by Kevin Chiu
On December 20th, 2014, in response to the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Isamaalyl Adbullah Brinsley, 28, went on a shooting rampage. He killed two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, as well as himself. Officers and members of the community alike gathered together at Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens and in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to express their grief for the deaths of these two officers on Saturday, January 3rd and Sunday, January 4th, respectively.
“I saw this outside of my house. There were so many people, and it was impossible to ignore,” says Henry Chan ’16.
As many as twenty-thousand policemen filled the streets under the gray, rainy sky, despite not having been acquainted with Liu and Ramos. Some had came from cities as far as Toronto, Chicago, and even Los Angeles to to pay their respects. The Empire State Building was also lit in blue with a rotating red light in honor that same Saturday.
Navy veteran Felder Charbonnet, told silive.com that he believes that “we’re all part of a similar brotherhood and when something like this happens, it brings us all together.”
Government officials also paid tribute to the fallen NYPD officers. Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke during the funeral in remembrance.
According to The Huffington Post, President Obama reacted with the loss by publicly announcing that he “unconditionally condemn[ed] today’s murder of two police officers in New York City.”
“Two brave men,” said the president, “won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification…I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal–prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”
Technites offered their condolences to the families of the fallen officers. When asked to share their opinions on the police and recent events that circulated around them, many at Tech claimed to have no hatred or to have indifference towards them, contrary to what the mass media has portrayed recently.
“I don’t hate the police. I don’t love them. Actually, I don’t think I can say much about them, because I never really had any experiences with them.” said Dennis Chin ’16.
All this effort put into the vigil has demonstrated that cops are also civilians, and their lives cannot be excluded.
“I don’t know them, but I’m sure they deserved all the attention.” said Eric Ruan ’18.
Although several teachers were asked to comment, many chose to refrain from speaking on such a dividing issue.
United States History teacher and United Federation of Teachers representative Elizabeth Johnson shares, “No, no, no. I definitely don’t hate the police…this is a very controversial topic, and this is all I can really say.”
Some Technites, however, have conflicting emotions with regard to the police department.
“The events of Michael Brown and Eric Garner kind of made my skin crawl, so I don’t know how to feel about this.” said Jessica He’16.
Similarly, Mohammed Bepary ‘17 states “[The police] never did anything to me, if that’s what you’re asking. I don’t really hate them, but I do have some negative connotations towards them because of what has happened over the past weeks.”
Both Ramos and Liu have since been promoted to the highest level of the police department: the rank of first-grade detectives. In addition, their families will receive an increase in paid benefits. A vast support for the families of the two has simultaneously demonstrated the nation’s respect for the police department and called for meaningful reform within the justice system.