Washington, DC—Last Saturday’s fatal shooting of two police officers in New York is shocking and tragic. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law extend their condolences to the families and colleagues of both officers, and we stand with the residents of New York City in mourning this senseless loss of life. In addition, we extend our sympathies to the Baltimore victim who was seriously injured by the same assailant.
These two killings and the life-threatening injury, like so many other unfortunate incidences of gun violence, provide a stark example of the need for sensible gun control measures, and the need to thoughtfully address untreated mental illness.
While some may suggest a causal link between these killings and the recent protests and activism focused on the serious issue of police violence against unarmed African Americans, we caution against escalating an already tense national state through rumor and conjecture. Whatever motivation lay in the apparently troubled mind of the now deceased shooter of these officers, there is no connection between the peaceful protests of thousands of people of all races all over the country and, indeed, around the world, and this hideous act of violence.
As stewards of civil and human rights, we continue to seek a productive and open dialogue about ways to improve relations between communities of color and law enforcement and remain unwavering in our demand for accountability when any innocent lives are taken. For now, we pause in respectful sympathy with the families of the two officers who lost their lives today in this senseless act of violence and extend our wishes for the speedy recovery of the surviving victim.