Sharpton postpones planned Lowcountry appearance following NYPD shooting

Published: Dec. 21, 2014 at 8:42 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2014 at 9:15 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Rev. Al Sharpton postponed a scheduled appearance in the Lowcountry Sunday night following the shooting death of two New York City police officers.

Sharpton had planned to speak at a 100th anniversary celebration at Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston.

Sharpton was forced to postpone his visit "because of what transpired and the unfolding events in New York City," church official Trudy Grant said. Grant said Sharpton will reschedule his visit soon.

Sharpton issued a statement through his National Action Network Saturday in which he said he and the family of Eric Garner were "outraged" by the reports of two New York City police officers being gunned down in Brooklyn. He called using Garner's name or Michael Brown's names in connection with any violence or killing of police "reprehensible."

"We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown," Sharpton said in the statement. "We have been criticized at National Action Network for not allowing rhetoric or chanting of violence and would abruptly denounce it at all of our gatherings. The Garner family and I have always stressed that we do not believe that all police are bad, in fact we have stressed that most police are not bad."

The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were sitting in their patrol car Saturday when they were shot. The gunman, identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot through the passenger front window after approaching from behind, then escaped the scene, fled to a subway station up the street and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police say.

Bratton said Brinsley appeared to have made Instagram posts, which have since been removed, referencing cases of police officers using lethal force against unarmed men. The posts had threatening, anti-police sentiments and mentioned Garner and Brown, he said.

"Two of New York's finest were shot and killed with no warning and no provocation," New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said. "They were, quite simply, assassinated."

Garner died in July after NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold the department had banned, and Brown died in a shooting after a confrontation with former officer Darren Wilson. Grand juries decided not to charge either of the officers.

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