New York Shootings Raise Ramsey’s Concern

“Everyone needs to calm down,” says the commissioner. Meanwhile, the city saw both pro- and anti-police protests over the weekend.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says it’s time to cool heated rhetoric in the wake of two New York City cops being assassinated over the weekend.

The shootings came in the wake of weeks of protests — in Philadelphia and nationwide — after two grand juries failed to indict police in New York and Missouri for the killings of unarmed black men.

NBC10 reports:

With tensions rising due to the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers as well as the ongoing protests for Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has a clear message for everyone involved.

“Everyone needs to calm down,” Commissioner Ramsey said. “Things have gotten way out of hand. What we need is thoughtful discussion. Obviously there’s a need to change, a need to change by everyone.”

Ramsey told NBC10 he believes changes need to be made on both sides.

“Police certainly need to rethink strategies that are used, interactions with the community and things of that nature,” Ramsey said. “The community needs to take an inward look as well at some of the violence taking place. There are ways in which they can work with us to stop the violence that is occurring in the neighborhoods every single day.”

After the shootings, Ramsey received a call from President Obama. Ramsey is chairing the president’s task force on 21st-century policing, created in the wake of the initial protests.

In any event, Philadelphia remained a hotbed of protests over the weekend. Friday night saw a pro-police rally in the Northeast. The Inquirer says the demonstration drew 400 people:

Some waved signs that read “Blue Lives Matter,” a counter to the protest slogan of “Black Lives Matter” that followed outrage over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y. In both cases, grand juries declined to bring charges against the white officers involved.

“They’re protecting us. They’re risking their lives every day,” said Tom Conroy, 63, of Holmesburg, who held one of the “Blue Lives Matter” signs.

Sunday night featured a “Black Lives Matter” rally that ranged across much of Center City, 6ABC reports.

It was called the Blackout Philly march. Nearly a thousand people rallied Sunday evening demanding change in the wake up of the police related deaths of black men in this country.

This march was planned long before the tragic killings of two NYPD officers, which was a possible revenge shooting for the deaths of Ferguson teen Michael Brown and Eric Garner of Staten Island.

Demonstrators expressed outrage and denounced the ambush killings.

Charles Carrington of Southwest Philadelphia says, “Yes it did detract. We don’t condone that type of behavior. You understand what I’m saying? We’re trying to bring everybody together and have a peaceful rally, get our voices heard, get the message out that black lives do matter.”

More to come, almost certainly.