President Obama's family vacation has for the second time this year been marked by a tragedy involving law enforcement, but this time the victims were two officers with the New York Police Department.
In a statement released by the White House, the president denounced the fatal shootings of officers Liu Wenjin and Raphael Ramos, who were Asian and Hispanic respectively, by gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, an African-American who later turned his weapon on himself.
"I unconditionally condemn today's murder of two police officers in New York City. Two brave men won't be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification. The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day — and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day," Obama said. "Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen."
The ongoing protest movement that has emerged in response to the grand jury decisions to not indict the officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have angered officers, some of whom are expressing their frustration by wearing T-shirts that read "I Can Breathe." But many lawmakers, including Obama, have publically supported peaceful protests and urged officers to respect the demonstrators' right to do so.
According to former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, however, that sort of attitude contributed to the deaths of Wenjin and Ramos.
“We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” Giuliani said during a Sunday appearance on Fox News. “The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”
Some leaders are calling for a brief moratorium to honor the two officers, but tragedy will not likely permanently halt the movement.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)