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‘It’s wrong’: Shock, frustration surround shootings of NYPD officers

As the investigation into the two New York Police Department officers who were fatally shot over the weekend unfolds, shock and frustration prevail. The incident tops off months of nationwide demonstrations against police and a public fallout between New York City's mayor and the police union. NewsHour's William Brangham reports.

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  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

    Mourners gathered today at the scene of last night's killing of the two New York City police officers. And residents last night expressed shock and anger.

  • WOMAN:

    At the end of the day, two families is missing somebody for the holidays, and its wrong!

  • MAN:

    What are we? We living in Dodge City or something like that? It doesn't happen like this. Who does this?

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM  [narration]:

    Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot at point blank range, sitting in their patrol car Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.

  • NEW YORK CITY MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO:

    Today is a sad day…

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM [narration]:

    The suspect — 28 year old Ismaaiyl Brinsley — fled to a nearby subway station and shot himself fatally in the head. Earlier yesterday, Brinsley — who had a long criminal history — shot and wounded his girlfriend in this housing complex outside Baltimore before traveling to New York. He then posted a photo on Instagram of the gun he would later use to kill the officers, indicating the shooting would be revenge for the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown — two black men killed by white police officers this year. He wrote "They Take 1 of Ours… We Take 2 of Theirs. Shoot the police"

    The killing of Brown and Garner — and the decisions by grand juries not to indict the officers involved — led to nationwide demonstrations, and in New York — led to a public fallout between New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and the police union. After the Garner grand jury decision earlier this month, De Blasio said he'd been warning his mixed race son Dontae to be wary of the quote "dangers" he might face in interactions with police.

  • NEW YORK CITY MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO:

    Charlane and i have had to talk to dontae for years about the dangers he might face…

    That prompted New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch to say police had been "thrown under the bus" by the Mayor. And Lynch tried to get De Blasio barred from attending police funerals. Last night, following the killing of the two officers, Lynch said protestors and public officials had quote "blood on their hands"

  • PATRICK LYNCH:

    That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM [narration]:

    Last night, when Mayor De Blasio went to the hospital where the officers had been taken, police officers turned their back on him.

    Late this afternoon, the NYPD's Chief of Detectives, Robert Boyce, knocked down published reports that Brinsley may have had ties to a militant prison gang, but said he'd made anti-government statements on social media.

  • ROBERT BOYCE:

    There is one where he burns a flag and made some statements. There's others with talks of anger for the police. He specifically mentions Michael Brown and Eric Garner…. Right now we have no gang affiliation at all attributed to this man. He has no tattoos to suggest anything of it and he has no religious statements that we found on Instagram at all. None whatsoever.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM [narration]:

    Boyce also offered a glimpse of brinsley's upbringing and mental state.

  • ROBERT BOYCE:

    He had a very troubled childhood and was often violent. Mother expressed fear of him and she says she hasn't seen him in one month. Brisley attempted suicide in the past and attempted to hang himself a year ago.

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