The New York City Police Department is beefing up security around City Hall, as well as sending 200 NYPD officers to D.C. ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th. The move comes in the wake of the deadly riot at the Capitol building last week, and amid continued warnings from the FBI that more violence could be in store at statehouses and government buildings all across the country.
“You’ll see additional police resources around City Hall between the 17th and the 20th, not because we have specific intelligence, or any information that there will be activity there,” said Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller. “But out of an abundance of caution, because I think during this time it is prudent to protect the government installations and sensitive locations.”
Miller added, “At this time there are no specific credible threats to New York City.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy are also sending members of the states’ national guard to D.C., and state police forces in both states have also said they are increasing security in Albany and Trenton, though neither department would comment on specific threats.
The NYPD has said it’s investigating at least one employee who may have participated in last week’s violent overthrow of the U.S. capital, though Deputy Commissioner Miller wouldn’t say if more officers were under investigation or if the employees’ participation had been confirmed, only adding that the matter was being handled by Internal Affairs.
Around 100 NYPD detectives on the city’s Joint Terrorism Task Force are working with FBI to locate people in New York who participated in last week’s attack, Miller said. So far that’s led to the arrests of MTA worker Will Pepe and fur-pelt rioter Aaron Mostofsky, as well as that of Eduard Florea, an aspiring Proud Boy from Middle Village, Queens, who federal prosecutors allege was plotting a violent attack on “Target rich” New York City and stockpiling guns and ammunition, though he didn’t travel to D.C. last week.
“The movement has been strengthened and energized by the idea that they were able to launch a full-scale assault on the nation’s capital,” Miller said, citing the Civil War as the last time Americans fought Americans in the streets. “Nothing compares with any past threats.”
Miller’s announcement came on the same day the New York State Attorney General sued the NYPD and New York City for what she alleges are unconstitutional and excessive policing practices against protesters during marches following the police killing of George Floyd in May. Advocates have called out the disparate police treatment of the mostly white mob that stormed the capital, compared to how Black Lives Matter demonstrators have been met with more show-of-force and violent confrontations in recent months, and questioned the utility of sending the NYPD, who many see as sympathetic to President Trump.
“We saw that with the NYPD treatment of the Proud Boys in New York City compared to protesters who were marching in defense of Black lives,” said Joo-Hyun Kang, director of Communities United for Police Reform, who called police officers heading to D.C. a publicity stunt. “It's about an entire system... There is a history and a pattern of police departments, including the NYPD, functioning to protect white supremacy.”