New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has met with the families of the two officers shot to death in a squad car this weekend.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” the mayor said as he, his wife Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton visited with relatives of officer Rafael Ramos on the front porch of the family's Brooklyn home. They were inside the home for about 30 minutes, according to The New York Post.
De Blasio later met with the family of slain officer Wenjian Liu.
Relations had been growing strained between de Blasio and the NYPD, after the New York mayor quietly left a Mass at St. Patrick's on Sunday and disappeared, never showing up to pay his respect to the families of the police officers shot and killed in an ambush on Saturday.
John Rodriguez, who serves as president of the 75th Precinct Community Council, called out de Blasio for his conduct and said he should do more. "Come out here and show this family some respect — that’s what [de Blasio] should do," The New York Post reported
Neither de Blasio, his wife or Bratton spoke publicly after Monday's visit.
On Sunday, de Blasio prayed alongside his wife and Bratton, taking communion and receiving a blessing from Cardinal Timothy Dolan
, he left after the 10:15 a.m. service and was not seen later in the day, even as Bratton visited the scene of the attack in Brooklyn and as Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent an hour with the family of one officer, Rafael Ramos, at his home.
"An attack on a police officer is an attack on every law-abiding person in the city of New York, and that’s what this was," Cuomo said afterward, according to The Post.
The widow of the second officer declined a visit from the governor, saying she was too distraught, Cuomo's spokesman told The Post.
De Blasio has been heavily criticized for his conduct and comments
since a grand jury earlier this month failed to indict officers in the chokehold death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner.
He made a statement to the effect that he was concerned for the safety of his biracial son at the hands of the police.
Police, in reaction, circulated a "Don't Insult My Sacrifice" waiver on the website of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, banning de Blasio from attending their funerals
should they be killed in the line of duty.
"I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty,” the waiver states.
There is no word on whether the slain cops signed the waiver or if the mayor will be asked to stay away from their funerals.
Ramos' cousin, Richard Gonzalez, told The Post that de Blasio "could come if he wants."
"We’re not disrespectful. We’re not going to throw him out and say, 'Don’t be here,'" he said. "We want to bury our cousin and our son and grieve in peace."
On Saturday, police silently protested de Blasio by turning their backs to him at a press conference.
On Sunday, Patrick Lynch, the president of the city's largest police union, blamed de Blasio for the Brooklyn killings, reports The New York Times
The officers' blood, he said, "starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."
Those close to de Blasio said that it is essential to secure the trust of the police department, but it will be difficult, The Times reports.
"This is a nightmare of the highest magnitude for everyone," said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, and City Hall officials "need to dig down deep in their souls and understand that campaigning to be a leader is easier than being a leader."
Many of New York's elected officials are defending the mayor.
Like in New York, police departments in cities are warning their officers to be on high alert, The Post reports, and in the Washington, D.C., area, officers are saying they feel like marked targets.
In nearby Baltimore, Ismaaiyl Brinsley allegedly shot his former girlfriend before traveling to Brooklyn and killing the two officers before killing himself
"We are in uniform and in marked cars,” Delroy Burton, head of the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police, told The Post. “There is no way to defend against someone who wants to do us harm. There is no way to see it coming.”
In the hours before the officers were murdered, Brinsley announced on Instagram he planned to kill policemen in retribution for the deaths of Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown and Garner.
De Blasio called the fatal shootings "a despicable act," and President Barack Obama called Bratton on Sunday to express his condolences, but those words have not appeased critics.
The officers' deaths were assassinations that came after months of propaganda about how the police are the enemy of the black community, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani
said Sunday, and said that anti-police propaganda was to blame.
"And it's certainly true that we have been treated to about three to four months of propaganda about how the police are the enemy," Giuliani told Fox News. "[About how] the police are the problem. [About how] they are the major problem between the police and the black community."
He insisted he does not blame de Blasio directly for the murders, but for "for is allowing the protests to get out of control."
On Sunday, police said Brinsley, at 28, had a long criminal record and a history of mental illness, and likely used the same gun to kill the police officers that he'd used to shoot his girlfriend.
The mayor "probably needs an intermediary to go between himself and the unions, maybe a religious leader," said former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in an interview, The Washington Post
reports, following the execution-style deaths of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were killed while on duty near a Brooklyn housing project.
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