Two officers were murdered in Brooklyn on Saturday and although the story is still developing, so far it’s reported that Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramo were both shot in the head as they sat in their patrol car by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who also shot his ex-girlfriend 29-year-old Shaneka Nicole Thompson, before ultimately killing himself.
All around, it’s an unfortunate situation for the victims and their families.
Since the story broke, though, people have already attempted to point fingers at the wave of protests calling for justice in the cases of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and so many others – as if they’re what caused this murder. And as if saying Black Lives Matter equates to: go kill cops. The mayor of New York and President Obama have also made statements on the situation.
When police officers are murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. This heinous attack was an attack on our entire city.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) December 21, 2014
“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.” - President Obama
(Word, we only issue strong statements when cops are killed? Okay)
This is exactly the reason the statement Black Lives Matter is necessary, because we live in a country that puts race, badges, and authority above principles of justice and humanity.
No, I don’t condone the murder of these men. My heart goes out to their families, as it would for any human being who is senselessly murdered. And really, I don’t think I should even have to make that disclaimer.
These issues are mutually exclusive.
When Eric Garner was murdered by NYPD there was no outpouring of support, explanation, or apologies from law enforcement. In fact, it was the very opposite. Many cops went out their way to show solidarity, even with video footage of the Garner choking. If anything, his case was mocked and defended.
This instance of violence is isolated from the largely peaceful protests and die-ins taking place across the country – none of which have promoted killing officers (yet have been met with military-like resistance from police). And it’s crucial that we don’t allow this to distract from the intentions of the protests – which is to demand justice for the ongoing murders at the hands of the law, and to prevent this cycle from continuing. Because already I see folks trying to skew the conversation.
There has clearly been a tense climate set by unchecked violence towards Blacks in this country, but despite the fact, the outcry has been just that: a calling for justice. No one has demanded that we start randomly killing police officers.
Let’s also remember that there’s much to learn in this case – which in my opinion sounds very fishy, but that’s a whole other topic…
Regardless to whether Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who apparently already had a lengthy record, made an Instagram post (which coincidently can no longer be accessed) claiming to be vindicating the lives of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, he clearly moved out on his own accord.
We can not let this deflect from the efforts to call out injustice at the hands of police. It’s sad two men in law enforcement lost their lives. It’s just as sad that many men and women continued to be killed by officers without reason or consequence. Justice must come into play in all cases, and until that happens, declaring that “Black Lives Matter” and demanding that this sentiment is reflected in the justice system is still very much necessary, and I refuse to apologize for it.