New York’s under-fire mayor has said it was time to put aside the heated controversy that has gripped the city since the shooting of two police officers and stand with the families of the slain men. He said there should be no protests until the funerals of the men had been carried out.
“It's a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests,“ said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I would ask that any organisation that were planning gatherings for politics or protests - that could be for another day.”
Speaking at a charity lunch, Mr de Blasio, who has was accused of having blood on his hands by a police officers’ association following the “execution-style killing” of patrolmen Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu, said it was imperative people supported the men’s families.
“These families are now our families and we will stand by them, they are suffering unspeakable pain right now,” said Mr de Blasio, who on Monday morning visited the families of the officers.
Officers Liu and Ramos were killed on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn as they sat in their patrol car. Their killer, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had travelled to New York from Baltimore after shooting and wounding his ex-girlfriend earlier in the day, ran into a subway station and killed himself on the platform.
In the aftermath of the shootings it emerged Brinsley had posted several messages on social media in which he announced his intention to “put wings on pigs”. He suggested he was acting in revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.
The deaths of the two black men at the hands of white officers sparked protests and outcry in cities across the country. The protests intensified when it was announced no-one was to be charged over the deaths of the men.
Following the shooting of the two patrolmen, the main police officers’ association issued an unprecedented statement. “The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a wartime police department,” it said.
On Saturday, when Mr de Blasio attended a press conference to talk about the deaths of the officers, a number of police turned their backs on him. Many analysts said the tension between the police and some members of the public had not been so bad for 15 years.
Seeking to draw a line under the controversy, the mayor on Monday said that New Yorkers should thank and console police officers they encountered on the street.
“We have to understand that an attack on them was an attack on all of us,” he said, speaking at a lunch for the Police Athletic League. “Let's accompany these families on their difficult journey. Let's see them through the funerals...then the debate can begin again.”
He added: “We depend on our police to protect us against forces of criminality and evil. They are a foundation of our society, and when they are attacked, it is an attack on the very concept of decency.”Reuse content