A wall of NYPD blue three rows deep stood at attention last night as ambulances bearing the bodies of two of their fallen brethren, gunned down execution-style in their patrol car, made their way past a New York City hospital. And in video picked up by PIX11, a wall of NYPD blue literally turned its back on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio last night as he walked into a press conference to address the murders—a sign of the bitter division between a mayor who has been publicly sympathetic to protesters in the wake of the exoneration of police in Eric Garner's chokehold death, and a police force now reeling over the killings of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu by a gunman who had posted online threats about that incident, reports the New York Daily News. Sources confirm to the AP that 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley posted this to Instagram: "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs."
For his part, de Blasio—who was visibly shaken—said, "It's clear that this was an assassination. These officers were shot execution-style, a particularly despicable act which goes to the heart of our society and our democracy. It is an attack on all of us." But further reaction to the killings was neither muted or limited to the rank and file:
- The president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association: "Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands. It is your failed policies and actions that enabled this tragedy to occur."
- The head of the patrol officers' union: "That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor. When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable." He further blamed "those who incited violence on the street under the guise of protest. We tried to warn. It cannot be tolerated."
- Former New York Gov. George Pataki: "Sickened by these barbaric acts, which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of # ericholder & # mayordeblasio . # NYPD "
- A de Blasio spokesman: "It’s unfortunate that in a time of great tragedy, some would resort to irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people. Mayor de Blasio understands this is the time when we must come together to support the families and friends of those brave officers New York City lost tonight—and the entire NYPD community."
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