New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers on Monday to “step back” and “put aside” protests and political debates as the New York Police Department mourns the loss of two officers who were gunned down on Saturday.
Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot to death as they sat in their patrol car in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, had reportedly posted messages on social media before the killings mentioning that he was upset about the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was killed by a New York police officer earlier this year.
De Blasio’s comments, made during a Police Athletic League luncheon, addressed ongoing protests and frustration over Garner’s case and other recent decisions not to press charges against white officers in the deaths of unarmed black men.
“I think it’s important that regardless of people’s viewpoints, that everyone recognize it’s a time to step back and just focus on these families,” de Blasio said. “I think it’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in due time.”
De Blasio, who’s faced criticism from the police over his handling of such issues, also urged New Yorkers to “console” New York police officers during this time.
“Let’s respect the family of the NYPD as they go through their mourning,” de Blasio said. “Take a moment when you see a police officer to thank them, to console them because it is personal for them.”