Brooklyn pols say ‘pause’ protests, borough activists vow to march on

All lives matter: Police stand near a memorial to their fallen colleagues, with a banner riffing on the “Black lives matter” protest slogan in the background.
The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Give it a rest, but keep it up.

That is the message of some Brooklyn pols who are calling for anti-police-brutality protesters to stay off the streets while the families and colleagues of the officers killed in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday mourn. Borough President Adams has been saying since Sunday that the demonstrators upset with grand juries’ decisions not to indict cops in the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Gowanus native Eric Garner on Staten Island need to at least delay their next march until funerals have been held for officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

“The marchers should hit the pause button,” Adams said. “I am in full support of them continuing, but it should be after the officers have been laid to rest.”

Ramos’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning in Queens. Details of memorial services for Liu had not yet been announced at press time.

Mayor DeBlasio joined the call on Monday, saying:

“It’s 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. That can be for another day.”

DeBlaiso’s speech came as flags flew at half-staff citywide to honor the officers who police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot without warning as they sat in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Brinsley, who family members have told reporters has a history of mental illness, travelled to Brooklyn from Baltimore, Maryland with the aim of killing police, and social media posts shortly before the shooting cited the deaths of Garner and Michael Brown as justification, police said.

NYPD unions declared the murders DeBlasio’s fault within hours of the officers’ deaths, with leaders of both the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association saying that he has blood on his hands. The unions orchestrated a silent protest on Saturday evening, with dozens of officers turning their backs as DeBlasio entered Woodhull Medical Center, where the bodies of Liu and Ramos had just been taken. The murders and subsequent union outcry bring to a head a long-running conflict with the mayor, who union leaders have long said is insufficiently supportive of officers, and who a rep recently faulted for saying, in a discussion of the protests that have gripped the city for a month, that he warned his mixed-race son Dante to be cautious when dealing with police.

City Hall and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have said much of the union criticism stems from ongoing contract negotiations, which started in May. In addition to blaming DeBlasio for Brinsley’s acts, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch blamed protesters, calling them, “those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day.”

Adams, a former police captain with 22 years on the force, rejected the notion that activists are at fault, saying that Brinsley was clearly deranged, and pointing out that he first shot his ex-girlfriend in Maryland before traveling to Bedford-Stuyvesant with murder on his mind.

“This was a loony toon. A sick person who did a sick act, whose first victim was a civilian,” Adams said. “For the most part the protests have been a picture-perfect demonstration of democracy in America.”

But Adams blasted officers’ own act of protest, calling it an insult to the “symbol of the mayor’s office.”

Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–East Flatbush) has been a fixture at the anti-police brutality marches. He echoed the calls for a brief break in the action during a cable news appearance.

“I personally believe there should be a day or two- or three-day moratorium out of respect for the officers that were executed,” Williams said on MSNBC on Monday.

Many of the organizations involved in the protests condemned the shooting and distanced themselves from any acts of violence. But some organizers, unmoved by the requests to stay home, put on a march on Tuesday evening in an attempt to disrupt Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, which they called “a playground for the global one percent.”

One Bay Ridge rabble-rouser ventured that it is possible to respect the deaths of police officers while also demanding action on behalf of people who police officers killed.

“Sisters and brothers, we can mourn the death of police and by police. They are not mutually exclusive,” Linda Sarsour wrote on Monday on her personal blog. “Asking black Americans and communities of color to ‘stop protesting’ is unreasonable. To engage in requests to elected officials to suppress the constitutional rights of segments of the American population makes you no better than the countries we are quick to criticize for lack of democracy.”

Sarsour singled out Lynch on Twitter, calling him “the epitome of evil” and saying that people like him are “the very reason I wake up every morning ready to fight for a better future, a better now.”

A pol who represents a nearby southern Brooklyn district didn’t take a stand on whether or not people should protest, but did say in a pro-police e-mail that tolerance must prevail.

“We can continually strive for improvements, but in doing so, we must never accept creating a climate of the vilifying of any group,” said Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bath Beach).

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Moses Kestenbaum ODA from Williamsburg says:
Mayor Deblasio your polarizing NYC please resign , your in over your head on this job please do the right thing and resign, do us all a favor please please.
Dec. 23, 2014, 6:26 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Moses Kestenbaum you are doing a desservice to the city. He's done more to help ordinary people.

Please do us a favor and stop causing trouble. Go police your people.
Dec. 23, 2014, 8:28 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
As much as I dislike the Mayor, he can't be blamed for what this animal did. That piece of garbage, like many others like him led long criminal pasts in which they were let off easy by DA offices looking for quick "convictions" through plea bargains. Fact is he was a felon that only served 2 years for the felony gun possession charge in GA, when he should have served 5 years meaning he should have still been in jail. And while the NYPD needs sweeping reforms, people need to draw a distinction between the officers and the organization. So while protesters have the patriotic right to protest peacefully, they should show some respect, not for the NYPD but for the officers and their families
Dec. 23, 2014, 8:53 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Even the British and Germans paused World War I for Christmas. But I can't criticize those who choose to continue protesting over the next few days. Reforming the police department and the justice system is too important.
Dec. 23, 2014, 11:59 am
Bob from Brooklyn says:
The PBA president is a rabble-rouser. The NYPD's inability to accept criticism makes it impossible to have a dialog between police and civilians.
Dec. 23, 2014, 12:18 pm
DMC from PArk Slop says:
These protesters and anyone associated with them are immoral and should be ashamed. Stop with he BS nonsense and don't break the law plain and simple you are not a God nor are you better than anyone else get a life
Dec. 23, 2014, 1:02 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
The PBA president Pay Lynch should take a "pause" from spewing inflammatory bile out of his mouth. That would actually show respect to the people he supposedly represents.
Dec. 23, 2014, 1:03 pm
Jimmy from Bedstuy says:
It would be extremely insensitive if the protest groups continue marching right away, it'd be bad PR for them, and the public sympathy for their cause will decrease. If they are incapable of even pause a few days to show respect to the murdered officers, clearly the demonstration harbors lots of hates. In that case, these group should not expect much respect from the public.
Dec. 23, 2014, 5:09 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Why should the protesters stop? The things they were protesting haven't been fixed.
Dec. 24, 2014, 10:20 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: