A leading police reform group blasted NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton today for again blaming protesters for the murders of two police officers last December.
Communities United for Police Reform, an organization increasingly critical of Mr. Bratton and the de Blasio administration, said Mr. Bratton was “unconscionable” and “reckless” after he claimed during an NYPD promotion ceremony yesterday that “street demonstrations” “led to the murder of two of our police officers.”
CPR demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio condemn the comment.
“Commissioner Bratton’s unconscionable statement yesterday at a NYPD promotion ceremony was reckless and wildly inaccurate,” said Monifa Bandele, a spokesperson for the group. “His attempt to connect the protests of the unjust killing of Eric Garner to the unjust killing of police officers is despicable and irresponsible.”
“We call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to denounce this dangerous rhetoric that equates protest of police brutality with violence, thereby threatening the safety of those who choose to exercise that Constitutional right,” the spokesperson added.
This isn’t the first time that Mr. Bratton has implied that the mass anti-police brutality protests which rocked the city after a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a black man, drove a mentally unstable man to kill two police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Echoing many conservatives, who felt the protesters were encouraging violence against police, Mr. Bratton said last December that “it’s quite apparent, quite obvious that targeting these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue and these demonstrations,” enraging many in the police reform movement.
Mr. Bratton’s unrestrained rhetoric often puts Mr. de Blasio, who ran for office on a platform of improving the relationship between the NYPD and minority communities, in an awkward place. His office did not return a request for comment on Mr. Bratton’s latest comments, though Mr. de Blasio was willing to break with his police commissioner after he said last week liberal members of the City Council can be “obstructive” and “destructive.”
“I don’t share the assessment. I have had a very good working relationship with the Council,” Mr. de Blasio said.