A video posted Saturday shows New York police officers turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio as he made his way through Woodhull Hospital to pay his respects to the two NYPD officers who were killed in an execution-style shooting in Brooklyn earlier that day.
The two officers, identified as Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were shot point-blank while sitting in their marked patrol car around 2:47 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Tompkins Ave and Myrtle Ave in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The officers were pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital.
Officials say the suspect, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, ran into a nearby subway where he shot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital. Brinsley was a Baltimore gang member who reportedly boasted about wanting to kill cops in the hours leading up to the ambush, posting on Instagram, "I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours.., Let's Take 2 Of Theirs," and connecting the apparent revenge killing with Eric Garner and Michael Brown in his posts.
De Blasio's relationship with the NYPD has rapidly deteriorated over the last few weeks. After de Blasio spoke disparagingly of law enforcement after the announcement of the non-indictment in the Eric Garner case, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association issued a statement for the use of police officers requesting that Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito not attend their funerals. Here is the text of PBA's request:
I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty.
Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice.
De Blasio took steps to reconcile the relationship last week by expressing his support of Police Commissioner William Bratton and heaping praise on officers at an NYPD promotions ceremony Friday.
The mayor's attempts at reconciliatory action, however, have been deemed as too little too late by many in the police force, the execution of the two officers Saturday greatly escalating the tension. The NY Daily News reports that the protest at Woodhull Hospital included the presidents of the PBA and the Sergeants Benevolent Association, both of whom laid the blame for the murder of the officers at de Blasio's feet:
“Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands,” Ed Mullins, president of the sergeants association, said in a statement to his union members Saturday night.
“It is your failed policies and actions that enabled this tragedy to occur,” Mullins said. “I only hope and pray that more of these ambushes and executions do not happen again.”
Patrick Lynch, head of the patrol officers’ union, echoed Mullins’ anger at the mayor.
“That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor,” Lynch said in statement. “When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable.”
Video via Pix11 News. This article has been updated and expanded.