The protests against the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in New York City have led to what a New Jersey police union official describes as a “fever pitch of anti-police sentiment.” Across the country, routine police actions have become fraught with tension and the rhetoric of the protesters is sometimes advocating violence against the police. Now two New York City police officers have been assassinated as retaliation.
Two New York City police officers were shot and killed by a gunman who ambushed their patrol car outside a Brooklyn housing project on Saturday, in what top city officials called a targeted killing.
“They were quite simply assassinated, targeted for their uniform,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference at Woodhull Medical Center on Saturday evening.
The alleged gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, was chased by other officers to the platform of a nearby subway station, where he committed suicide, police said. Officials have determined that Mr. Brinsley, 28 years old, started his day in the Baltimore area, where he allegedly shot a woman believed to be his former girlfriend before 6 a.m.Mr. Bratton said police are investigating social-media postings in which Mr. Brinsley foreshadowed the killings and referenced Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two unarmed black men who recently died during encounters with white police officers. Authorities have said both men were resisting arrest.
Mr. Brinsley posted a photo of a silver handgun and a message on Instagram several hours before the shooting, according to law-enforcement officials. In a message that he said may be his last, he talked about killing police officers in retaliation for the deaths of Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown.
New York police are blaming Mayor Bill d Blasio and Attorney General Eric Holder for encouraging the protests, to the point of turning their backs to the mayor when he came to the hospital to honor the dead officers.