Over the summer New York City police officers killed a black man named Eric Garner. They wanted to arrest him because he was selling cigarettes illegally in a public area, but he did not want to be arrested and tried to avoid being handcuffed. The police then violently forced him to the ground where he died. As he was dying he kept saying: "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" A New York City newspaper seems to have bought the rights to the video and they have removed the video of how the police killed Garner from youtube. I did find another copy here:
After a government office decided not to arrest the cop who killed Garner, people began to protest. During one protest, some people attacked and hurt NY police officers. At this point Mayor de Blasio did not seem to acknowledge that an attack had occurred. He called the attack an 'alleged' attack (an apparent attack, or an attack that hasn't been proved yet). This angered the police department a great deal.
Then, a mentally ill man decided to kill two New York City police officers as a way to get revenge for the death of Garner. Some police then began to blame de Blasio for encouraging violence against police by not speaking out against the protests or the violence against NY police officers.
At the funeral for one of the police officers who was killed, police turned their backs to a screen on which de Blasio was being shown while speaking in the church. Previously, a group of cops had turned their backs to him in a public area.
Personally, I think this is unprofessional behavior on the part of the NY police department. The people of New York City voted for de Blasio and the police work for him. They have no right to act this way toward a mayor. If they do not like de Blasio, they can vote against him in the next election. They need to act with class, professionalism and civility in this democratic system. Sometimes being a professional means working for someone you do not completely like or even respect, but deliberately showing that contempt (lack of respect) publicly is crossing the line. Most people would be fired if they did this to their bosses.
I believe the Chief of Police, Bill Bratton, should stop this childish behavior on the part of officers in his department.
Here is an article about this situation:
Vocabulary to help you understand the article:
a funeral - a ceremony for a person who has died. By the way, many foreign students have a hard time with 'to die' and 'to be dead'. Just remember that 'dead' is an adjective. He is dead. 'to die' is a verb. He died. He is dead; he died last night at 8pm.
an assassination - a planed killing of a public official
amid - here it means 'during'
heightened tensions - tension means that things are not completely calm but they are not openly violent either, so heightened tensions mean that emotions are becoming more heated or intense
spontaneous - at that moment, without thinking about it ahead of time
a public relations officer - someone who provides information to the newspapers and TV stations
a block from the church - one city block is the measure between streets, so it is one block from 119th to 120th street
dump de Blasio - get rid of, remove, force de Blasio out of office; to dump someone is to get rid of him/her
condolences - feelings of sorrow and compassion
unconscionable - too extreme, too horrible
sole - only
controversy - to create controversy is to do something that upsets many people and/or causes people to argue
demonstrations - protests, when many people publicly show they are upset by something
to indict - to arrest or take to trial (it is pronounced in DITE). If a person is indicted for a crime, he must go to trial in a court. The cop who killed Garner was not indicted.
a chokehold - the cop grabbed Garner around his neck so that Garner had a hard time breathing. This is called a choke hold - you can choke a person this way (stop the person from breathing).
a slight - an insult, words that hurt others
a petition - a document that many people can sign to show that they agree or disagree with something