Saturday's appalling incident, allegedly in retribution for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, has prompted the families of Garner and Brown denounce NYPD officers' shooting.
The two cops, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley as they sat in their squad car in Brooklyn. Brinsley later shot himself, too. Both Garner's widow and mother condemned the violence. His mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters:
Anyone who's standing with us, we want you to not use Eric Garner's name for violence because we are not about that. I'm standing here in sorrow about losing those two police officers.
Police are investigating Brinsley's social media posts, reported the New York Post, as they hint at the shooting being an act of retaliation for Brown and Garner, whose deaths at the hands of police officers in the past few months — and subsequent acquittal of said officers by two different grand juries — sparked nationwide protests and heightened tensions between the police and minority communities.
NBC News reported that Esaw Garner, his widow, called for future protests to remain peaceful and expressed sympathy for the families of the Liu and Ramos:
My husband was not a violent man. We don't want violence connected to his name... I know what [the families] are going through, to lose a loved one right before the holidays.
Hours after the shooting, Brown's family issued a statement through their lawyers condemning the incident and that they had the victims' families in their thoughts and prayers, adding:
We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities.
Shock and fear reverberated throughout New York City after news of the shooting broke. Protests across the nation following the deaths of Garner and Brown have, for the most part, been peaceful. The tragic killings of these police officers are not only a horrifying act of violence, they also further stoke tensions between the police and the communities they serve, and are detrimental to the movement pushing for a change in the criminal justice and policing system.
Shortly after the shooting, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, reportedly looking pale and shaken, said at a hospital news conference that Liu and Ramos "were, quite simply, assassinated." Prior to him killing the officers, Brinsley had shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore, Maryland, earlier that day.
Liu left behind a wife he married a mere two months ago, and Ramos a wife and a 13-year-old son who Mayor Bill de Blasio said "couldn't comprehend what had happened to his father."
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