POLICE AND FIRE
Updates on Fatal Shooting of Two N.Y.P.D. Officers
By ANDY NEWMAN DECEMBER 20, 2014 7:11 PM December 20, 2014 7:11 pm 38
Police officers arrived at Woodhull Hospital Saturday night, where Officers Liu and Ramos were pronounced dead.
Police officers arrived at Woodhull Hospital Saturday night, where Officers Liu and Ramos were pronounced dead. Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times
Updated, 9:51 p.m. Two police officers were fatally shot as they sat in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Saturday afternoon. The assailant then killed himself, the police said. Read the full story.
The slain police officers: Rafael Ramos, 40, left, and Wenjian Liu, 32.
Credit New York Police Department
9:58 P.M.Sharpton and Garner Family Denounce Shootings
The Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement on behalf of the family of Eric Garner deploring the shootings.
“I have spoken to the Garner family and we are outraged by the early reports of the police killed in Brooklyn today,” Mr. Sharpton said. “Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.”
Mr. Brinsley’s post on Instagram talked of killing two officers to avenge the death of “1 of ours,” presumably referring to Mr. Garner.
“The Garner family and I have always stressed that we do not believe that all police are bad,” Mr. Sharpton said. “In fact we have stressed that most police are not bad.”
The family of Michael Brown, the teenager fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., released a similar statement.
“We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement,” Mr. Brown’s family said.
9:53 P.M.Mayor Has Blood on His Hands, Police Union Head Says
The head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, blamed the mayor for the shootings as he addressed officers outside Woodhull Hospital after the bodies of Officer Liu and Officer Ramos were borne away.
“There is blood on many hands, from those that incited violence under the guise of protest to try to tear down what police officers do every day,” Mr. Lynch said.
“That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.”
Now is a time of grieving, Mr. Lynch said. “We’ll mourn for our city and we’ll mourn for our brothers,” he said. “We’ll straighten our shoulders, we’ll stiffen our backs and we’ll wipe our tears.”
But he warned, “When those funerals are over, we’ll raise our heads and those who allowed this to happen will be held accountable.”
Earlier in the evening, police officers turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio when he entered the hospital.
9:42 P.M.A Somber Salute as Ambulances Leave the Hospital
At 9:40 p.m., hundreds of officers lined a driveway at Woodhull Hospital as two N.Y.P.D. ambulances pulled slowly away, with the bodies of the slain officers inside.
In silence, the officers saluted, and the ambulances, followed by a police caravan, turned onto the street and drove away to take the bodies to the medical examiner’s office.
9:09 P.M.Pataki Blames Mayor and Holder for Shootings
Former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, a Republican, blamed Mayor de Blasio and United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for the shootings of the officers.
“Sickened by these barbaric acts,” Mr. Pataki wrote on Twitter, “which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of #ericholder & #mayordiblasio.”
Sickened by these barbaric acts, which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of #ericholder & #mayordiblasio. #NYPD
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) 21 Dec 14
8:54 P.M.#BlueLivesMatter Hashtag Circulates on Twitter
Saturday evening, supporters of the police lit up Twitter with the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter — an allusion to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag used by protesters.
Rest in Peace to the two NYPD officers who were murdered in the line of duty today, unbelievable how sick people are #BlueLivesMatter
— Gabby Reinold (@GabbyReinold) 21 Dec 14
8:32 P.M.Threat on Instagram
The Instagram threat believed to have been posted by Mr. Brinsley said, “I’m putting wings on pigs today … They take 1 of ours. Let’s take 2 of theirs.”
8:30 P.M.Cuomo and Holder Issue Statements
“This deplorable act of violence is the opposite of what New York is and what New Yorkers believe in,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.
“Tonight, we all come together to mourn the loss of these brave souls,” he added.
The U.S. Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, also issued a statement.
“I condemn this afternoon’s senseless shooting of two New York City police officers in the strongest possible terms,” it began. “This was an unspeakable act of barbarism.”
8:23 P.M.Statement Blames Mayor for Shootings
A statement purporting to be from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the biggest police union, blamed Mr. de Blasio for the shootings.
“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies,” read the statement, “and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”
The statement instructed officers to forward it to colleagues, and it spread instantly through the department.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association issued a similar statement on Twitter.
Over the last two weeks, amid nightly protests against the police, union leaders have been sharply critical of Mr. de Blasio for what they have called insufficient support for officers.
The protests started after a Staten Island grand jury declined on Dec. 3 to bring criminal charges against a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. The protesters have filled the streets chanting Mr. Garner’s dying words — “I Can’t Breathe” — in calling for changes in policing policies.
8:18 P.M.Police Union Says Two Units Must Respond to All Calls
In the wake of the shootings, a statement purporting to be from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the biggest police union, gave instructions that effective immediately, “At least two units are to respond to every call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be.”
The statement, which circulated among officers, added: “Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest. These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when Police Officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis.”
8:11 P.M.Maryland Police Warned New York About Threat
Early this morning, Mr. Brinsley shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend in Owings Mills, Md., near Baltimore, the police in Maryland said.
After the Maryland shooting, Mr. Bratton said, Mr. Brinsley posted from Brooklyn on Instagram that he was going to attack police officers and that the posting might be his last.
Mr. Bratton said that Maryland officials had sent a warning notice to the police in New York, but that it arrived just as the officers were shot.
“The tragedy here is that just as the warning was coming in, the murder was occurring,” Mr. Bratton said.
He said there were no indications that Mr. Brinsley was acting in concert with anyone else.
He said that Mr. Brinsley had been living in Georgia and had a girlfriend in Maryland and some connection to Brooklyn.
Mr. Bratton added a sobering statistic: Today is the seventh time since 1972 that policing partners have been murdered together.
7:54 P.M.De Blasio: ‘Our Entire City Was Attacked’
Mayor de Blasio, appearing beside Mr. Bratton, said, “Our city is in mourning.”
“Our hearts are heavy,” the mayor said. “We lost two good men who devoted their lives to protecting all of us.”
He added, “When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the very foundation of our society — it is an attack on all of us.”
He said, “Our entire city was attacked by this heinous individual.”
Mr. de Blasio said that he had met with the officers’ families, including Officer Ramos’s 13-year-old son, who “couldn’t comprehend what had happened to his father.”
7:49 P.M.Shooter Is Identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley
Mr. Bratton identified the shooter as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28.
At 2:47 p.m., Mr. Bratton said, as the officers sat in their marked police cruiser at the corner of Tompkins and Myrtle Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Mr. Brinsley walked up to it.
“He took a shooting stance on the passenger side and fired his weapon several times through the front passenger window, striking both officers in the head,” Mr. Bratton said.
“Officer Ramos and Officer Liu never had the opportunity to draw their weapons,” he said. “They may have never even seen the assailant, their murderer.”
Mr. Brinsley then fled to the nearby Myrtle-Willoughby Avenues subway station, where he shot himself in the head on the platform, Mr. Bratton said.
7:40 P.M.Bratton Identifies the Slain Officers
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton identified the slain officers as Wenjian Liu, a seven-year veteran of the force, and Rafael Ramos, 40, an officer since 2012.
“Today two of New York’s finest were shot and killed with no warning, no provocation,” Mr. Bratton, looking deeply shaken, said at Woodhull Hospital in Williamsburg. “They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe.”
7:22 P.M.N.J. Union Says Anti-Police Sentiment Spurred Shootings
The head of the Policeman’s Benevolent Association in New Jersey said that the shooting of the officers was “spurred on by so much recent hatred aimed at officers everywhere.”
“Our society stands safer because of the sacrifices officers make everyday, but the hatred that has grown over the past few weeks in this country has gone unchecked by many elected leaders,” the official, Patrick Colligan, said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Read the full statement.
Today’s shootings come on the heels of New York protests following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to charge the white police officer whose chokehold killed an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, and protests nationwide over a grand jury’s decision not indict a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
7:07 P.M.Attack Comes Amid Tensions Over Policing
The attack on the police officers comes amid a trying time in the city. Since a Staten Island grand jury declined on Dec. 3 to bring criminal charges against a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, protesters have filled the streets nightly and chanted his dying words — “I Can’t Breathe” — in calling for changes policing policies.
Over the last two weeks, police union leaders have been sharply critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio for what they have called insufficient support for officers. Though the mayor has praised officers’ work repeatedly since the grand jury decision — and throughout his first year in office — he has stressed the rights of protesters to express themselves and spoken of his experience instructing his biracial son, Dante, to “take special care” during any encounters with police officers. Some union leaders suggested the mayor had sent a message that police officers were to be feared.
In recent days, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest police union, has circulated a letter allowing officers to request that the mayor not attend their funerals in the event of a line-of-duty death.
— MATT FLEGENHEIMER