As his relationship with the New York City Police Department hit new lows Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a suspension of citywide protests against police conduct, the Associated Press reported. He urged demonstrators to hold off until after the funerals for the two NYPD officers slain in Brooklyn this week.
De Blasio’s call to put protests on pause came after a tumultuous few days for his relationship with the police. New York City has seen ongoing protests against police brutality this month after the officers involved in the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, escaped indictment. Earlier this month, nearly 30,000 people took to Manhattan's streets in what was named the "Millions March NYC" to end police violence, according to the New York Post.
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot at close range and killed in their parked police vehicle Saturday. Their attacker, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, then walked into the New York City subway station and shot himself. He apparently killed the officers at least in part as revenge for Garner and Brown, according to law enforcement authorities, although he appears to have been a very troubled man.
"I think it's important that, regardless of people's viewpoints, that everyone step back," de Blasio said at the Police Athletic League, according to the AP. "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 all due time."
A group of NYPD officers symbolically turned their backs on the mayor when he spoke at the Brooklyn’s Woodhull Hospital where the two officers were brought and pronounced dead.
“Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands,” Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said at the hospital where officers had assembled to pay their respects. “It is your failed policies and actions that enabled this tragedy to occur. I only hope and pray that more of these ambushes and executions do not happen again.”
DeBlasio attended a service at St. Patrick's Cathedral Sunday in honor of the slain officers. Ramos' family has said the mayor is welcome to attend the officer's funeral.