Protesters against police brutality marched along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan Tuesday, despite a call from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to suspend demonstrations. De Blasio asked people to wait until after the funerals of two police officers who were shot and killed over the weekend.
There have been protests nationwide in recent weeks over the cases of unarmed black men being killed by police, particularly Eric Garner and Michael Brown. In both Garner and Brown’s cases, grand juries decided not to indict the officers.
The suspect in the shooting of the two New York City police officers, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, indicated on social media before Saturday’s incident that he would retaliate for the deaths of Brown and Garner. Brinsley shot himself after killing officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
“Protesters say it’s unfair to tie the shooting in New York to peaceful demonstrations over police brutality,” NPR’s Joel Rose tells our Newscast Desk. Rose spoke with Eugene Puryear of the Answer Coalition, who helped organize Tuesday’s march.
“We never considered cancelling the protest,” Puryear said. “There is no connection between the protest movement and the killing of the officers in Brooklyn.”
As Rose reports for All Things Considered, de Blasio held a moment of silence for officers Liu and Ramos Tuesday, and spoke briefly.
“We need to protect and respect our police, just as our police protect and respect our communities,” the mayor said. “We can strike that balance. We must. But right now, I want everyone to focus on these families. On their pain. Put yourselves in their shoes.”
Funerals for the officers are set for Saturday.