Local residents visit a memorial on December 21, 2014 near the site where two NYPD officers were shot on Saturday.
Tensions between some police supporters and anti-police brutality protesters have reached new heights following the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, on Saturday.
The situation has led to increased debate on social media around the issue of U.S. police and their interactions with the community, a discussion that grew into dueling hashtags on Twitter on Sunday, as some mourned and others marched in New York City.
Many of those focused on offering condolences to the families of the fallen officers, as well as those arguing against the ongoing marches, have adopted the #BlueLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter, a phrase that appears to repurpose the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag construction that gained popularity in recent weeks.
Others, who support the ongoing protest marches, began using the hashtag #SilentNight, as protest marches continued on Sunday night.
Despite calls from some, like Brooklyn borough president Eric L. Adams (see video below), that protesters momentarily pause marching in the immediate aftermath of the murder of the two police officers, marchers in New York took to the streets on Sunday.
"This is a painful day for all of us," said Adams. I'm asking all those to hold off on any form of protest until these officers are laid to rest in a peaceful manner."
Nevertheless, as of this writing, large groups of protesters have been seen marching in the streets of Harlem, a historically black neighborhood in Manhattan.
At the same time, candlelight vigils were held in Brooklyn, near the site where the officers were killed on Saturday and near the childhood home of officer Ramos.
BP Eric Adams calls for city-wide candlelight vigil at 6pm at site where officers were gunned down #PoliceLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/lYRydEWGoH— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) December 21, 2014
The candlelight vigil for the two NYPD officers who lost their lives yesterday. #bedstuy...http://t.co/gw5QOHzmct pic.twitter.com/xcdDmnszAd— Emma (@emmahalaburka) December 22, 2014
Similar candlelight vigils for the fallen officers were also held around the city.
Candlelight vigil in Times Square for the two officers killed yesterday. Sign reads, "Blue lives matter." pic.twitter.com/XBGpPyXIEQ— Justin Mattingly (@jmattingly306) December 22, 2014
Protest marchers in New York also engaged in a candlelight vigil, but many involved in the march referred to it as a candlelight vigil "for justice."
NYC community gather w/ @NYjusticeleague for #SilentNight candlelight vigil for justice.#ICantBreathe pic.twitter.com/UoFVYWotOi— Justice League NYC (@NYjusticeleague) December 21, 2014
Do remember to come out tonight for the Candle Light Vigil for Justice with the@NYjusticeleague and our partners. pic.twitter.com/hLcBO0iass— ForThePeople (@angelopinto720) December 21, 2014
In times of darkness choose to be around love. These people are our hope and our light.#silentmarch #SILENTNIGHT pic.twitter.com/AAOPeoMlP4— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 21, 2014
— ForThePeople (@angelopinto720) December 21, 2014
But while some onlookers in New York may have been confused as to the intent of the simultaneous candlelight vigils, the sentiments expressed online were far more clear.
Using the #BlueLivesMatter hashtag, a large number of commenters on Twitter continue to offer support for the police as well as voice their disagreement with the ongoing marches.
Honored to be at the vigil in Times Square, NYC for the two officers who lost their lives#BlueLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/yadl8FcTC8— Stephen Marino (@SteveMarino14) December 21, 2014
Maybe if people would act right when they didn't get what they wanted, the rest of the world would take them seriously. #BlueLivesMatter— Kaley (@kaleylawrimore) December 22, 2014
#BlueLivesMatter Respect the uniform. Respect the law. #MikeBrown, #EricGarnerwould be alive today if laws were not broken. #simpleasthat— Lau®a (@laura_loftin) December 22, 2014
I wonder if any NBA a players are going to wear tee shirts expressing outrage over the assignation of 2 cops in NYC #BlueLivesMatter— Knicks & Rangers (@lovethoseknicks) December 21, 2014
Nationally, as the news of the shooting death of NYPD officers broke on Saturday, a large anti-police brutality protest march occurred in Bloomington, Minnesota. It remains to be seen, in the wake of the NYPD shootings, if the rest of the national marches will continue as they have in previous weeks.
The passionate discourse on social media from both sides of the issue indicates that as 2014 winds down, those tensions, both social and political, are unlikely to subside anytime soon.
Tags: ERIC GARNER, FERGUSON, MISSOURI, NYPD, POLICE SHOOTINGS, PROTESTS, PROTESTS IN FERGUSON, U.S., US & World