After the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the progressive left marshaled tens of thousands of Americans to the streets to protest for “justice.” With chants of “Hand up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe,” these protests shined a light on the perceived epidemic of police brutality, especially against unarmed black men.
Lacking any data to back up the claims, the movement, led in large part by NBC News employee Al Sharpton, soon found itself having to use ever-increasingly inflammatory rhetoric to maintain the interest of participants. When that started to fade, people began leaving the streets and heading home.
The remaining elements were the truly committed – the ultra-left-wing fringe. Even a Sharpton-led “march” on Washington, D.C., couldn’t reconstitute the dwindling interest in what was, just weeks before, a mainstream phenomenon.
The remaining elements did not stop. They, in significantly smaller numbers, were still in the streets, marching.
As the mainstream elements disbursed, the core’s anger became less diluted. Less than a week ago, the remaining protesters were chanting, “What do we want?” “Dead Cops!” “When do we want it?” “NOW!”
On Saturday, their chants were answered by a man who, according to reports, was one of their own.
A friend of Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, the alleged murderer, told reporters he’d been part of the anti-police protests.
Brinsley announced to the world via his social media accounts that he was going to get his radical version of justice for the deaths of Brown and Garner. He wrote, “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.” He then hashtagged the names of Garner and Brown.
Then after the killings, he posted this before fatally shooting himself.
While no direct proof currently exists showing Brinsley was a follower of the radical protesters, the head of New York’s Policeman’s Benevolent Association was unambiguous in this belief. Patrick Colligan said, “The attack on these officers is nothing less then an act of domestic terrorism spurred on by so much recent hatred aimed at officers everywhere. Our society stands safer because of the sacrifices officers make everyday, but the hatred that has grown over the past few weeks in this country has gone unchecked by many elected leaders.”
The relationship between police and progressive political leaders, particularly the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, has been strained in recent weeks. The left-wing mayor has made several comments police have viewed as anti-cop, including calling an attack on officers by progressive protesters “alleged,” despite it being caught unambiguously on video.
Relations between the mayor and the NYPD have devolved to the point that the police union has gone on record urging its members to insist de Blasio not attend funerals of officers killed in the line of duty. This was before Saturday’s dual murders. The sentiments of the rank-and-file officers was on full display when they collectively turned their backs on the mayor as he walked through a crowd of officers on his way to a press conference about the shootings. (VIDEO: NYPD Officers Turn Backs To De Blasio At Press Conference For Murdered Cops)