NEW YORK – New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton addressed the thousands gathered in honor of the 49 people who lost their lives in an Orlando terrorist attack over the weekend – but his message wasn't well heard or received.
Alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and First Lady Chirlane McCray, Bratton addressed the New Yorkers gathered at the vigil for those who died when a gunman went on a shooting rampage at Pulse, a popular gay Orlando nightclub, early Sunday morning. Yet his presence at the vigil held outside the historic Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village was deemed an "insult" by several LGBT activists and allies.
"You kill people," many people gathered at Monday's vigil shouted at Bratton while others simply booed the police commissioner.
Crowd to NYC police commissioner: "you kill people" pic.twitter.com/uW21qP0dqg— Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) June 14, 2016
Other members of the crowd broke out into chants of "end police brutality," "go home," and "say their names." One man hung from a street sign above the crowd to shake his fist at Bratton.
One LGBT ally, who asked not to be named, told TheBlaze he was present during the 1969 Stonewall riots and protests and slammed the "political" nature of Monday's vigil.
"It's an insult to put Bill Bratton on stage at this gathering," the man said, adding that he would not have attended the vigil had he known de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) were going to give "political speeches."
"If I wanted to see white male privilege, I could have stayed at home. If I wanted to see white male privilege, I could attend a Passover dinner," the New Yorker, with dark sunglasses still on his face despite the evening sky, asserted. "To see it turned into a political rally is an insult to me. I revile these people. It's an emotional time, and I didn't expect to see a cheer rally for the governor, the mayor and the city council."
Another vigil attendee shared a similar feeling, telling TheBlaze she would not have "dealt with the massive crowd" had she known de Blasio or Bratton would be there. The attendee also declined to be named.
While Bratton's message wasn't easily heard over the roaring and frustrated crowd, it was one that ironically called for togetherness and compassion.
"What we need in the United States is not violence but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another," Bratton said.
Bratton overwhelmingly drew the most wrath from the frustrated crowd, but de Blasio didn't escape completely unscathed, either.
"We believe that love and understanding is the way forward for this earth. And we show it in New York City. That is why I say to Latino New Yorkers, 'We stand with you and we will protect you.' That is why I say to LGBT New Yorkers, 'We stand with you and we will protect you,'" de Blasio said as he was met with both applause and cries of "bulls***."
"End police brutality" pic.twitter.com/ZZZdILEheO— Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) June 14, 2016
People in crowd yell "bull shit" repeatedly when de Blasio says he stands with them— Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) June 14, 2016
Aside from New York politicians, a few celebrities made surprise appearances to address those at the gathering including musician Nick Jonas and actor Tituss Burgess.
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