The New York City Police Department had to bury two of their own who were ambushed and killed while innocently eating their lunch while seated in their parked patrol car. The perpetrator claimed, in anti-police rants posted on social media, that he was going to kill police officers as retribution for recent fatalities of alleged police brutality.
Despite personal sentiments regarding the lack of convictions in two separate cases (Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York), public opinion overwhelmingly condemned the actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley who committed suicide after ambushing NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on December 20. There has been a growing memorial at the site of the ambush in memory of the fallen officers both of whom had exemplary records and no involvement in any police brutality charges. Hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over the nation came to New York City to pay respects at the memorial and attend the funerals.
The NYPD had earlier expressed discontent with the New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio after his remarks about protests over the Grand Jury decisions on the Brown and Garner cases. Their claim was that he did not support the police officers and questioned his apparent friendship with vocal critics of law enforcement. At the hospital on December 20 NYPD Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said "blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall." When the mayor showed up at the hospital the line of police officers turned their backs on him in protest.
DiBlasio asked New Yorkers to postpone protests over the court rulings until after the executed officers were buried in order to focus on the grieving families. Many residents complied; however several also ignored and added cries of dissent. Ironically some of the more vocal objections and criticisms about the mayor’s plea for understanding came from the Reverend Al Sharpton and The Answer Coalition who labeled the request as an "outrageous attempt to chill free speech. DiBlasio’s assumed friendship with Sharpton is one of the NYPD gripes about City Hall’s lack of police department support. Fox News reported one protester as stating "We will not let recent tragic moments derail this movement. This is the revolution and we will not be repressed."
On December 27 when Mayor DiBlasio showed up to honor and pay respect at Officer Ramos’ funeral, hundreds of uniformed police officers turned their backs to him in a show of disrespect for his policies. Police Commissioner William Bratton chastised the officers’ action for taking place at the funeral and asked them not to display the same disrespect for the mayor at Liu’s funeral reminding them that the funerals were a time for “grieving, not grievance.” On Sunday, January 4, although there were a few officers who desisted, uniformed officers once again turned their backs on the mayor citing his perceived lack of respect for the department.
It’s obvious that the various factions involved in all the acts leading to these multiple deaths need to find some common ground, they need to find a way to smooth relations and move forward with mutual respect and positive growth. Yes I have my beliefs about the incidents and responding events as most people do – but it doesn’t matter if we agree or not. Continued violence, mass destruction, and the failure to show compassion and sympathy for mourners is contradictory to the best interests of communities, civil servants, families and human relations.
I think that funerals should be a time when parents, spouses, children, siblings and others should be allowed to grieve without protest. No matter what your opinions might be, and we are all entitled, anytime someone loses a loved family member the pain is immense and they are entitled to our compassion and understanding. Any life lost is a blow to humanity.