A DISTURBING TIME IN NEW YORK
By Vinette K. Pryce
The ambushed assassination of two police officers in Brooklyn indelibly imprints Dec. 20 as a red-letter date and perhaps for many that recall the explosive events of 1986 in Howard Beach to serve as a reminder that imminent danger persist.
//everybodysmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Ramos-Funeral.jpg” alt=”Ramos Funeral” width=”300″ height=”169″ class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-789″ />The point-blank range shooting of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Bedord-Stuyvesant recently stopped traffic, prompted helicopter surveillances, creating havoc and mostly caused consternation that two police officers were gunned in broad daylight while sitting in their vehicle.
Twenty-eight years ago on that same date, 23-year-old, Trinidadian, Michael Griffith was ambushed by racists who chased him into traffic along the Belt Parkway where he was hit by oncoming car.
Outraged New Yorkers reacted with disbelief that a group of white youths would arm themselves with bats, hound Griffith and his two friends – Guyanese native Cedric Sandifford and Timothy Grimes – because they did not want Blacks walking through their then-segregated Howard Beach, Brooklyn/Queens community.
After hearing about the recent murders, Jean Griffith-Sandifford, Michael’s mother expressed remorse for the families of the deceased cops.
“I am praying, praying, praying, that is all I can do,” Griffith said with profound sadness in her voice, “I am so very sorry that these two innocent men were killed in such a brutal way.”
“Christmas will not ever be the same for their families again,” she added.
Griffith stopped celebrating Christmas since her son died. Instead on the anniversary date of December 20 she and members of her family visit Evergreen Cemetery in Bushwick where both her son and husband are buried.
On this 28th-year anniversary Griffith-Sandifford was told that a 28-year-old gunman from Maryland named Ismaaiyl Brinsley caused the pre-holiday havoc. “I am also praying for his family too, they are hurting too.”
Brinsley’s mother allegedly told authorities that she was scared of her son because he was violent and had a troubled childhood. She said he may have suffered from mental problems.
Reportedly prior to the rampage Brinsley vowed in an Instagram online web post to put “wings on pigs” as retaliation for the slayings of Black men who died after officers killed them without redress from law enforcement.
“I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take one of ours, let’s take two of theirs,” Brinsley wrote on his social media account prior to the shootings.
Members of the Garner family denounced the random killing and distanced themselves from any retribution or retaliatory attack on innocent individuals.
“Do not use (Eric Garner’s) his name for violence,” Esaw Garner, his widow said. “My husband was not a violent man and we don’t want his name associated with anything violent.
She expressed remorse and said she was very sorry that the men died.
After shooting the Asian and Latino officers at Tompkins Houses, Brinsley allegedly ran into the subway and using a single bullet killed himself.
He was reportedly suicidal.
According to police reports he made attempts on his life one year ago when he tried to hang himself.
But since the tragic killings, Pat Lynch, union leader of the Police Benevolent Association has been waging a verbal assault against Mayor Bill de Blasio for the deaths.
“There is blood on many hands tonight — those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York police officers did every day. That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.”
He seemed to intimate that Rev. Al Sharpton may have attributed to the insanity Brinsley suffered when he assaulted the cops.
“We are outraged that police were killed in Brooklyn,” Sharpton said in a statement. “Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.”
About Lynch’s damning statement he said: “I have nothing to say. He (Lynch) would like me to say something but my listeners have expressed themselves.”
Callers to his Sunday morning radio show aired on WBLS expressed rage that anyone would gun down innocent cops. Most talked about being sorrowful and showed regret for the families victimized by the shootings.
“He is throwing gasoline on the flames he is reprehensible,” a retired cop stated about Lynch’s statement. “He needs reining in.”
“He is a member of the police department and can only be a union leader if he is a police officer. (Commissioner Bill)Bratton will have to act to remove him.”
Vinette Pryce is a columnist and radio personality.