On January 2, The New York Times (NYT) suggested the execution of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Ramos Rafael was not shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s fault, but the result of his difficult upbringing, his trouble with girls, and his 20 prior arrests.
Those 20 prior arrests ultimately just kept him from finding employment, which in turn just made his circumstances more difficult.
Mr. Brinsley’s short life and violent end is probably less political and more accidental than initially portrayed… He was no ardent anti-police activist, as some of his friends were. He was nursing no grudge against the police in Brooklyn. He was no stone-cold criminal; his 20 arrests were for mostly minor crimes, even though they prevented him again and again from getting a job.
The NYT tells us that Brinsley’s parents split up when he was “about 9” and that his mother “struggled to raise him” and “couldn’t handle him” thereafter. They tell us that Brinsley was “sexually assaulted” at age 14, that he had to spend time in a “group home for troubled boys,” and that he bounced from relative’s house to relative’s house.
“He had a daughter when he was 21, with a woman who wanted to be a model.” Around that same time, he was posting Myspace photos “of himself holding wads of cash, with a pistol tucked into his jeans.”
By early 2010, Brinsley had two arrests “for threatening women” and was only a year away from being arrested for using a stolen gun to shoot at a Chevy Malibu. He was incarcerated for almost seven months then went to Brooklyn, where he wrote: “My God comes first…..And then my Gun…….”
The NYT quotes one of Brinsley’s friends suggesting that what happened on December 20—the NYPD executions—were probably the result of Brinsley realizing he’d made a mistake by shooting his girlfriend earlier in the day. The friend believes Brinsley shot Shaneka Thompson and “then he lost it.”
In short, there are numerous causes behind the executions, Brinsely himself excluded.
By the way, the NYT makes sure to point out that Brinsley’s Islamic faith had nothing to do with it either, because “his version of Islam seemed more jumbled than jihadi.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.