Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who writes frequently on police-community relationships, has a new blog post about the slayings of two New York police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, as they sat in a patrol car by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a man with a lengthy record of crime and mental instability. The shooter left social media comments on recent highly publicized police killings of suspects. Griffen’s key point:
Brinsley’s murderous conduct was an act of injustice. Let no one mistake that fact (or as young people might say “don’t get it twisted”). Those of us who denounce and condemn police brutality and racial profiling also denounce and condemn what Brinsley did. It is as wrong to profile and brutalize people in law enforcement as it is wrong for people in law enforcement to profile and brutalize others. All lives matter equally.
It is also wrong for law enforcement leaders (including Patrick Lynch, president of the New York City police union) to attribute Brinsley’s vicious behavior to the legitimate calls for reform and the non-violent protests and acts of civil disobedience that have occurred in recent months. Officers Ramos and Liu were murdered. Their assassination was evil. The people who are protesting abusive and homicidal conduct by police officers know this painfully well. Grief and shock at the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu are no excuse for anyone to blame people who are protesting abusive and homicidal conduct by police.
The president’s comment on the police shooting stuck simply to their deaths.