President Obama expressed outrage over the killing of two New York police officers Sunday, calling the police commissioners of New York and Philadelphia to lend support for law enforcement.
Obama called New York Police Commissioner William Bratton to give condolences for the two police officers shot and killed in an ambush in Brooklyn Saturday.
In the call, the president urged Americans to reject violence and turn to “prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen,” said White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz.
Later in the day, Obama called Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who co-chairs the president’s task force on policing and who has voiced concern about the danger that some of the more vitriolic anti-police protests pose to officers.
Ramsey said Sunday that he worries about the environment faced by police officers with “some of the people chanting ‘We want dead cops.’ You just don’t know who that impacts, and now you have two officers dead, leaving behind families.” His remarks were reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
On his call with Ramsey, Obama said he was outraged over the “senseless murders” of the two New York officers, and “reiterated his profound respect and gratitude for all law enforcement officers who serve and protect our communities,” Schultz said.
Last week, Obama signed an executive order creating the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which will study ways to improve police-community relations and report back by March 2. Ramsey will co-chair the task force with Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University criminology professor.
Obama called the police commissioners from his native Hawaii, where he is spending Christmas vacation with his family.