The NYPD has been preparing for nearly a year for possible protests in the Big Apple after the verdict comes down in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minnesota — training officers, reviewing tactics and performing tabletop exercises, police officials said Thursday.
“We’ve certainly been preparing,” Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters at an unrelated press conference at NYPD headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
“We certainly have a tough week or two up ahead,” he said. “A lot is going to obviously hinge on the outcome in Minneapolis.”
He said the city’s police force of about 35,000 cops began training for possible protests in May or June of last year.
“But I think, you know, when we like everyone else, like the whole country, whether you’re in law enforcement or not, is kind of watching with bated breath to what comes out of that trial. I certainly hope justice is [served]. But we have to be prepared for anything in the law enforcement world.”
He said cops were looking at their tactics, personnel deployment and which units to activate.
“Community Affairs, can we use them more?” he asked. “Can we plan with protest planners in advance more? We look at how we use SRG (Strategic Response Group).”
The NYPD took heat after the George Floyd protests last summer led to violent clashes between cops and protesters. SRG cops specifically were criticized for being overly aggressive.
Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said police are doing their best to prepare for anything.
“All the executives are ready to go and put things in place,” Harrison said. “We’ve done tabletop operations, just getting everybody prepared for any direction that it may go.”