On Saturday, in a shooting described by New York City officials as an "execution" and an "assassination," two New York City Police Department officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were fatally shot by a man believed to be Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Brinsley, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after the shooting, allegedly shot his former girlfriend in Maryland earlier Saturday, and had posted vitriolic anti-police messages on social media. By Saturday night, #NYPDLivesMatter began trending on Twitter in an echo to #BlackLivesMatter, a hashtag thousands used in response to the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, and others.
The NYPD and other nationwide police departments have come under fire in recent months for the shooting deaths of unarmed black men and women; the NYPD, in particular, was implicated in the chokehold death of Eric Garner this summer. The hashtag #NYPDLivesMatter serves to remind us that, regardless of the anger and heartbreak that has been directed at the NYPD and other police departments, every life in every department, and outside of it, holds immense value. Just like #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter before it, #NYPDLivesMatter is at its core the simple sentiment that all lives, regardless of race or profession or background, matter.
One person posted a screenshot of what's alleged to be Ramos' son's Facebook post.
Others noted that #NYPDLivesMatter hadn't provoked the backlash that #BlackLivesMatter did; some voiced their belief that the killings would be investigated more thoroughly than Garner's and Brown's and others' had.
Other commentators felt they couldn't support both #BlackLivesMatter and #NYPDLivesMatter.