NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is leveraging almost every resource possible to contain protest crowds and investigate those perpetrating violence.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner got an exclusive look inside the agency’s Joint Operations Center.
The NYPD’s Aviation Unit and cameras all over the city are the eyes and ears for officers interacting with protesters on the ground. All five boroughs are monitored 24/7 inside the NYPD’s Joint Operations Task Force.
“The Barclays Center is over your shoulder there … We have almost a thousand people standing there and we’re in Midtown Manhattan with another protest,” Deputy Chief Ed Mullane said.
Inside the NYPD’s Joint Operations Center, dozens of officers are watching the city from different vantage points and making calls to officers on the ground.
“If we need to move resources, light towers, additional cars, prisoner vans, we do that from here and we can liaison with outside agencies. Corrections helps us with prison transport. The TBTA, the Port Authority can close the Holland Tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel if necessary,” Mullane said. “We listen to the protests on the radio, we listen to the police commanders on the radio. We know which way the crowds go, how to move those resources from point A to point B naturally by phone.”
Sunday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said protests got violent because of a “small number of people.”
“It is well organized, even though many of the people associate with the anarchist movement, and we often think of that as not an example of organization and hierarchy,” he said.
By phone, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer asked NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller if there was a tie to Antifa.
“As far as Antifa goes, we’ve seen a number of anarchist groups involved in this and one of the challenges we have is that these are loosely put together groups that have become good at using encrypted communication,” Miller said.
He said one out of seven arrests were not from New York City.
The agency is also looking into whether people are being paid to be involved.
In the meantime, in an effort to prevent further escalation during protests, the NYPD is utilizing its motorized scooters and bicycle fleet, which Mullane says can get in front of a crowd quickly.