Mayor: Put protests aside until after NYPD funerals
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton asked city residents to put aside political debate and protests to focus on the families of the officers who were killed in an ambush shooting over the weekend.
At a news conference at NYPD headquarters, de Blasio and Bratton asked that protests be postponed until after funerals for Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu. In recent weeks, grand jury decisions in Staten Island and Ferguson, MO regarding the police-involved deaths of unarmed, African-American men have sparked a public outcry for change in police tactics.
Officials say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed the two NYPD officers as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Brinsley fatally shot both of them before he fled into a nearby subway station and killed himself on the platform.
Ramos, a three-year veteran of the force, was married and had a 13-year-old son and another in college. Officer Liu, a seven-year veteran, married his wife about two months ago.
The mayor also asked the public to help police fill a two-hour gap in Brinsley's activities this past Saturday. He also urged residents to call 911 to report any suspicion of a copycat killing.
Commissioner Bratton said during the news conference that it is belived that Brinsley acted alone. Brinsley had posted "anti-police" material on his social media accounts in the hours before the shootings.
He is also believed to have shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore before coming to New York. She is expected to survive.
Police released a new video of the shooting suspect, which shows Brinsely enter the Atlantic Terminal Mall at around noon Saturday. Police say they believe the murder weapon was inside the bag he is seen carrying.
Mayor de Blasio told reporters that he will address critics of his leadership "when the time is right." PBA President Pat Lynch blamed de Blasio among other leaders with stirring an anti-police mentality in the city in the wake of the Eric Garner grand jury decision.
"They'll be a time for me to talk about my own personal views," the mayor said. "I think what he said was wrong but I'm not going to elaborate because we need to focus on the families. We need to focus on healing and I think that's what leaders do."
Wake and funeral arrangements for Officer Ramos are set for Friday and Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Queens. Arrangements for Officer Liu have not yet been finalized.