Thousands of officers will patrol New York City for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration amid inflamed tensions between the city’s police and the Black community, Capital News reports.
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The police deployment will reportedly involve extra protection for officers in the aftermath of the recent murders of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism for the NYPD, said social media sites have reported planned protests at Times Square.
Capital News reports:
“This event is a major commitment by the department. We will be patrolling the city by air, by sea, on the ground and in the subway system,” said chief of department James O’Neill during a briefing at police headquarters on Tuesday.
In addition to Times Square, there will be events in Coney Island and Central Park, he said.
Police commissioner Bill Bratton (pictured left) met Tuesday with Mayor Bill de Blasio and the leaders of law enforcement unions in an effort to ease tensions. Officers began exhibiting hostile behavior toward the mayor after lone gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed Ramos and Liu two weeks ago as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. Police, including some who turned their backs to de Blasio as he eulogized Ramos, blamed the mayor for the shootings, accusing him of contributing to soaring anti-police rhetoric.
“In light of what happened two weeks ago on Saturday, of course, you know there’s a concern for every member of the New York City Police Department,” O’Neill said, when asked if the department was taking additional precautions for officers. “This is something that’s in real recent memory, it’s something that every cop in New York City is concerned about.”
O’Neill did not say what precautions would be taken, but said all officers would be partnered — a protocol that has been in place on New Year’s Eve for years, the report says. He said protesters would be allowed in Times Square as long as they are nonviolent.
“Our policing philosophy is going to remain consistent,” he said. “As I’ve stated since the end of November, beginning of December, people have an absolute right to protest still and as long as they do it peacefully and laws aren’t broken, that’s the way we’re going to police the event.”