Activist groups in New York City have rejected a call by Mayor Bill de Blasio to hold off on any new demonstrations until after the funerals of two NYPD officers who were ambushed and murdered Saturday in Brooklyn.
The killings have aggravated tensions between police, City Hall, and protesters who have staged regular demonstrations since a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict an officer earlier this month in connection with the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner. Amateur video appeared to show the officer putting Garner in a chokehold while questioning him over the sale of untaxed cigarettes.
“We are in a very difficult moment. Our focus has to be on these families,” de Blasio said Monday at police headquarters. “I think it’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time.”
However, the Rev. Al Sharpton told Reuters late Monday that de Blasio’s request was too “ill-defined” to heed.
“Is a vigil a protest? Is a rally?” Sharpton asked.