“It’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things we will talk about in due time,” the mayor said at a luncheon with the Police Athletic League on Monday, two days after officer Rafael Ramos and his partner Wenjian Liu were fatally shot in their patrol car in Brooklyn by Ismaaiyl Brinsley.
Some protesters said that the mayor’s message came off as an excuse to slow down the demonstrations.
Rev. Al Sharpton said that the mayor’s request was “too nebulous to heed.”
“Is a vigil a protest? Is a rally?” Sharpton told Reuters over the phone. He called de Blasio’s plea “an ill-defined request.”
Sharpton said the upcoming prayer vigils at the site of Garner’s death and elsewhere will continue as planned. Other demonstrations, including today’s protest march organized by the Answer Coalition, an activist group, aren’t going to be cancelled. The coalition called de Blasio’s request an “outrageous attempt to ‘chill’ free expression,” Reuters reported.
The police unions have been upset with the mayor recently as well. Two days before de Blasio asked for a pause in protests, two union leaders said that the mayor had “blood on his hands” for the officer’s deaths.
Feeling betrayed by the mayor, the city’s largest police union encouraged its members to sign a letter to bar the mayor from their funerals if they were killed while on duty.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association accused de Blasio of inciting a loathing of police through his public statements by saying that he understood the protesters’ complaints.