The tragic deaths of Eric Garner, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu offer New Yorkers an opportunity to have a real conversation about our city's sordid racial history. Racial politics may have come a long way in a city that prides itself on multiculturalism and progressivism, but community memories are long, and discussing the past must be part of moving forward. Mayor de Blasio recently acknowledged that some of the conflicts that have surfaced in recent weeks "go back centuries in their origins."
In the Media
More than 20,000 cops—significant numbers of them from other states—turned out Dec. 27 as the city paid its final respects to Rafael Ramos, the NYPD officer whom Police Commissioner William J. Bratton described as having “represented the best of our values” before he and Wenjian Liu were murdered by a crazed gunman outside a Brooklyn housing project seven days earlier.
The New York Post's Christmas edition carried a red, but hardly festive banner on its front page: "War on Cops." The hyperbole aptly captures the perspective of the New York Police Department, which indeed has behaved like it's at war since officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in their patrol car last week.
City Council members took to the streets in New York to block traffic in solidarity with the demonstrators demanding changes in policing.
Mayor Bill De Blasio has asked for a temporary pause in protests in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of two NYPD officers. We hear from four activists - Mark Winston Griffith, Monifa Bandele, Opal Tometi and Josmar Trujillo - on what comes next.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Protesters are marching once again in the streets of New York City.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTORS: Justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: When do we want it?
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTORS: Now.
Mayor de Blasio called Monday for a moratorium on demonstrations and political bombast until the two slain officers who were executed by a lunatic over the weekend are laid to rest.
“I think it’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in due time,” Hizzoner said at a Police Athletic League luncheon.
“I think it’s important that, regardless of people’s viewpoints, that everyone recognizes a time to step back and just focus on these families.”
Queens officials, clergy and community leaders have organized three events to honor the two police officers assassinated Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn by a career criminal out to avenge the deaths of two black men at the hands of cops this summer.
The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot as they sat in their patrol car outside a housing complex in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
When many families are home lighting the menorah for the first night of Hanukkah, an interfaith coalition will use the spirit of the holiday to demand an end to racial profiling and police brutality.
Last year, eyewitnesses were certain that 16-year-old Kimani Gray was unarmed when two plainclothes officers shot him seven times in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. But the officers alleged that Gray pointed a .38-caliber Rohm's industry revolver at them.
Aggrieved family members demanded justice. Protests were held. Riots ensued. No one was indicted.