Al Sharpton posted a statement through his National Action Network Saturday evening condemning the deadly ambush of two New York Police Department officers and promising to follow up with a press event Sunday morning.
Officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were shot to death as they sat in their patrol car Saturday in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Identified gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, then killed himself on a nearby subway platform.
Brinsley left a Facebook message stating, “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today… They Take 1 Of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner [sic] #RIPMikeBrown This May Be My Final Post… I’m Putting Pigs In A Blanket.”
“I have spoken to the Garner family and we are outraged by the early reports of the police killed in Brooklyn today, 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,” Sharpton said.
“We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown,” he continued. “We have been criticized at National Action Network for not allowing rhetoric or chanting of violence and would abruptly denounce it at all of our gatherings. The Garner family and I have always stressed that we do not believe that all police are bad, in fact we have stressed that most police are not bad.”
Sharpton also tweeted, “An eye for an leaves the whole world blind. We all at NAN express our prayers and condolences to the families of the 2 NYC officers.”
He plans to hold a press conference at the National Action Network at 11 a.m. with Eswa Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carr.
At 1 p.m. Sharpton will then go to St. Luke Baptist Church in Harlem where, according to NAN, he will “then preach, leading a prayer service for the officers & the healing of the city.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton gave a press conference Saturday evening after visiting with the families of the two murdered police officers at Woodhull Hospital.
Bratton said Brinsley “walked up to the police car. He took a shooting stance on the passenger side and fired the weapon – his weapon – several times through the front passenger window, striking both officers in the head.”
“Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons. They may never have actually even seen their assailant – their murderer,” the police chief said, adding that at 5:45 a.m. Brinsley shot his former girlfriend in Baltimore County, Md. “Baltimore County detectives later received information from the victim’s mother that Brinsley was posting on the victim’s Instagram account. Further information was developed indicating that Brinsley may have had associations with the East Flatbush area of Brooklyn. At approximately 2:45 this afternoon, Baltimore authorities sent a fax – a warning flyer, a wanted flyer – to the NYPD and other agencies.”
“Tragically, this was essentially at the same time as our officers were being ambushed and murdered by Brinsley.”
De Blasio said the “entire city was attacked by this heinous individual.”
“Even though the assailant took his own life, we’ll be vigilant for any information about anyone else who might be involved. And this is a point to make clear to all my fellow New Yorkers – that any time anyone has information that there might be an attack on our police, there might be an act of violence directed at any police officer, it is imperative that that be reported immediately,” the mayor said.
“You heard the commissioner outline the tragic timeline, but anybody who sees a posting on the internet or any other indication of an intention to attack the police must report it immediately. Call 9-1-1. Report it to a police officer. But whatever the situation, that information must get into the hands of the police immediately, so we can protect the lives of our police officers and, in fact, of all of us, since they protect us.”
President Obama, on his first day of vacation in Hawaii, was out on the golf course Saturday. A White House official said, “The president has been briefed on the Brooklyn police shooting. White House officials continue to monitor the situation.”
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