Just days after two police officers were gunned down in Brooklyn by a man who boasted about his plans on the Internet, the NYPD has made four arrests for threats against cops after combing through “hundreds of online postings,” the department said today.
“Cowardly threats of violence against the brave men and women of our police force will not be tolerated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “New York City stands with our police officers in this time of tragedy, as we do every day, and our city will not be intimidated by those spouting hateful, violent messages. We will protect the men and women who protect us.”
The threats against officers come at a time of increased tension in the city, after the tragic execution of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos as they sat in their squad car in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday.
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had posted online about his desire to kill police officers in revenge for the deaths of unarmed black men. Since the killing, the mayor has repeatedly urged citizens to call 911 and report any threats against police they might see online—though the New York Post reported today that a judge released without bail a man charged with posting such threats online.
“All threats against members of the NYPD are taken seriously and are investigated immediately to determine the credibility and origin of the information,” the department’s press office said in a statement. “So far, we have assessed hundreds of online postings and calls to 911 and 311 that have resulted in about 40 threat investigations, of which about half have been closed or referred to other agencies.”
The NYPD offered few details on the threats they have recently received, though several news outlets have reported on threats against NYPD precincts throughout the city.
“Although, we have made four arrests, officers are advised to remain vigilant at all times. Additionally, security measures will continue to be assessed and police resources will be deployed accordingly. However, we continue to ask that the public, upon becoming aware of any threats, immediately report the information to the police,” the department said.
The killing has widened a rift between the mayor and the city’s police unions, with Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch accusing the mayor of having blood on his hands for allowing anti-police protesters to take to the city’s streets in recent weeks. Mr. de Blasio has since called for both union heads and protesters to quiet down until after the officers’ funerals; police unions have quieted down but protesters last night ignored the mayor’s pleas.
A funeral is scheduled for Officer Ramos this Saturday, with Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Bratton and Vice President Joseph Biden planning to attend.