John Cordillo
@johncordillo via Twitter screenshot

On Sunday John Cardillo, a former New York City police officer, posted a selfie on Twitter of himself pointing a gun at the camera. The caption read: "I'm really enjoying these Eggs Benedict so move along now. #BlackBrunchNYC." The hashtag was the same one used by several dozen protesters who had stormed into brunch eateries in New York and California earlier in the day to denounce the police killings of African Americans, the New York Daily News reports.

In an interview with BBC News, Cardillo argued that the protesters purposely picked brunchgoers as a target because they wouldn't run into retaliation. "I found this group to be incredibly cowardly; this was a feel-good measure and they picked the softest target imaginable," Cardillo said.

Cardillo also described how he found it odd that people took issue with his gun selfie and its message but did not kick up dust, he argues, when two New York City police officers were gunned down in late December by a gunman who some believe was inspired by the #BlackLivesMatters protests: "These people who are screaming about my photograph, I didn't see any of them shouting about the murder of two cops," he told the BBC.

Cardillo, who is a contributor for NRA News, has been making his media rounds and on Monday got into a heated discussion with New York Times columnist Charles Blow on CNN. According to Mediaite, Cardillo referenced the civil rights movement on CNN and said that Sunday's protests were not in the same league as those who marched and demonstrated in the 1960s. "I think it's ludicrous because these protesters are able to patronize these restaurants. Quite frankly, I think it's demeaning to what I consider heroes of the civil rights movement," he said.