New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is encouraging protesters rallying against racial bias in law enforcement and the criminal-justice system to suspend their demonstrations in light of the killing of two New York City police officers this past weekend in Brooklyn, the New York Times reports.
“It’s 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 said in a speech Monday, adding, “That can be for another day.”
De Blasio’s remarks came amid a sea of complaints that he, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama, had unequivocally supported expressed frustrations “that black people are not treated fairly in the criminal-justice system.” That sentiment, the argument goes, inspired gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley to shoot officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos while they were seated in their patrol cars on Saturday, the New York Times explained.
Earlier this month, Brinsley attended a New York City protest denouncing the choke hold death of Staten Island, N.Y.’s Eric Garner and the shooting death of Ferguson, Mo., 18-year-old Michael Brown, both by police.
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the shootings of the two police officers on Saturday was a “direct spinoff” of the sentiments expressed in the protests.
“It is quite apparent, quite obvious, that the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue of these demonstrations,” Bratton said during an interview on NBC’s Today show.
Others, however, are pointing to Brinsley’s possible mental state, since the ongoing investigation has found that he was a “disturbed” man who “harbored a hatred for the government and the police,” the news site explained.
There are those who would like to shed more light on the first victim subjected to Brinsley’s shooting spree that day: 29-year-old Shaneka Thompson, Brinsley’s ex-girlfriend, who was shot in the stomach earlier that morning but survived.
Read more at the New York Times.