Christopher Flanigan, who taught math at Coney Island Prep, posted a photo of thousands of officers outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the funeral of Det. Jason Rivera, saying it was the ‘ideal conditions for reciprocity’
A Brooklyn teacher who appeared to call for violence against police officers in a photo posted to Instagram during the funeral of slain New York Police Detective Jason Rivera has been fired by the school.
Christopher Flanigan, who taught math at Coney Island Prep, claims his words were ‘misconstrued’ and that he was only trying to show the ‘vulnerability’ of the massive crowd of officers who turned out to mourn the rookie cop.
The charter school didn’t buy his excuse and dismissed the teacher.
‘We do not condone or promote violence of any sort,’ said Coney Island Prep CEO Leslie-Bernard Joseph in a statement released Sunday.
‘As of this afternoon, Mr. Flanigan is no longer employed at Coney Island Prep.’
‘The teachers and staff of Coney Island Prep are public servants; and like all public servants we hold ourselves to a much higher standard,’ Joseph continued.
Flanigan said that he received death threats and calls for his firing over his since-deleted post showing an overhead shot of thousands of officers outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Friday’s funeral for Rivera, 22, who was fatally shot with his partner while responding to a domestic violence call in Harlem on January 21.
Police officers carried the casket of slain NYPD Officer Jason Rivera into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on Friday
Officers on motorcycles lined up outside of the cathedral for the end of the funeral
Thousands of police officers formed a sea of blue as they watched the hearse carrying Rivera’s body go by
In May 2020, a video caught a police van ramming into a group of protesters in Brooklyn
Rivera, 22, was killed in the line of duty earlier this month when responding to a domestic call
Flanigan captioned the photo in his Instagram story: ‘5/30/20: NYPD SUV drives into a crowd of protestors. Ideal conditions for reciprocity,’ according to the New York Post.
‘I was really just trying to show the vulnerability of all of these police officers being in the same place at the same time which seems like a dangerous situation for anyone that would be that gathered together,’ Flanigan told the Post on Sunday.
Flanigan, who taught math at Coney Island Prep, a charter school in south Brooklyn, told the paper he took the post down Saturday morning after two friends, one of whom is a cop, ‘questioned what I meant by the post.’
‘I respect the NYPD. I do not condone violence,’ he explained. ‘A 22-year-old police officer murdered in the line of duty is reprehensible. I’m devastated by that. I’m devastated that his partner passed a week later. These are not things that sit well with me.’
Flanigan told the Post that his use of the word ‘reciprocity,’ was not meant to be a call for violence against cops.
‘Not in the sense for people to be driving or to be doing anything similar to what the police did,’ he said. ‘But they put themselves in a similar position by being … all there, all together and it’s similar to how the protesters were.
‘That – I was trying to use that word to almost be the inverse mirror of that. The police were now the people that were gathered together and the protestors were people that were gathered together. Both in dangerous situations but by no means implying or inciting or promoting that anyone should be a danger to anyone else.’
Flanigan’s post was in reference to an incident following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 in which an NYPD vehicle drove into a crowd of protestors demonstrating against police brutality in Brooklyn.
Then-Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the cops did not use the vehicle in a forceful manner, as former Mayor Bill de Blasio called footage of the incident ‘troubling’ but also blamed protestors for not moving out of the way.
No injuries were reported at the time.
Cops who saw Flanigan’s post, though, said they were upset that Flanigan was advocating for an unprovoked attack on officers just weeks after Rivera and his partner, Wilbert Mora, 27, were shot dead in Harlem while responding to a domestic call.
‘For a school to condone an act of terrorism is reprehensible,’ one Manhattan cop told the Post, noting: ‘I wouldn’t want him giving my own children instruction of any kind.’
And a Brooklyn officer said: ‘ You have a city worker wishing physical harm or worse to fellow city workers during a solemn service. It is the ultimate act of cowardice.’
Over the weekend, some on Twitter called on Coney Island Prep to fire the math teacher – who was once featured on NY1 for his musical tributes to first responders during the early days of the pandemic.
‘Coney Island Prep Math teacher Christopher Flanigan encouraged violence against NY cops,’ wrote Claire Balan. ‘Parents watch who’s influencing your kids! Do you support this @CIPrep? #FireFlanigan.’
Another Twitter user wrote directly to the school, saying: ‘I assume the announcement about he termination of Christopher Flanigan’s contract is forthcoming? Or do you want to destroy your school financially? Because it is either him or you at this point, but one of you is going down.’
Others shamed the school, with one person writing, ‘Is this the message you want your students to receive? Is the Is kind of person you let #teach?,’ while another man simply asked: ‘Has Coney Island Prep fired this scumbag yet?’
People on Twitter have called for Flanigan to be fired from his job as a teacher for his remarks
Flanigan’s post came as a New York City actress was let go from her theater company after ranting about street closures during the funeral.
Jacqueline Guzman was released by Face to Face Films theater company after ranting in a now-deleted TikTok about ‘shutting down most of Lower Manhattan’ for Rivera’s funeral on Friday.
‘We do not need to shut down most of Lower Manhattan because one cop died for probably doing his job incorrectly,’ she says in the video.
‘They kill people who are under 22 every single day for no good reason and we don’t shut down the city for them, so.’
She then pans the camera to show ambulances and cop cars blocking off the streets of New York.
‘This is f**king ridiculous, this is f**king ridiculous,’ Guzman rants.
‘What if someone having a heart attack in this area? No one can get to them because it’s all blocked off for one f**king cop.’
New York City actress Jacqueline Guzman received backlash for her ‘disrespectful’ comments regarding street closures during NYPD Officer Jason Rivera’s funeral on Friday
Her own company released a statement, calling Guzman’s video ‘insensitive’ and that it does not ‘condone’ her ‘comments made about fallen Officer Rivera.’
‘Face to Face Films has just been made aware of an insensitive video involving one of our members, Jacqueline Guzman,’ the company wrote in a statement on Facebook.
‘Face to Face Films does not support nor can condone these comes made about fallen Officer Rivera. As a result, she is no longer a member of our company.’
The Cuban American later deleted all of her social media accounts.