Review Category : National News

Eric Garner’s Daughter Offers Support to Families of Slain NYPD Officers

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Emerald Garner, whose father Eric died after police used a choke hold on him during an arrest, came to the New York City Police Memorial on Monday to express her condolences following the deaths of two NYPD officers who were gunned down over the weekend.

“I just had to come out and let their family know that we stand with them, and I’m going to send my prayers and condolences to all the families who are suffering through this tragedy,” she told ABC News. “I was never anti-police. Like I said before, I have family that’s in the NYPD that I’ve grown up around, family reunions and everything so my family, you know, we’re not anti-police.”

The FBI and the NYPD are separately investigating the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a law enforcement official briefed of the situation told ABC News earlier this month. A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo on any criminal charges stemming from Garner’s death on July 17.

The killing of the two NYPD officers on Saturday “was a mental health crisis,” Emerald Garner said. “It didn’t have anything to do with race or anything — it was a mental health crisis and he was dealing with [it] personally and didn’t have the proper way to express his anger.”

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NYC Mayor Asks Protesters to Pause Until After Cops’ Funerals

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for protesters to put their activities on hold until after the funerals of the two NYPD police officers who were shot to death in Brooklyn Saturday.

“I think that’s the right way to try to build towards a more unified and decent city,” the mayor said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Earlier in the day, de Blasio had urged people to set aside politics and protests to support and comfort the families of the two slain NYPD officers who are “suffering unspeakable pain.”

It’s time for those of different viewpoints to “put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside everything we will talk about in due time while two families try to piece their lives back together,” he said at a gathering of the Police Athletic League before Monday afternoon’s news conference.

The remarks were the mayor’s first public comments since the police union said he had blood on his hands over the Saturday shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. De Blasio avoided a direct confrontation over the incendiary rhetoric.

He said the Liu and Ramos families “experienced the worst possible moment a family could.”

He called the incident “an attack on democracy, an attack on our values, an attack on every single New Yorker.”

The mayor and New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also visited the families of the fallen officers earlier on Monday, three days after both men died in the attack in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The pair did not speak to reporters as they entered and exited Ramos’ home.

The Ramos family said they would welcome de Blasio at Ramos’ funeral in spite of an effort started by the largest police union last week — before the shootings — to have officers sign petitions to keep the mayor from their possible funerals.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had stopped by Liu’s home moments before de Blasio and Bratton.

Meanwhile, Ramos’ funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church in the Queens neighborhood of Glendale, after the viewing service there Friday evening.

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NYC Mayor Asks Protesters to Pause Until After Cops’ Funerals

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for protesters to put their activities on hold until after the funerals of the two NYPD police officers who were shot to death in Brooklyn Saturday.

“I think that’s the right way to try to build towards a more unified and decent city,” the mayor said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Earlier in the day, de Blasio had urged people to set aside politics and protests to support and comfort the families of the two slain NYPD officers who are “suffering unspeakable pain.”

It’s time for those of different viewpoints to “put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside everything we will talk about in due time while two families try to piece their lives back together,” he said at a gathering of the Police Athletic League before Monday afternoon’s news conference.

The remarks were the mayor’s first public comments since the police union said he had blood on his hands over the Saturday shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. De Blasio avoided a direct confrontation over the incendiary rhetoric.

He said the Liu and Ramos families “experienced the worst possible moment a family could.”

He called the incident “an attack on democracy, an attack on our values, an attack on every single New Yorker.”

The mayor and New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also visited the families of the fallen officers earlier on Monday, three days after both men died in the attack in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The pair did not speak to reporters as they entered and exited Ramos’ home.

The Ramos family said they would welcome de Blasio at Ramos’ funeral in spite of an effort started by the largest police union last week — before the shootings — to have officers sign petitions to keep the mayor from their possible funerals.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had stopped by Liu’s home moments before de Blasio and Bratton.

Meanwhile, Ramos’ funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church in the Queens neighborhood of Glendale, after the viewing service there Friday evening.

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NYC Mayor: No Politics Amid Cops’ Families’ ‘Unspeakable Pain’

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday urged people to set aside politics and protests to support and comfort the families of the two slain NYPD officers who are “suffering unspeakable pain.”

It’s time for those of different viewpoints to “put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside everything we will talk about in due time while two families try to piece their lives back together,” he said at a gathering of the Police Athletic League.

The remarks were the mayor’s first public comments since the police union said he had blood on his hands over the Saturday shooting deaths of Officers Wenlian Liu and Rafael Ramos. De Blasio avoided a direct confrontation over the incendiary rhetoric.

He said the Liu and Ramos families “experienced the worst possible moment a family could.”

He called the incident “an attack on democracy, an attack on our values, an attack on every single New Yorker.”

The mayor and New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also visited the families of the fallen officers on Monday, three days after both men died in an attack in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The pair did not speak to reporters as they entered and exited the home.

The Ramos family said they would welcome de Blasio at Ramos’ funeral in spite of an effort started by the largest police union last week — before the shootings — to have officers sign petitions to keep the mayor from their possible funerals.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had stopped by Liu’s home moments before de Blasio and Bratton.

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Milwaukee Police Officer Not Charged in Fatal Shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) — A former Milwaukee police officer will not face criminal charges in connection with the killing of unarmed man in April, the county prosecutor announced Monday, determining that the shooting was a justified use of deadly force in self-defense.

Dontre Hamilton, 31, was shot 14 times by Officer Christopher Manney, after the two got into a violent struggle in a downtown Milwaukee park.

“This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community,” concluded the report by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. “But, based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney’s use of force in this incident was justified self-defense and that defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime.”

The April 30 incident began with an employee of a Starbuck’s coffee kiosk calling police to complain about Hamilton sleeping in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee.

Two other Milwaukee officers had responded to the call and determined, after speaking with Hamilton, that he was not causing a disturbance. Manney later retrieved a voicemail referencing the complaints about Hamilton and went to the park to respond — apparently unaware that the other officers had already contacted him.

The prosecutor’s report cites more than a dozen witness accounts from bystanders who saw the majority of the incident, which apparently began while Manney was checking Hamilton for weapons, and then quickly escalated, though the accounts differ on which man was the aggressor.

Manney claimed in his statement to investigators that Hamilton had been the aggressor — lunging and punching at him as the officer was attempting to pat him down — and ultimately gaining control of the officer’s baton, according to the cops account in the report.

“[Hamilton] lunged at him and tried to strike him with a fist,” the report says in summarizing Manney’s statement. “Officer Manney blocked the punch and struck Hamilton with an open palm to the chin. Hamilton then grabbed Manney in the shoulder area, pulled him towards him and struck him [Manney] in the right head area. Manney felt he was losing control and decided to escalate to his intermediate weapon, a wooden baton.”

Manney told investigators Hamilton then struck him in the neck with the baton and that he fired his weapon because he feared Hamilton would continue to attack him and that he “would be dead” as a result, according to the prosecutor’s report.

The officer claimed the initial shots did not seem to have any effect on Hamilton, so he continued to fire “because he perceived Hamilton still to be a threat.”

In a statement following the prosecutor’s announcement, Hamilton’s family said they are “extremely disappointed” with the prosecutor’s decision.

The family is now calling on the Department of Justice to open a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting.

“This is a case which cries out for justice, criminal charges against Christopher Manney, and accountability to Dontre Hamilton’s family,” attorneys for the family said in the statement.

Manney was fired by the Milwaukee Police Chief in October, but not for use of excessive force. He was found to have violated department rules in the moments prior to the shooting. Manney had appealed his termination.

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NYPD Cadets Advised Not to Wear Uniforms in Public

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York City police officials are now recommending that academy trainees not wear their uniforms in public, or any other clothing associating them with the NYPD.

The cadets have been informed of this so-called soft recommendation in light of the shootings of two police officers Saturday, which police commissioner Bill Bratton described as “assassinations.”

Officials described the move as a common-sense precautionary step because they have also been assessing a number of copycat threats since the initial attack.

Former Det. Sgt. Joe Giacalone, who spent one of his 21 years on the force training cadets directly, said many of the police academy cadets normally wear their uniforms to and from work but they, unlike full-time officers, are unarmed.

“It doesn’t matter who is wearing the uniform. It’s the uniform itself [that] is the target,” Giacalone told ABC News. “The police department, because it’s under siege, has to worry about protecting their own lives first.”

It’s not just cadets in uniform who have to worry about being associated with the NYPD, Giacalone said, because NYPD T-shirts and hats are regularly worn by those not on the force.

Giacalone said he told his father, who he said regularly wears an NYPD baseball hat to support his son, to keep the hat in the closet for the time being.

“I don’t want anybody taking a potshot…and his only relationship is that he’s my father,” Giacalone said.

The dress-code warning is not the only precaution the NYPD is taking on Monday. Auxiliary officers, who are unarmed, are not being used until further notice, and every patrol has been assigned two officers.

The latter directive largely applies to foot patrols, now meaning that officers will go out in pairs when on those shifts.

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Memorial Service Held Sunday for Slain NYPD Officers

Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Community leaders and family members gathered in Brooklyn Sunday night for a memorial service to remember the two NYPD officers who were shot point-blank and killed in their patrol car Saturday afternoon while patrolling Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot point-blank and killed while sitting in their parked patrol car.

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said Officers Liu and Ramos were sitting in their vehicle shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side, took a “shooter’s stance” and opened fire.

Liu and Ramos may have not even seen the gunman before they were shot, Bratton said.

“Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons,” Bratton said. “They may never have actually seen their assailant, their murderer.”

Police said the suspect — identified by police as Ismaayil Brinsley, 28 — then ran to a nearby subway entrance, with cops in pursuit, the commissioner said.

Brinsley went down into the subway and ran onto the platform, where he shot himself in the head, killing himself, Bratton said.

Police believe Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier in the day, and then posted “anti-police postings” on her Instagram account, the police commissioner said.

Police in Baltimore alerted the NYPD about Brinsley after finding the post and seeing that his phone pinged from Brooklyn, but their message arrived about the same time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.

Authorities say Brinsley traveled to New York by Bolt Bus, a discounted fare coach.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Sunday that moments before Brinsley shot and killed the two officers, he told bystanders to “watch what I’m going to do.”

Liu, 32, had gotten married just two months ago. Ramos, who had just turned 40, was a police officer for two years, fulfilling what Bratton said was a lifelong dream of being a cop. Before joining the NYPD he had been a school safety officer.

Brinsley has 19 prior arrests in his criminal history in the states of Georgia and Ohio. He also had what family described as “undiagnosed mental problems.” His estranged mother said he had a troubled childhood, was violent, and she told police she “feared him.”

President Obama released a statement Saturday condemning the killing of the two officers. “Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification,” the president’s statement read.

“The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day — and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day. Tonight, 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,” the statement concluded.

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Slain Officer’s Family Calls for ‘Peaceful Coexistence’ Between Cops and Public

Lucy Ramos, the aunt of slain police officer Rafael Ramos speaks at a news conference, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) — Family and friends of one of the New York police officers who were shot dead in what officials call an “assassination” this weekend spoke out Sunday night for the first time since the attack, praising him and calling for calm.

Officer Rafael Ramos, who was fatally shot while sitting in his patrol car alongside his partner Officer Wenjian Liu, “will always be loved and missed by many,” his aunt Lucy Ramos said Sunday.

She, like other community leaders who appeared with her at a press conference, called New Yorkers and police to come together “so that we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful coexistence.”

Juan Rodriguez, who was a friend of Officer Ramos’ for 20 years and serves as the community council president for the 75th precinct, said he doesn’t “want the city of New York to think everyone is against the police department.”

Though he didn’t go as far as the leader of the city’s largest police union — who has been in an escalating standoff with Mayor Bill de Blasio and who Saturday said that the mayor has “blood on his hands” for the deaths of these officers — Rodriguez was critical of de Blasio and urged him to “please show your leadership.”

Tensions have been rising between police and de Blasio ever since he spoke at length after the Eric Garner grand jury decision about the ways that he taught his biracial son to approach police tentatively.

“What about if that was your son who got shot in the police car? What if it was your son who got shot in the head?” Rodriguez said at Sunday night’s press conference.

Rep. Nydia Velasquez, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and other community leaders also spoke at the press conference, which was held in front of Ramos’ home.

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Missing College Student Shane Montgomery’s Keys Found in Schuylkill River

Courtesy Montgomery Family(PHILADELPHIA) — Keys belonging to a missing college student in Pennsylvania were discovered in the Schuylkill River, his uncle said Sunday.

The family of Shane Montgomery, 21, confirmed to ABC station WPVI-TV that divers found the keys near the river bank — the first physical clue to emerge in Montgomery’s Nov. 27 disappearance.

“They discovered a set of keys in the water. They brought them to the surface and brought them to us. I identified them as Shane’s,” his uncle Kevin Verbrugghe told WPVI-TV.

The keys were recovered in the river — not in a nearby canal where earlier searches were concentrated, Verbrugghe said.

The keys were attached to an Eagles lanyard.

“It’s just a piece to the puzzle. The puzzle is definitely not done,” Verbrugghe told WPVI-TV.

Montgomery, a student at West Chester University, hasn’t been seen since leaving a bar in Philadelphia’s Manayunk section early Thanksgiving morning after a night out with friends. The reward in Montgomery’s disappearance is now $65,000.

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Suspect Accused of Fatally Shooting Florida Police Officer, Then Running Him Over

iStock/Thinkstock(TARPON SPRINGS, Fla.) — Residents of Tarpon Springs, Florida, dropped off bouquets of flowers at their local police station Sunday to memorialize an officer who was shot and killed earlier in the day.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says veteran Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek, a father of five, was shot around 2 a.m. while responding to a noise complaint about a man banging on doors at an apartment building complex.

According to investigators, when Kondek arrived and exited his vehicle, the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Marco Antonio Parilla, walked towards the officer and opened fire.

Sheriff Gualtieri said Officer Kondek was wearing a bullet-resistant vest but “the round went in high above the bullet-resistant vest in his neck area, hit his spine and that was it.”

Police say Parilla got behind the wheel of a car and ran over Kondek as he fled the scene. Officer Kondek, 45, died from his injuries at a local hospital.

Parilla, who has a lengthy criminal record, was caught after a brief police chase and charged with first-degree murder.

The Tarpon Springs Police Department said Kondek was a 17-year veteran of law enforcement who had previously served five years with the New York Police Department before moving to Florida.

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