By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON, D.C., United States of America – Following the murders of two New York City police officers last week, New York as well as the rest of the nation have erupted in both anti-police and pro-police protests. There has also been a drastic rise in threats against police officers, resulting in at least six arrests. The New York City police department has received more than 40 threats since the death of officers Ramos and Liu.
On Wednesday, Tyrone Melville, a 41-year-old Manhattan native, called the switchboard of Brooklyn’s 84th Precinct, requesting to speak to Ramos, one of the slain officers, asking if the bullets had been removed from the dead officer’s head so he “could kill more cops,” according to Sergeant Carlos Nieves. Melville has since been charged with making terroristic threats and aggravated harassment. Another incident occurred through Facebook where, Jose Maldonado, 26, posted pictures of weapons and made threatening statements regarding the killing of police officers.While the United States has a strong guarantee of free speech, state laws generally make it a crime to communicate a specific threat against a police officer or anyone else.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted late Tuesday night that a threat was communicated to the organization by a confidential informant regarding a Baltimore street gang called the Black Guerilla Family who planned to storm New York City precincts for a shootout with police. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the various threats stating that the city “will protect the men and women who protect us,” and that security measures “will be assessed and police resources will be deployed accordingly.”
Other political figures are speaking out against the threats, including former New York governor George Pataki. Pataki has blamed the outspoken Al Sharpton for using rhetoric that has created incitement and fostered an anti-police environment. Additionally, former New York City police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, said that Sharpton and others had “blood on their hands.” However, Sharpton has presented himself as a peacemaker, and has publicly condemned the killings, while still defending the rights of the protestors to decry perceived racist police tactics.
For more information, please see the following:
CBS NEWS – At Least 4 Arrested For Threatening Police After NYPD Officers Killed – 24 Dec. 2014.
CNN – NYC Mayor Meets With Families Of Slain Police Officers – 22 Dec. 2014.
REUTERS- Two More NY Men Arrested For Threatening Police After Officers Killed – 25 Dec. 2014.
WASHINGTON POST- Sharpton Faces Criticism After NYC Officers’ Deaths – 23 Dec. 2014.