President Obama asked Americans to “reject violence” and threatening rhetoric after two NYPD officers were slain by a gunman posting anti-police messages.
Officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were shot to death as they sat in their patrol car Saturday in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
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 unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City,” Obama said in a statement issued Sunday East Coast time, but still Saturday in Hawaii. “Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification. ”
“The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day – and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day,” Obama continued. “Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal – prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement late last night that he would “make available all of the resources of the Department to aid the NYPD in investigating this tragedy.”
“I condemn this afternoon’s senseless shooting of two New York City police officers in the strongest possible terms. This was an unspeakable act of barbarism, and I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of these two brave officers in the line of duty,” Holder said.
“…This cowardly attack underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who protect and serve their fellow citizens. As a nation we must not forget this as we discuss the events of the recent past. These courageous men and women routinely incur tremendous personal risks, and place their lives on the line each and every day, in order to preserve public safety. We are forever in their debt.”
Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told ABC this morning that Obama needs to be the “ultimate healer and one who brings people together.”
“Obviously, there’s a lot of emotion involved when two police officers are killed. I think when the mayor made statements about that he had to train his son to be — his son who is biracial — to be careful when he’s dealing with the police, I think that set off this latest firestorm. And quite frankly, the mayor ran an anti-police campaign last year when he ran for mayor,” Kelly said.
“I think, yes, a lot of the rhetoric was — at a time when the police had a 70 percent approval rating. Obviously, that’s not the case now during the de Blasio administration.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who represents part of Queens, said administration officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been “trying all along to bring the city together.”
“No one has ever given up on the police department or said we were anti-police department. What we were crying for was to saying how African-Americans feel, how their communities are policed and want the justice system to work for everyone,” Meeks said.
“…And you heard from the families of Michael Brown and Mr. Garner saying that they did not want any violence at all in any of the demonstrations and definitely this. They’ve stated very loudly and very clearly how shocked and how opposed they are to the violence and to this assassination of police officers that took place yesterday.”