New York Mayor implored protesters on Monday to wait until after the funerals of two policemen.
However, de Blasio’s plea was quickly dismissed by several activist groups that vowed to continue protests that have shaken Big Apple after grand juries chose not to indict police officers who killed two black men.
“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, two days after Rafael Ramos, 40, and his partner, Wenjian Liu, 28, were killed.
The policemen were killed as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn, and their deaths triggered further tensions between City Hall, the police department and the reform-minded protesters who voted for the NYC mayor in large numbers.
Similar protests have been carried out across the United States, provoking a bitter debate about how American police forces treat non-white citizens that has drawn in President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder.
“Even de Blasio’s assurance on Monday that he would attend the slain officers’ funerals, normally an unquestioned mayoral duty, took on a political charge. Earlier this month, the city’s largest police union said the mayor had abandoned the police and urged members to sign a letter insisting that the mayor stay away from their funeral should they be killed while on duty,” Reuters writes.
Police identified the killer as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had earlier posted online his plans to avenge the deaths of Garner and Brown, who were both unarmed black men killed by white officers. Brinsley killed himself with a shot to the head soon after the incident.
“Let’s comfort these families, let’s see them through these funerals,” Bill de Blasio said in his speech, hours after visiting the officers’ grieving families with Bill Bratton, the police commissioner. “Then debate can begin again.”
However, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist representing the families of Garner and Brown, said de Blasio’s call was too nebulous to heed.
“Is a vigil a protest? Is a rally?” Sharpton said in a telephone interview, calling de Blasio’s comments “an ill-defined request.”
Back in December a grand jury in Staten Island voted not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being put in the officer’s chokehold.
The city rsidents took to the streets after they learned that the jury would not bring charges against officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death the Staten Island man.
“Demonstrators gathered across the city, from the Staten Island neighborhood where Garner died to high-traffic areas in midtown Manhattan. They assembled in Times Square, Union Square and Lincoln Center,” The Huffington Post reported at the time.
“They marched down Broadway and blocked traffic on the West Side Highway. Police scrambled to keep the crowd from disrupting the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. Nearly three dozen demonstrators were reportedly arrested, though the protests remained largely non-violent.”