What We Know So Far
- Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed and assassinated at close range on Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, officials said.
- Before the shooting, Brinsley said on Instagram he was going to shoot police officers.
- The incident has increased the rift between de Blasio and the nation's largest police force.
- On Wednesday, the NYPD increased security at two Brooklyn precincts after there were threats of violence against police.
- De Blasio asked all organizations planning protests to postpone them out of respect for the families of the slain cops.
- The Reverend Al Sharpton said that his organization will still hold Christmas events with the Garner and Brown families.
- NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said de Blasio has lost the trust of "some" police officers and that the officers deaths were a "spinoff" of protests.
The NYPD has arrested at least four people for making threats against police.
The NYPD said Wednesday in a statement that it has arrested four people for making threats against police.
"All threats against members of the NYPD are taken seriously and are investigated immediately to determine the credibility and origin of the information," the statement read.
The police said that it has "assessed hundreds of online postings" and conducted "about 40 threat investigations, of which about half have been closed or referred to other agencies."
The statement did not include information on the timeframe of the arrests or the names of those detained.
The NYPD deployed Emergency Service Unit officers to guard two Brooklyn precincts — the 79th in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the 81st in Brownsville — after receiving threats, police told BuzzFeed News.
In Milwaukee, more than 100 protesters marched for justice in the death of Dontre Hamilton.
On Monday, District Attorney John Chisholm announced he would not press charges against former Milwaukee Officer Christopher Manney, who shot 14 rounds and killed Dontre Hamilton during a confrontation in Red Arrow Park last April.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced plans Monday that it would perform an independent federal review to determine if there were any civil rights violations.
Demonstrators blocked off the arena entrance to the BMO Harris Bradley Center, as well as the ticket booth, while a Milwaukee Bucks game was taking place:
Dontre's brother, Nate, made an appearance on Tuesday night. The Hamilton family has repeatedly called for justice and Manney to face criminal charges.
The Milwaukee County district attorney's office decided in January that it would not press charges against the men who killed Corey Stingley.
Hundreds of protesters on Tuesday evening defied New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's call to hold off on demonstrations until after the funerals of two NYPD officers killed Saturday in Brooklyn.
Protesters marched through the streets of Manhattan chanting anti-police and anti-racism phrases.
Vice President Joe Biden to attend funeral service for Officer Rafael Ramos.
According to a statement from White House spokesperson Eric Schultz on Tuesday:
The President has asked Vice President Biden to attend the service for Officer Rafael Ramos and is grateful that the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will be traveling to New York City to attend the service on Saturday. Additional details will be forthcoming from the Vice President's office.
In defiance of the mayor's requests, some protesters plan to attend marches tonight.
A day after Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a temporary suspension of all protests against police brutality, some activists said they see no reason to stay off the streets.
"When a young, unarmed kid is killed by the police, they don't say, 'Let's immediately pause stop and frisk, let's immediately disarm the cops,'" activist Chino MayDay told BuzzFeed News. "It's utterly delusional to think that protests should stop just because two police were killed. Maybe if they didn't have this double standard we could return the goodwill, but right now it seems delusional."
MayDay, who asked to be identified only by his nom de guerre, is a member of the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee (TMOC), a New York-based organization that advocates for an end to what it calls racist police practices.
In a statement published on Saturday in The New Inquiry, TMOC said that some of its members have surrendered to the NYPD in relation to the Dec. 13 incident on the Brooklyn Bridge, in which two police officers were allegedly assaulted by protesters.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News over the phone, MayDay added that linking last weekend's killing of two NYPD officers to the recent protests demanding justice for unarmed black men killed by police was "ludicrous."
"If the police want to blame someone for the anger coming against them, whether it is organized protests or in terms of the actions of a delusional individual, they don't have to look any farther than themselves," he said. "Of course nobody likes it when someone gets killed, but you'd have to be blind not to see where these strong feelings of animosity against the police are coming from."
Mayor Bill de Blasio observed a moment of silence in City Hall Tuesday at 2:47 p.m., the time the officers were shot and killed on Saturday.
Funeral service for officer Ramos announced.
The Ramos family will hold a viewing service on Friday, Dec. 26, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave., in the Glendale section of Queens.
The funeral service will be held the following day, Saturday, Dec. 27, at 10 a.m. at the same church. He will be buried at Cypress Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Officer Liu's funeral service have not been announced as the NYPD is making arrangements to bring his relatives from China to New York.
Mayor de Blasio visits the site where two NYPD officers were killed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday visited the Brooklyn street corner where two NYPD officers were killed last weekend, the Associated Press reported.
De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, stood silently by the makeshift memorial marking the site of the killing, leaving behind a wreath of flowers. They declined to answer questions from reporters.
Police Commissioner Bratton publishes a "Message to New York":
Here is the message in its entirety:
A message to New York
Over the past weeks, many in this city and across the nation have been attempting to define the New York City Police Department in their own terms.
They are attempting to answer for themselves questions about who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
But the men and women of this Department know exactly who we are: we are Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. They were loving fathers, husbands, and sons—points of great pride for their communities. They were also part of our NYPD family, bonded by the experiences, triumphs, and challenges we face so that others won't have to. They dedicated their lives to the defense of others, and understood what that commitment could ultimately mean. They were people of faith, of conviction, and of principle. They answered the call to service, and did so each and every day they wore the uniform. They were devoted to the protection of this city and the safety of its people. They didn't do this work to be thanked, congratulated, or admired. They did it because it must be done, because we all have the basic right to live free from fear. And with all of us, they stood tall to guard those who cannot guard themselves, to shield the frightened, the weak, and the vulnerable. We are their memory. We are their legacy. And we still stand.
These deaths cast a dark cloud on the rest of our holiday season and the flags will remain at half-staff past Christmas. But as we mourn their sacrifice, we also honor them through the work we do every day. May God grant Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos rest. And may God bless the New York City Police Department.
William J. Bratton
Gov. Cuomo warns against "pointing fingers" on cop shooting.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday warned against assigning blame for the recent killing of two New York City police officers, asking protesters, union leaders, and the news media not to "point fingers."
During an interview on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, Cuomo was asked what he thought of the refusal by several protest leaders to temporarily suspend demonstrations, as both the governor and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have requested. The protest leaders, Lehrer said, believe connecting the largely peaceful demonstrations with an individual's violent crime to be a mistake.
"This pointing fingers, saying it wasn't me, it was the other guy — that's how wars start," Cuomo said. "What is inarguable is that the dialogue got hot and unproductive. There was assaulting of the police and disgusting chants. It was bad, and it was hurtful, and I want it to stop. It doesn't matter if it was only one or two chants saying, 'We want dead cops.' One or two is too many."
Cuomo also said that he had spoken to police unions and protest leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton, and that they had all agreed to "stand down" with protests and disagreements until after the winter holidays. (Sharpton told BuzzFeed News on Monday that he plans to continue with scheduled events with the Garner and Brown families.)
Cuomo added that he plans to convene a group to discuss possible reforms to policing. He said the group would begin meeting in January, when the state legislation returns to session.
The NYPD arrested a man after he allegedly posted an anti-police cartoon to Facebook.
The NYPD arrested a Brooklyn man on Monday on charges of terrorism after he posted an anti-police cartoon to his Facebook page.
A police department spokesman confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the suspect is 18-year-old Devon Coley, of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Coley, who the police said is a known member of a local gang called Addicted to Cash, was charged with "making terroristic threats."
Coley had a Facebook profile under the name Flossy MH, police said. Coley made his anti-police post at 7 p.m. on Saturday, just hours after Ismaaiyl Brinsley allegedly killed two NYPD officials in nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to police.
The post in question — which BuzzFeed News could not independently verify because of Coley's privacy settings — was apparently titled "73Next." Police interpreted that to mean that Coley intended to harm officers in the 73rd Precinct, which includes Brownsville, police said.
The post also consisted of "a cartoon with a picture of a man, a police officer, and a gun pointed at the police officer."
Under the cartoon, police said, there was "a picture of an individual shooting a marked police car." The New York Post, which was the first outlet to report the story, cited police sources as saying that the picture came from a movie.
Coley's family could not be located and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
The clip, provided to the media by the NYPD, shows the suspect walking around the Atlantic Mall in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Police said that he was likely carrying the gun he used to shoot at the officers in the Styrofoam container.
De Blasio, Bratton ask people to report threats against police, blast media for amplifying anti-police sentiment.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton asked the public Monday to report all threats against police, as they gave more details on the final hours of the alleged killer of two NYPD officers.
"We've learned as a society from 9/11," said de Blasio, speaking at a press conference at NYPD headquarters. "Any statements suggesting violence against the police need to be reported."
Also speaking at 1 Police Plaza, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that the NYPD had reconstructed most of the final hours of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who allegedly shot and killed two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday, but asked for the public's assistance in discovering his whereabouts from 12 p.m. to the time of the shooting. He said the suspect was last seen around Barclays Center, in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.
Boyce described Brinsley as "self-loathing" and "anti-government," adding that the alleged shooter had posted more than 119 images described as "anti-police" to Instagram. He added that the NYPD had found video that appeared to show the alleged shooter at a recent rally demanding justice for Eric Garner at Union Square.
Bratton said that "nothing in the investigation" suggests that Brinsley had accomplices, and said that the alleged killer had likely acted alone. He went on to say that the NYPD had received a number of "copycat threats" and was investigating to see if any of them were serious.
Bratton also said that he had spoke to the leaders of the city's five police unions, and that all of them had agreed to "stand down" on disagreements with the city until after the funerals of the slain officers. The commissioner played down tensions between the police unions and the mayor, challenging reporters to "name a New York mayor in the last 50 years who has not had trouble with the police unions."
Asked how he felt about some chants heard at protests following the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown — some of which compared the NYPD with the Ku Klux Klan — de Blasio chastised the media for amplifying the actions of what he called a "minority" of protesters.
"What are you going to do? Are you going to keep dividing us?" de Blasio asked reporters. "What you've managed to do is pull out the protesters who say unacceptable things about the police. There are some people who say hateful things. They have no place in these protests."
Video of the news conference:
Al Sharpton said that his organization will still hold events with the Garner and Brown families.
Rev. Al Sharpton told BuzzFeed News on Monday that his organization, National Action Network, will go ahead with plans to hold events with the Garner and Brown families — despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's request for a temporary suspension of all political activity regarding the police.
"We had planned some things around the Garner family and the Brown family, who are getting ready to spend their first Christmas without a loved one," Sharpton said. Those events were planned before this despicable act and they will take place, but whatever we do, we will include the families of the police officers."
Sharpton added that he was unaware of the mayor's definition of "protests and political gatherings," and said that he wasn't sure that the events his organization had planned fell into those categories.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a moratorium on all protests to respect the families of the two slain cops.
Mayor de Blasio on Monday called for all "protests and political events" against police brutality to be postponed while the families of the two slain NYPD police officers mourn their dead.
"It's time for everyone to stand back and put aside political debates and protests and focus on these families," said de Blasio, speaking at a luncheon at the Police Athletic League. "I ask all organizations that are planning protests or political events, that can be for another time."
De Blasio added that "the debate can begin again later," but he did not specify when it would be the right time to do so. He also asked members of the public to thank members of the NYPD.
"The entire NYPD family is feeling this personally and deeply," he said. "When you see a member of the NYPD, take a moment to console them and thank them."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "We need to take a deep societal breath and have a cooling-off period right now."
Cuomo, speaking to WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, asked the city for a "period of peace during the holy week of Hanukkah and Christmas" and to "bring the rhetoric down" in the aftermath of the fatal shootings of officers.
"People are angry and agitated right now and there are high emotions. It's not a productive dialogue right now," Cuomo said. "Let's bring a moment of peace and calm and then we can move on and have a rational, sober conversation about what we learned and what changes we need to make."
Responding to anger from police officers toward Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo said the mayor has his full support and is "doing the best he can" during this time of "polarization in the city."
When questioned by Lehrer whether the leader of the police union, Patrick Lynch, crossed a line when he said de Blasio had "blood on his hands," Cuomo said, "I don't want to get into who is to blame and who is worse."
Cuomo suggested that he would set up the legislative agenda in January on the Eric Garner matter and grand jury reform, as well as on issues of benefits and compensations for the families of officers who died in the line of duty, and measures to improve the safety of cops.
"I'd like to get past this period and bring the temperature down," Cuomo said. "Let's grieve and respect the families of Ramos and Liu."
NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said on PIX11 on Monday that "the city is broken" and the "police department is broken."
"We look at the mayor, and he will be judged in the court of public opinion," Mullins said. "Anything that occurs between the mayor ... and police unions will only be more divisive."
On the police turning their backs on the mayor at Woodhull Hospital, Mullins said he has never seen such a display.
"The mayor has turned his back on us — he got elected on a campaign of attacking the police," he said. "Maybe that video, maybe that statement, will be the defining moment from which a real leader can be born."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, called Monday for a pause in #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations after the officers' deaths.
"I want them to put a pause on the protests to allow these officers to be buried. These officers are representative of what the protesters are fighting for. These are two officers that wanted to change the relationship between the community and the police department," Adams said on NPR.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Monday the fatal shooting of two officers was a "direct spinoff" of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown protests:
New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton on Monday said that Mayor Bill de Blasio has lost the trust of "some" of the rank-and-file in the wake of the ambush killing of two officers on Saturday.
Bratton's comments come at a point of heightened tension between the mayor and the police force. Officers and union leaders feel that de Blasio hasn't fully supported them from when he campaigned for mayor on an anti-stop-and-frisk platform to the recent grand jury decision to not indict the officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold.
When asked on NBC News by Matt Lauer if the mayor "lost the trust and confidence of the police force," Bratton said, "I think he's lost it with some officers."
Both references come from the scene Saturday night at Woodhull Hospital, where the shot officers were treated. When de Blasio and Bratton arrived, the assembled officers turned their back on them.
Asked if he agreed with that display, Bratton said Monday, "I don't support that particular activity. I don't think it was appropriate, particularly in that setting."
"It's reflective of the anger of some of them. There's a lot going on in the NYPD at the moment. Labor negotiations," he said, adding, "we've had so many attacks on young police officers this past year. There's a lot of moving currents creating the current tension and atmosphere."
The shooter said on Instagram that he was going to kill police officers, and referenced the recent deaths of Garner and Michael Brown, who was fatally shot in Ferguson. In both cases, the officers were not indicted, leading to nationwide protests.
"Do you think the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner pushed a disturbed man over the edge?" Lauer asked.
"What's quite apparent, obvious, is that the target of these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue of these demonstrations," Bratton said.
When asked if de Blasio "by his actions or his words, has increased the threat against police officers?" Bratton said, "I do not. I don't believe that at all."
Bratton also said he doesn't think "an apology is necessary" from de Blasio to the officers.
"One of the things, concerns at the moment, is that this issue is starting to go down partisan lines," he said. "Republican, Democrat. I had Governor Pataki yesterday, former Mayor Giuliani going after the president. Pataki going after mayor, and it's starting to shape up a partisan line, which is unfortunate. This should be bringing us together, not taking us apart."
Bratton said he hasn't seen this type of tension between police and people since the 1970s. We are "back where we were 40-some-odd years ago. I think this one is a little different in the sense that social media capabilities [are there] to spread the word constantly."