is to be there when people need me. If they need to talk to me, and they all needed to talk to me, my job is to listen.”

“I did a lot of listening. That’s what happened in the wake room, walking out was a different group of people, and things happen. But I had to do that. It was important for me to be there for them and to listen to what they wanted to say to the governor of New York."

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new york governor kathy hochul asked leave wake nypd officer
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The wake was also attended by New York Mayor Eric Adams and former president Donald Trumpp.

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During her brief appearance at Diller’s wake, Hochul "said prayers at the casket and was very respectful," she recalled.

The wake was also attended by family members, fellow police officers, and politicians including New York Mayor Eric Adams and former President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, Hochul ordered flags on all state buildings to be flown at half-mast. "New Yorkers are in mourning over the loss of Officer Jonathan Diller, a heroic young man who dedicated his life to public safety and serving the people," she said in a statement. "Our prayers are with his family, his loved ones and his colleagues in the NYPD as they grieve this tragic and senseless loss."

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