NYPD outlines plan to keep city safe in wake of Capitol siege

There haven't been any specific threats, but NYPD officials say security will be heightened as a precautionary measure


By Kyle Lawson
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — A citywide investigation after last week's violent siege of the U.S. Capitol building has included more than 100 NYPD detectives working alongside the FBI to thwart any future acts of domestic terrorism, explained Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, who addressed the media Thursday.

"[This doesn't] compare with any past threats," Miller said. "We have never had Americans fighting Americans on the streets of the nation's capital, or anything like that, probably since the Civil War."

There so far have been three local men arrested in investigations that stem from the riot in Washington, including a former Staten Islander with a criminal history who's accused in part of possessing a stockpile of ammunition while inciting violence on the social media site Parler on the day of the riot.

"I think there's a great deal of determination here that however long it takes, however many leads there are, that they're all going to be followed up," Miller said.

In what the deputy commissioner described as precautionary measures moving forward, security will be heightened at City Hall on the week of Jan. 17. That being said, there have not to this point been any specific terroristic threats to New York City.

Additionally, the city is sending 200 officers from precincts and units across the five boroughs to help in securing the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration from potential terroristic acts. The NYPD also is collaborating with state police amid threats of overthrowing state capitol buildings across the U.S.

TRACKING DOWN THREATS

Speaking on the effort to track down individuals or groups plotting violence against the public, Miller credited the work carried out every day by a new investigative unit formed in 2019 — R.E.M.E (Racially and Ethnically Motivated Extremism Squad).

"[The unit] spends its every waking day looking at these groups, these individuals who are domestic violent extremists," Miller said. "They have a great depth in this area now."

Since Jan. 6, Miller said he's heard from domestic terrorism experts with opposing views on the impact the Capitol siege has had on extremist groups.

There's some who theorize the incident emboldened those groups, as a "significant milestone" in breaching the government building, while others say the ongoing arrests and nationwide investigation have "hampered" future plots.

FIELDING TIPS ABOUT COPS

Miller said the Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating any information the FBI receives about NYPD officers who might be tied in some way to criminal acts carried out in Washington.

So far, authorities have cited one off-duty officer eyed by authorities.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in an interview Monday with NY1 that officials didn't know if the claims were true, but that anybody who had committed a crime "certainly would have a very short shelf life with the NYPD."

The FBI meanwhile has received about 55,000 tips since Jan. 6 about people who might have been involved in the insurrection, authorities said.

SOCIAL MEDIA FALL OUT

Since Jan. 6, the social media site Parler shut down after after several vendors ceased providing support.

Miller said that while shutting down certain online platforms could prevent a challenge in tracking violent plots, he believes the local and federal investigators working in New York City are up to the task.

"I think we know where to go and where to look," he said.

WHAT ABOUT BLM PROTESTS?

Some Republican lawmakers in Washington and political pundits have accused the city of showing more effort in arresting people tied to the Jan. 6 insurrection, than in the days and weeks surrounding criminal acts carried out during some Black Lives Matter protests.

Miller denounced those claims Thursday, saying the department made hundreds of arrests tied to those riots in the city.

"We made hundreds and hundreds of arrests over those days," Miller said. "If they'd like a list of those numbers we'd be happy to provide them. They may have missed that."

(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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