Slayings of 2 officers trigger backlash against protesters
The execution-style shootings of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn on Saturday has triggered a backlash from critics who blame protesters for inciting violence against police.
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 and the Rev. Al Sharpton have drawn sharp criticism from police union officials and others.
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) accused the mayor of creating a climate that is "hostile to police." He says de Blasio and Sharpton failed to condemn extreme anti-police statements during the recent protests of the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
The police unions of both Nassau and New York City have both sought to draw links between the murders on Saturday and some radical protesters who called for violence against police.
Before the shootings in Brooklyn, investigators say the gunman posted comments that were "very anti-police" on social media accounts, and referenced Garner and Brown.
Sharpton and the family of Eric Garner spoke on Sunday to condemn the killings of two NYPD officers, and said they do not condone violence.
Many supporters of the recent protests have expressed worries that the backlash could derail their movement. Members of the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport were among those who took part in a large demonstration last weekend in Washington. Like most other demonstrators, Pastor Donnie McClurkian says his group protested peacefully, but says what he heard from some in the crowd made him "remorseful" for being there.
McClurkian says his group went to march against injustice, not the police. He says pastors across Long Island now need to come up with a unified message of peace.
Mayor de Blasio called Monday for a pause in the protests over police conduct until after the two officers killed in Brooklyn have been laid to rest.