Sharpton, Garner family condemn police killings
Rev. Al Sharpton and the family of Eric Garner spoke on Sunday to condemn the killings of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn.
A gunman ambushed two NYPD officers as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn Saturday, fatally shooting both of them before he turned the gun on himself in a nearby subway station, authorities say.
Sharpton and Garner's wife and mother expressed their condolences for the officers' families, but also said they're concerned that the killings could derail the protest movement against alleged police brutality against minorities.
"We are going in peace," said Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother. "Anyone who is standing with us, we want you to not use Eric Garner's name for violence because we are not about that."
The deaths of the two officers came at a time when the city is dealing with heightened tensions between law enforcement, the public and some city officials. Mayor Bill de Blasio drew strong criticism from the head of the NYPD union for remarks he made after a grand jury declined to indict the officer who put Garner in a chokehold.
As de Blasio walked in to hold a press conference at Woodhull Hospital Saturday, where the two officers were pronounced dead, rows of officers literally turned their backs to him in a symbolic show of discontent with the mayor.
NYPD PBA President Patrick Lynch accused de Blasio and Sharpton of fueling the anti-police sentiment, and said there's "blood on the hands" of those in city hall who did not stand with the city's officers.
Sharpton fought back today, saying, "To blame the mayor and others are not what we need. The blame game will only lead to further kinds of venom and division."
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) called Sharpton's conduct "despicable," and said he blamed both Sharpton and de Blasio's silence for creating a climate which allowed for the two officers to be killed.
"Whatever happened in Staten Island was not racist," King said. "Al Sharpton made it a racial issue, he was the one with the demonstrations out on the streets for last few weeks calling for cops to be killed, saying they want cops dead. I didn't hear any denunciation from Sharpton at all."
King says he's calling on national leaders to take notice, and says he hopes President Barack Obama will invite the victims' families to the White House.