Advocates will push back Tuesday against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for break in protests, asking protesters to continue peaceful demonstrations in the wake of execution-style shooting of two innocent NYPD officers.
On Monday, de Blasio called on his city to halt protests while the police force and families mourn the deaths of the officers killed in cold blood. Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Lui were killed by a 28-year-old man allegedly motivated by recent police killings of unarmed black men and the grand jury decisions not to indict the officers that followed.
“Politics and protests can be for another day,” the mayor said. “Let’s see the families through the funerals.”
De Blasio and others at City Hall will observe a moment of silence at 2:47 p.m. ET on Tuesday, to mark the time the officers were killed last Saturday. The first funeral – for Officer Ramos – will occur Saturday; the funeral for Officer Lui has not yet been scheduled, as members of his family are traveling to the U.S. from China.
But some advocates and one family—who all swiftly denounced the killings, allegedly perpetrated by a disturbed man with a lengthy criminal record—are urging protesters not to let the movement die down because of a senseless killing.
“There’s no pause button on grief, there’s no pause button on sorrow, there’s no pause button in healing,” Michael Skolnik, an organizer of New York-based protests and leader of the group GlobalGrind, told msnbc on Monday.
The mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy killed by police in Cleveland for holding what was later determined to be a toy “airsoft” gun, will publicly call for renewed protest on Tuesday afternoon at a press conference with her lawyer.
Another group, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, will announce Tuesday afternoon plans to host New Year’s Eve protests.
“When the ball drops, people are mindlessly celebrating a new year, we’re talking about what kinda year 2015 will be?” organizer Steve Yip told msnbc. He said the protest was a “work in progress” but they’re hoping to arrange a march from lower Manhattan to Times Square. “There is no justice and the calls for moratoriums are inappropriate because there is no justice,” he said, referring to de Blasio’s Monday request.
One group, Justice League NYC, organized a vigil on Monday night for both the fallen officers and the black men who had been killed in recent months by police. “We’re not anti-police, we’re anti-police brutality,” a member of the Justice League told demonstrators, according to The Daily Beast. “Every cop isn’t bad … Every black man isn’t a criminal.”
In a statement released to the media, the League said they “acknowledge and honor the grieving process of all families who have lost loved ones to senseless acts of violence,” but said they plan to “continue to seek all avenues towards justice so long as Officer Pantaleo is still on the NYPD payroll, “Broken Windows” policing is still part of the department’s policy, and NYPD continues to be plagued by systemic racism.”
Officer Daniel Pantaleo is the New York Police Officer who put Staten Island man Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold before he died; Pantaleo was recently acquitted by a grand jury of wrongdoing. Broken Windows refers to a widely-employed model of policing where officers target low-level crimes (like broken windows) in hopes of preventing bigger crimes (like robberies) but advocates say it unfairly targets and harasses poorer, minority communities and creates distrust.
Just a week prior to the tragic, execution-style killing of two New York police officers, thousands flooded the streets of Manhattan calling for an end to police brutality, as organizers urged a sustaining, peaceful movement against what they saw as racism and brutality.
In the wake of the bloodshed, many have pointed fingers; police and their allies have blamed protesters, civil rights leaders, and even the mayor for the death of the officers, while at least one New Yorker protested with a spray-painted message “NYPD KILLS” on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Still, others have hurried to try to help.
The New York Yankees promised to pay for the education of Ramos’ 13-year-old son through Steinbrenner’s Yankee Silver Shield Foundation, which has covered education costs of children of NYPD officers, firemen and Port Authority employees who have died on the job. The foundation also offered to pay for the education of Ramos’ eldest son, a sophomore at Bowdoin College in Maine, but the college already stepped in, offering full tuition.
Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, said the protests will continue to evolve just as they have in the months since demonstrations began in the wake of Brown’s Aug. 9 death.
“There’s still unfinished work,” he said.
Additional reporting by Amanda Sakuma.