An outraged Mayor Edward Koch Monday called President Reagan...


NEW YORK -- An outraged Mayor Edward Koch Monday called President Reagan a 'wimp' in the war on drugs and demanded all-out war on drug pushers the same day 10,000 officers attended the funeral of a rookie cop killed while guarding a drug witness.

The throng of police officers, some from as far away as Texas, stood at grim attention along a half mile of the road leading to the St. James Catholic Church in Seaford, Long Island, for the funeral of Officer Edward Byrne.


City officials said the estimated turnout of 10,000 officers was the largest for the funeral of a slain officer in the city's history.

Byrne, 22, was shot three times in the head from point blank range as he sat alone in his patrol car at 3:30 a.m. Friday guarding the house of a witness against neighborhood crack dealers in southeast Queens.


The funeral procession's slow passage brought a hushed calm to the sea of blue-uniformed officers, lined 10-deep along both sides of the street, who came to pay their respects to slain policeman.

'A piece of America died with that cop,' said one officer.

Byrne's casket, draped with a police department flag, was carried into the church by 10 officers to the mournful skirl of a lone police bagpiper.

Koch, speaking from the pulpit, warned mourners packed into the church that drug traffickers pose a growing threat to society and national security and renewed his call for stepped-up action from Washington.

'If drug traffickers have become so emboldened that they are engaging in the assassination of a police officer, then our whole society is at risk,' Koch said. 'We must take whatever means are required on a national level to deal with this drug problem. It is a threat to our national security.'

Rev. Thomas DeVita, associate pastor of St. James, eulogized Byrne as 'an all-American boy' who had 'three loves in his life: his family, his friends and his profession as a police officer.'

Also attending the service were Cardinal John O'Connor, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward, U.S. Attorney Rudolf Giuliani and Patrolman's Benevolent Association President Phil Caruso.


The mayor paid $12,900 for an ad that appeared in The New York Times urging readers to send telegrams to President Reagan demanding he cut off aid to nations responsible for drugs flooding into the United States.

'We are truly in a war with drug pushers but the president is not acting as a commander-in-chief, if anything he's acting as a wimp,' Koch said on the 'CBS This Morning' broadcast.

The ad, a full-page open letter that appeared below a photo of the dead officer, urged readers to send telegrams to Reagan and their congressional representatives demanding a cutoff of foreign aid to 'places like Mexico, Panama, and the cadre of other nations that supply this county with its heroin, its cocaine and its marijuana.'

'I ask you -- I beg you -- to send him a telegram right now,' the ad said.

The young officer's father, Matthew Byrne, a retired police lieutenant, made a tearful plea for justice Sunday outside the Long Island funeral home where his son lay in a closed coffin.

'If we are going to get these people and bring them to justice, the police department needs your help,' said Byrne, surrounded by his wife, his slain son's girlfriend and two surviving sons.


Hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward called the killing 'a deliberate assassination of a police officer' and said the attack was 'clearly an attempt to intimidate a witness.'

Police, meanwhile, continued to combed the neighborhood in search of Byrne's killer and citizens flooded a special hotline set up for tips.

Police say local crack dealers are holding the South Jamaica neighborhood where the young officer was killed in a vice-like grip and heated competition among the street-corner cocaine barons has left residents terrified.

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