NYPD on Alert as Anti-Police Threats Increase in Wake of Police Shootings
The New York Police Department has ramped up security at several precincts and six people have been arrested for making threats against police officers in the days following the fatal shooting of two officers last weekend.
The NYPD has warned officers to act with increased vigilance while on- and off-duty and to maintain heightened awareness of their surroundings.
Police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed in Brooklyn while sitting in their patrol car on Saturday. The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had made anti-police statements on Instagram before the shooting.
This week, law enforcement officers were stationed outside the 79th police precinct station-house, the closest station-house to where the shooting occurred. The officers were wearing helmets and bulletproof vests while standing in front of the purple and black bunting hanging above the precinct doors in honor of the fallen officers. At night, floodlights were cast in the usually darkened precinct parking lot.
Nine blocks up the road, mountains of flower arrangements and bouquets marked the spot where Liu and Ramos were shot. Brinsley fled from the scene immediately after the shooting and then fatally shot himself on a nearby subway platform.
The makeshift memorial was busy through Christmas night and bus service has been rerouted around the block with FDNY vehicles overseeing the dozens of candles lit at the vigil.
Less than a week after the shooting, the NYPD said it was conducting about 40 threat investigations in response to hundreds of reports about online postings. In a Christmas Eve message to officers, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton advised police to “maintain heightened awareness”.
On Wednesday, 26-year-old Jose Maldonado was arrested in Brooklyn on charges of making a terroristic threat. He told police that he had made the comments because he was drunk, according to the New York Daily News.
NYPD has instituted street closures for the viewing for officer Ramos on Friday and his funeral on Saturday. The service is occurring at Christ Tabernacle Church, down the road from the shooting.
Mayor Bill de Blasio released a Christmas message from his family on Wednesday calling the upcoming holiday season “a time for renewal”.
“Recent events have brought great pain to our city, but the beauty and the strength of New York is that we don’t let moments like these divide us,” de Blasio said. “As we have done together as a city so many times before, we will take this moment as an opportunity not just to heal, but also to grow back stronger and more united than we’ve ever been.”