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Monday, December 22, 2014

ACMD POLITICS: Tensions brew over police killings

By Jane C. Timm

Tensions between the New York City police union and the mayor’s office intensified over the weekend, as police and their supporters threw blame on Mayor Bill de Blasio and recent anti-police protests for the execution-style death of two innocent police officers.
Police responded to this weekend’s killings furiously: the mayor’s hands are “dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies” and that the department has “for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department,” the Police Benevolent Association said in a statement. Dozens of officers and firefighters turned their backs on de Blasio Saturday night before he appeared at a press conference to address the incident. 
It’s a fury that’s likely to quiet for awhile, at least: a source close to the Police unions told MSNBC that the Obama administration, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and de Blasio have reached out to the police unions to not do interviews until things settle down and to not politicize the situation.
“I don’t think it was appropriate, particularly in that setting, but it’s reflective of the anger of some of them,” NYPD police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on “TODAY” of the turned backs. He defended the mayor, citing increased benefits for officers and a growing budget to help train and upgrade police facilities and technology, but said de Blasio had clearly lost the trust of “some officers.”
Bratton called the officers’ killings a “direct spinoff” of the recent anti-police protests, despite the fact they’ve been overwhelmingly peaceful.
MORNING JOE, 12/22/14, 7:14 AM ET

Ray Kelly: Mayor de Blasio presented a ‘false narrative’

“I understand the emotions that generated that type of statement,” former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on “Morning Joe” Monday morning, remarking that the killings were the first of its kind in decades. “This has had a traumatic, gut-wrenching effect on the department,” Kelly said.
NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were sitting in their squad car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn Saturday when the suspect, 28-year old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, approached the passenger side window and fired multiple rounds into the car, hitting the officers in the head and torso. Brinsley apparently fled to a nearby subway station, where he shot and killed himself. New details released by police Sunday night reveal Brinsley’s long, troubled history with his family and the law, including 19 arrests in the last decade. He allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend earlier in the day  in Baltimore County, Maryland, before heading to New York City.
Police say he accessed his social media accounts from his ex-girlfriend’s phone, which he stole, and allegedly posted rants on Instagram in which he proclaimed plans to “put wings on pigs,” in other words, kill police. Brinsley also cited the recent deaths of Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown and Staten Island, New York’s Eric Garner; police allies have blamed their deaths on the mayor and protesters. 
De Blasio is set to speak out about the shootings at a Monday afternoon news conference, his first remarks since he was publicly snubbed by officer’s turned backs. Meanwhile, more and more officials, former officials, and advocates are weighing into the brewing tensions that show no signs of abating.
The mayor had angered many police by offering support for the protesters and by suggesting publicly his teenage son Dante, who is biracial, could have something to fear in his encounters with law enforcement. De Blasio draws his strongest political support from black voters, many of whom felt unfairly targeted by what they viewed as heavy handed policing practices under de Blasio’s predecessor, Mike Bloomberg.  
Cuomo, speaking from outside Officer Ramos’ house, said Sunday, “The two police officers, its just unimaginable, there were no words, I was sitting with the family, there were looking at me, there are going to be some words, some wisdom.. his son said to me, why, why is my dad gone, what did my dad do wrong, and the truth is his father do nothing wrong.”
“I hope and pray we can reflect on this tragic loss of the lives that have occurred so we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful co-existence. we would like to extend our condolences to the Liu family also,” the aunt of Officer Ramos said from her home in Brooklyn Sunday evening.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani blamed the president and black leaders for incendiary rhetoric, arguing they bear some responsibility for the officers’ deaths.
“We’ve had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t care how you want to describe it – that’s what those protests are all about.”
He accused de Blasio of “allowing protests to get out of control,” but stopped short of blaming him outright as the police had or calling for his resignation as others had. 
Investigators are continuing to talk to more eye witnesses, while attempting to calm the community. President Barack Obama in a statement Sunday condemned the “murder of two police officers,” saying ”two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification.”

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