Hochul justifies her attendance at wake of slain NYPD officer, claiming no one instructed her to leave

Governor Kathy Hochul has responded to allegations that she was not welcomed at a Long Island funeral home after attending the wake of a fallen NYPD officer. Hochul defended her decision to be present at the wake, emphasizing the importance of honoring the officer’s service and sacrifice.

During an Easter event at the governor’s mansion on Saturday, Hochul expressed that she had no regrets about attending the wake on Friday, even though she had encountered a mourner on her way out.

Hochul defended her decision to attend the wake, stating that people will always act according to their own reasons. She remains convinced that it was the right thing to do and would do it again if given the chance. According to Hochul, her job is to be there for people when they need her and to listen to them, which is exactly what she did in this situation.

Less than a week ago, a man sitting in the passenger seat of a idling car in Queens shot NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at close range. The governor made these comments in response to the incident.

The killing of Diller has brought greater focus on Mayor Eric Adams and the Democratic governor’s crime-fighting initiatives, particularly in light of the extensive criminal records of the alleged perpetrator and their accomplice. Governor Hochul has faced backlash from Republicans regarding the state’s bail restrictions, which only apply to the most severe offenses.

As the governor moves towards reelection in 2026 and, more immediately, endeavors to assist Democrats in crucial House races this year, she is placing a greater emphasis on policies that portray her as strong on crime. This has involved deploying the National Guard into the subways and highlighting her efforts to enhance the bail laws, even though she experienced a decline in support on these matters during her closely contested 2022 election.

Furthermore, she has attempted to shift the responsibility for the 2019 bail reform package onto her predecessor, Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom she was serving as lieutenant governor before his resignation amidst scandal in 2021.

Despite making efforts, Hochul has faced criticism from Republicans who believe her policies are lenient on crime. The frustration surrounding this issue peaked when Diller’s murder occurred and Hochul attended the wake, which had been visited by former President Donald Trump just a day earlier.

“The most effective way to pay tribute to his legacy and show appreciation for the bravery and commitment of law enforcement officers is by implementing legislation that safeguards victims, punishes offenders, and provides unwavering support to our law enforcement agencies,” expressed Republican Representative Mike Lawler on X. He emphatically emphasized the need to abolish cashless bail.”

During her short time at Diller’s wake, Hochul paid her respects by saying prayers at the casket and showed great reverence.

As she was leaving, a man from the Diller family approached her, according to the New York Post. A video captured their intense conversation as the governor headed towards her vehicle. However, the nature of their discussion was not disclosed by the governor.

According to Hochul, they always prioritize the wishes of the families when deciding whether to attend an event. They make sure to ask if the families want them there, and if they express a desire for privacy during their time of mourning, Hochul and her team respect that and do not attend. However, in this particular situation, they were given permission to be present by the family. Hochul emphasized that she did not receive any instruction to leave the event.

After paying his respects at the funeral home, Trump joined the growing chorus urging for stricter crime legislation in his home state of New York.

“We need to prioritize law and order,” stated Trump firmly. “It’s crucial that we strengthen it.”

President Joe Biden extended his condolences to Adams for the officer’s death ahead of a Biden fundraiser. This interaction marked their first conversation in over a year, reflecting the strained relations between them due to the ongoing issue of migrant influx in the city. Adams has consistently urged the White House to take greater action in addressing this matter.

Hochul, on her part, expressed her efforts to reverse the state’s bail laws, which have undergone multiple revisions in recent years and have caused delays in state budget deals.

“I believe it is widely known where I stand on the bail laws,” Hochul expressed on Saturday. “I have been actively advocating for reforms to revert back to the previous system.”

However, she stressed the significance of attending the wake.

“I spent a significant amount of time actively listening,” Hochul reflected. “In the aftermath, as I walked out, I was met with a different crowd, and various occurrences unfolded. Nevertheless, it was a necessary step for me to take. It was crucial for me to be present for them and attentively hear their thoughts and concerns addressed to the governor of New York,” Hochul shared.

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