Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


On December 20, 2014, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, 28, killed two on-duty New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, ostensibly as revenge for the death of Eric Garner and the shooting of Michael Brown. Brinsley then fled into the New York City Subway, where he committed suicide.

Let us not forget the two fallen policemen:


Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu 1a
Officers Rafael Ramos, 40, left, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were killed on Saturday. Credit New York Police Department

2014 killings of NYPD officers
December 20, 2014
2:47 p.m. (EST)
Attack type
3 (including the perpetrator)
2 (NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu)
Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley
Revenge for Eric Garner's and Michael Brown's deaths

On December 20, 2014, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, 28, killed two on-duty New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, ostensibly as revenge for the death of Eric Garner and the shooting of Michael Brown. Brinsley then fled into the New York City Subway, where he committed suicide.

Background and events

The shooting occurred just weeks after a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was involved in the death of Eric Garner on July 17, 2014. The grand jury's decision resulted in widespread protests in New York City and across the nation against police brutality and the lack of accountability for it. The protests also coincided with widespread protests in response to a grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9. Brinsley's motive to kill the NYPD officers was motivated by outrage over the two deaths.

Before Brinsley arrived in Brooklyn by bus, he shot and seriously wounded his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Nicole Thompson, in the Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, Maryland, on Saturday morning. The second shooting occurred at Myrtle Avenue and Tompkins Avenue, a busy intersection in Brooklyn near the Tompkins Houses. Brinsley approached the passenger window of an NYPD patrol car occupied by Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, of Brooklyn's 84th Precinct. He then fired a semiautomatic handgun four times through the open window, striking Ramos and Liu in the head and upper body, killing both officers instantly. Two Con Ed workers who witnessed the shooting notified police. After NYPD officers responding to the scene chased him onto the subway, he committed suicide with the handgun in the Myrtle–Willoughby Avenues (G train) subway station, according to police. Brinsley and the two police officers were taken to Woodhull Hospital, and all were pronounced dead on arrival.


Rafael Ramos

Rafael Ramos (December 9, 1974 – December 20, 2014), married with two sons and a longtime resident of Glendale, Queens, had joined the NYPD as a school safety agent, before being promoted to officer in January 2012. He was active in his church, Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, and had once studied at a seminary. He had just completed a training course to become a volunteer chaplain. He planned to eventually join the ministry when he retired from the police force.

The Silver Shield Foundation, founded by the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, announced it would pay for the education of Ramos' 13-year-old son. Bowdoin College said it would provide full financial aid to Ramos' elder son, who is a sophomore at the school, so he could complete his education.

A funeral service for Ramos, the largest police funeral in the city’s history, was held on December 27 in Glendale with over 100,000 people present, including many politicians such as Vice President Joe Biden; the service itself from start to finish was almost five hours long and was broadcast around the world, with many people coming from across the country to pay their respects to the slain officer. Afterward, Ramos' body was transported to St. John Cemetery in nearby Middle Village, where he was laid to rest. Hundreds of officers turned their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio as he delivered his eulogy.

Wenjian Liu

Wenjian Liu (simplified Chinese: 刘文健; traditional Chinese: 劉文健; pinyin: Liú Wénjiàn), (April 8, 1982 – December 20, 2014), was the only son of Chinese immigrants Wei Tang Liu and Xiu Yan Li. He and his family came to the United States from Taishan, Guangdong in China, when he was 12 years old. He was a seven-year veteran officer of the NYPD who had married Pei Xia Chen in October 2014. He had no children.

Following a wake on January 3 containing elements of Chinese and Buddhist funerals, a funeral service for Liu took place on January 4 at the Ralph Aievoli & Son Funeral Home in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. In protest of de Blasio's perceived lack of support for them, some attending police officers turned their backs on the video screen showing de Blasio's eulogy speech; however, de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton were also saluted at the ceremony. Afterward, Liu's body was transported to Cypress Hills Cemetery in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, and was laid to rest. After his burial, a post burial dinner, a Chinese tradition for honoring the deceased, and giving his spirit a good send-off to heaven, was held in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.


Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley (October 31, 1986 – December 20, 2014) had a long criminal record and was estranged from his family prior to the shooting. He was born in Brooklyn to a Muslim African-American family. He had an arrest record for weapons possession and robbery, which amounted to a total of 19 arrests in Georgia and Ohio. He was convicted of felony gun possession in Georgia, where he was living at the time of the shooting. Brinsley allegedly had ties to the Black Guerrilla Family, a prison gang that was reportedly planning revenge attacks on police officers according to police informants, and the Nuwaubian Nation, a black-supremacist cult originating in Georgia. An unnamed federal law enforcement source has been quoted as saying there were no apparent ties. Daniel McCall, who was appointed to represent Brinsley in Georgia, said Brinsley was not difficult to represent and that no psychiatric problems were noticed at that time.

On the day of the attack, Brinsley had tried to commit suicide with his gun before killing the police officers, but he was talked out of it by his girlfriend, whom he then shot. Brinsley also attempted suicide a year previously. After the shooting, Brinsley reportedly called Thompson's mother and other family members and claimed the shooting was an accident. Brinsley wrote on his Instagram account of his intentions to kill police as retribution for the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In the post, which he made later that day while on a bus to New York City, he wrote, "I'm putting Wings on Pigs Today ... They Take 1 of Ours ... Lets Take 2 of Theirs. [sic]" By then, the Baltimore County Police Department had been tracking Brinsley's movements from Baltimore to New York City, and sent a fax to the NYPD about his intentions just a minute before the killings occurred.


Government officials, current and former

NYPD officers and police union

Civil rights groups

The public





On December 22, de Blasio asked that anti-police protestors "suspend demonstrations." Earlier in the day, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the killings were a "direct spinoff of this issue [of the protests]". Some protesters issued blanket condemnations of the police as "racists and worse" according to The New York Times. While the investigations into Brinsley's motivation continues, Bratton has concluded that "the protests served as an inspiration for the disturbed man."

Six people were arrested for making terroristic threats against NYPD officers in the week following the shooting. After a police union directive in December 2014, the police have been dispatching two cars in response to every call, contributing to a lack of manpower, and as a result, a 94% drop in summonses for minor offenses and a 66% reduction in arrests.

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