NYPD to Permanently Patrol Protests with Machine Guns
by Carey Wedler
Jan 30, 2015
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Thursday that 350 heavily armed NYPD officers, called the “Strategic Response Group,” will soon be patrolling protests and the city at large. He said the new strain of hyper-armed police will be
…equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not. They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns — unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.
Bratton announced their purpose is specifically
…designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.
Lumping protesters in with terrorists, he said the permanent force will deal with “disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities.” It will allegedly assist on crime scenes and help with “crowd control and other large-scale events.”
It is not unusual for authorities to ramp up “security” efforts following attacks (such as the ax attack against officers in October), but the idea of machine-gun clad officers is disturbing, especially considering past NYPD abuses of protesters and other residents.
The federal government, which has attempted to feign concern with police brutality, is partially funding the militarized venture. The Department of Homeland Security is supplying resources, as is the city of New York. The Pentagon has previously provided machine guns, ammunition, and other military gear to New York police and other local cops around the country.