In his first public remarks since announcing the deaths of two officers late Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday afternoon called for a moratorium on protests until after slain Officers Rafael Ramos and Wen Jian Liu are laid to rest.
"These families are now our family, and we will stand by them," he said at a midtown Manhattan luncheon of the Police Athletic League, a philanthropic group backed by the NYPD. "It's a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in due time."
He added, "Let's accompany these families on their difficult journey. Let's see them through the funerals."
Brooklyn elected leaders Borough President Eric Adams and Democratic City Councilman Jumaane Williams have also asked that street protests cease until after the funerals.
De Blasio on Monday asked New Yorkers to thank and console any NYPD officers they come across. He repeated his Saturday message that the fatal ambush attack on Liu, 32, and Ramos, 40, in Brooklyn was an "attack on all New Yorkers."
The mayor also reiterated that civilians have an obligation to protect the police "just as they protect us" and urged the public to alert authorities to any threats or plotting against the NYPD.
Earlier Monday, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton defended de Blasio against police union criticism in the wake of the killings, saying in a television interview Monday morning that the mayor has provided millions in excess funding to the police department.
Bratton said the actions of some police officers who turned their backs on de Blasio Saturday night at the hospital where the officers died were not "appropriate."
In the interview on NBC's "Today," Bratton was asked by co-host Matt Lauer if de Blasio has lost the trust and confidence of the force.
"I think he has lost it with some officers," Bratton said.
"I was at the hospital when that event occurred," he said of the action by officers, led by NYPD Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch. "I don't support that particular activity. I don't think it was appropriate, particularly in that setting, but it's reflective of the anger of some of them."
Bratton said some officers also are angered by a new pension system for about 10,000 officers, which "limits significantly their benefits."
Bratton said: "There's a lot of anger about that. . . . So there's a lot of moving currents that have created the latest tension and atmosphere."
Bratton said he didn't believe that de Blasio's comments after a Staten Island grand jury's decision in the Eric Garner case increased threats to police. After the grand jury on Dec. 11 did not indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the apparent chokehold death of Garner, de Blasio spoke about talking to his mixed-race son about dealing with police officers.
"I have spent a lot of time with this man," Bratton said of de Blasio. "I have received this year over $400 million outside of my normal budget to improve our training, to improve our facilities, to acquire technology. An irony -- we're going to equip every New York City police officer with a smartphone. In the event of receiving a notification of an individual such as this, that's now coming into the city as a threat to officers, our ability to get that word out to officers is limited oftentimes to radio transmissions, etc.; with the smartphone we can blast out the picture right away."
The commissioner was referencing communications about the whereabouts of cop shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who authorities said traveled from Baltimore to kill the officers.
Baltimore police first contacted the NYPD between 1:30 and 2 p.m. Saturday, and "we start putting things in motion," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Sunday. A fax was sent to the NYPD at 2:46 p.m., one minute before Brinsley shot the officers.
Asked whether police have definitively linked Brinsley's motives to anger over the police killings of unarmed black men -- Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri -- whose deaths sparked nationwide protests, including in New York City, Bratton said investigators are still examining Brinsley's past.
"It's quite apparent, quite obvious that the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spin off of the issue of these demonstrations," Bratton said.
He called Officer Ramos' son Jaden, 13, who wrote a touching Facebook message about his father following his death, a "wonderful young man, wonderful message that he sent out."
He said Liu's family is "totally devastated." He said Liu was from an "immigrant Chinese family, only son became a police officer, a position that paid status and prestige in that community."
Of Liu's family, he said: "They're still reeling."
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo met with the Liu family Monday morning in Brooklyn, as did Bratton, de Blasio and the city's first lady, Chirlane McCray.
The police commissioner, mayor and first lady also visited Ramos' family Monday morning at their Brooklyn home and expressed condolences, the mayor's spokeswoman said. It was the second time the mayor has spoken with the family. He also met with them Saturday night at the hospital.
On "Today," Bratton said he didn't think it was necessary for de Blasio to apologize to the police force, as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggested Sunday. Bratton worked as the NYPD commissioner in an earlier stint under Giuliani.
"I don't know that an apology is necessary. One of the things, the concern at the moment is, this issue is really starting to go down partisan lines -- Republicans, Democrats."
Bratton continued: "You had Governor [George] Pataki yesterday, former Mayor Giuliani going after the president, Pataki going after the mayor, and it's starting to shape up along partisan lines, which is unfortunate. This is something that should be bringing us all together, not take us apart."
Bratton, a 44-year police veteran, said he hasn't seen this level of tension between police and the public since the 1970s.
"Who would have ever thought deja vu all over again?" said Bratton.
But he added that the NYPD would push ahead.
"We're in a change moment," said Bratton. "The idea is to take out of this crisis, find opportunity to move it forward. I think that can happen, that's why I came back into the department a year ago. And we will seize on this tragedy. We'll seize on all of these issues, and we'll move forward."
With Emily Ngo and Yancey Roy