New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a pause in the protests against police brutality — demonstrations sparked by the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of law enforcement — until the two NYPD officers killed by a lone gunman Saturday are laid to rest.
De Blasio, who has faced scathing criticism from police unions for allowing protests against excessive force and the killing of unarmed black men to occur, asked New Yorkers to remember what the families of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu are going through so close to the holiday season.
“It’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things we will talk about in due time,” de Blasio said in a speech to a charity with close ties to the New York Police Department. “Let’s comfort these families, let’s see them through these funerals. Then debate can begin again.”
During a press conference with Commissioner Bill Bratton Monday afternoon, de Blasio echoed those sentiments, adding that while protests have been peaceful, there have been hateful things said.
“There are some people who say hateful things. They have no place in these protests,” de Blasio said.
Earlier in the day, Bratton called the shooting of two NYPD officers a “direct spinoff of this issue,” citing the protests and the gunman’s alleged Instagram posts where he used Garner’s name in a hashtag to justify the killings.
Investigators are checking into whether the gunman, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, attended any of the protests against excessive police force and said the suspect had made “anti-police” comments online.
Officer Ramos’ funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.