BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The head of the city's largest police union blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio and Eric Garner protesters saying they had "blood on their hands" after two police officers were gunned down as they sat in a police vehicle Saturday afternoon.
Just hours after NYPD officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were killed near Myrtle and Tompkins avenues, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch slammed the mayor and railed against "those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest."
"There's blood on many hands tonight," Lynch declared outside Woodhull Hospital in Bed-Stuy after the bodies of the slain officers were carried out in a solemn ceremony where they were saluted by dozens of officers. "That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor."
Liu and Ramos were shot by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, Saturday afternoon in what de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called "an assassination." Earlier Saturday morning, Brinsley shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend in Owings Mills, Maryland, before posting threats against police officers on Instagram and heading to Brooklyn.
Brinsley vowed to "put wings on pigs today" in a post and used hashtags referencing the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who were both killed by police.
Bratton said Brinsley approached the passenger side of the cruiser and shot both officers in the head. He said the officers may never have seen their shooter.
"This was a cold-blooded assassination like we haven't seen before," Lynch said outside the hospital.
He blamed protesters for the officers' deaths, slamming "those who tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day."
"We tried to warn, 'It must not go on. It can't be tolerated,'" Lynch shouted.
Another police union leader, Roy Richter of the Captains Endowment Association, issued a statement that did not mention the mayor or protesters, but alluded to a national anti-police sentiment that he said is responsible for the men's deaths.
"They were murdered because they wore blue, and that is the biggest danger in this type of nationwide movement that turns into a war on that thin blue line, which is the protection between a society that is civilized and one that has no rules," Richter said.
Just before de Blasio spoke to the media Saturday night at the hospital, WPIX11 recorded video of officers apparently turning their backs to the mayor as he entered the hospital.
Asked to confirm if the officers did so as a statement, Lynch nodded.
Just after 9:30 p.m., NYPD officers in and out of uniform lined up outside the hospital, standing at attention as the officers' bodies were carried out.
Lynch asked New Yorkers to pray for the officers' families, and "the family of every police officer on patrol today who's in danger."
"Starting in the next couple of hours and going for a number of days, New York City police officers through their sadness will straighten their shoulders, stiffen their backs, and mourn for these families," Lynch said. "We'll mourn for our city and we'll mourn for our brothers.
"And when these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable."