On Saturday night, just minutes after ambulances had pulled away from Woodhull Medical Center with the bodies of slain NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch addressed the media: “There’s blood on many hands tonight,” he bellowed. “Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day — we tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.” Unfortunately, Lynch — who just last week was encouraging cops to ban de Blasio from their funerals — was not the only person insisting that someone other than 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley was responsible for the murders of Ramos and Liu.
Lynch’s ugly rhetoric was immediately echoed by another police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, which tweeted this on Saturday night:
In a longer statement, SBA head Ed Mullins said, “Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands. It is your failed policies and actions that enabled this tragedy to occur. I only hope and pray that more of these ambushes and executions do not happen again.”
Former New York governor George Pataki, who might try to run for president, also tweeted out a message shortly after the shooting:
By Sunday morning, several other erstwhile leaders were ready to weigh in as well. Michael Bloomberg’s police commissioner, Ray Kelly, told George Stephanopoulos that de Blasio encouraged violence by candidly trying to explain the perspective of anti-police-brutality protesters. “I think when the mayor made statements about that he had to train his son — who is biracial — to be careful when he’s dealing with the police, I think that set off this latest firestorm,” said Kelly. “And quite frankly, the mayor ran an anti-police campaign last year when he ran for mayor.”
“In this circumstance I believe, I personally feel, that Mayor de Blasio, [Al] Sharpton and others like them, they actually have blood on their hands. They encouraged this behavior. They encouraged protests. These so-called peaceful protests that, where people are standing out there saying ‘kill the cops,’ well, I hope they’re happy, because they got what they wanted.”
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was slightly more reasonable, saying that, “It goes too far to blame the mayor for the murder or to ask for the mayor’s resignation.” However, he was sure to say that de Blasio had not handled the protesters properly, thereby creating an environment that was conducive to cop-killing:
“We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” said Giuliani. “The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all lead to a conclusion. The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”
Republican senator Lindsey Graham took a similar approach on Face the Nation. “I blame the shooter and nobody else.” But!
“I think the mayor of New York has probably undercut his cops, and the attorney general is trying to walk a fine line. What happened in Missouri, I understand why the cop had to defend himself. When you see the video in New York — did that man really have to die? But the tone they’re setting around the rhetoric regarding the cops incites crazy people, but I blame the shooter.”
Meanwhile, a petition accusing de Blasio of “throwing [the police] under the bus” and demanding his resignation had gathered nearly 54,000 signatures by Sunday evening.