De Blasio: Put political protests on pause while families mourn NYPD deaths
VIDEO: ‘Let's see them through the funerals. Then, debate can begin again.’
Mayor Bill de Blasio asked that political protests be put on hold and that New Yorkers console NYPD officers, at an address on Monday at the Police Athletic League December luncheon.
His comments came as the city tries to come to grips with the murder of two 84th Precinct police officers on duty in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn on Saturday.
“There’s a lot of pain and it’s so hard to make sense of it,” de Blasio said.
“I would ask that any organization that were planning gatherings for politics or protests. That could be for another day,” he said. Groups protesting police-linked civilian deaths, including that of Eric Garner in Staten Island, have staged mass protests for weeks across New York City and other cities.
“Show great respect for these two families. Show respect and support for our police,” De Blasio said. “Let’s accompany these families on their difficult journey. Let’s see them through the funerals. Then, debate can begin again. But until that time, it is our obligation to respect them.”
He also asked New Yorkers to show their support for members of the NYPD. “Take a moment when you see a police officer to thank them and console them.”
His speech was greeted with applause at several points.
Makeshift memorials have appeared at the scene of the murders in Bedford-Stuyvesant and at the 84th Precinct in Downtown Brooklyn. City leaders held a candlelight vigil in Bed-Stuy on Sunday; Councilmember David Greenfield has organized another vigil for Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the 66th Precinct on 16th Avenue and 59th Street.
Pastor Calvin Butts of New York’s Abyssinian Baptist Church told CNN that he wasn’t moved by the mayor’s speech.
“To say we ought to stop protesting really does not touch on the fact that not only are the families of the police officers grieving, the family of Eric Garner is grieving, and the protests are a separate matter from this heinous crime that’s been committed against these New York City police officers,” Rev. Butts said.
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, assigned to the 84th Precinct, were doing duty in the 79th Precinct as part of a crime reduction strategy at the Tompkins Houses when 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley fired his gun through the front passenger window, striking both officers in the head.
“Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons. They may never have actually even seen their assailant – their murderer,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said at a press conference on Saturday.
Police officers pursued Brinsley, who fled into the G train subway station at Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Street. While on the platform there, Brinsley shot himself in the head. A silver semi-automatic firearm was recovered on the subway platform near his body.
Officers Liu and Ramos were transported to Woodhull Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Brinsley was transported to Brooklyn Hospital, where he, too, was pronounced dead.
Bratton said that Brinsley allegedly shot his former girlfriend in Maryland early Saturday morning.
A wake for Ramos will be held Friday, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Christ Tabernacle Church on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church. Funeral plans for Liu have not yet been made public.
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