The NYPD is, effectively, a paramilitary group operating in one of the largest cities in the world.
From the NY Post:
The NYPD will launch a unit of 350 cops to handle both counterterrorism and protests — riding vehicles equipped with machine guns and riot gear — under a re-engineering plan to be rolled out over the coming months.
The Strategic Response Group, or SRG, will be devoted to “advanced disorder control and counterterrorism protection,” responding to the sort of demonstrations that erupted after the Eric Garner grand jury decision and also events like the recent Paris terror attacks.
“It will be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday.
“It will be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and the machine guns that are unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.”
The department will do away with the current system that pulls cops off regular assignments to provide a beefed-up presence at certain hot spots in “critical incident” vehicles.
When ordinary citizens show up to a protest and see this sort of response from the police, they are going to turn around and go home. The NYPD is silencing dissent. They don’t even need to fire a shot. The SRG has compared protesting with terrorism and no one wants to be labeled a terrorist.
The NYPD later attempted to clarify the role of the SRG.
“They are not going to be handling protests, demonstrations, [or do] crime work in precincts,” Chief of Department James O’Neill told reporters about the planned unit of critical response vehicles — dubbed CRVs — which will be part of the city’s counterterrorism effort.
O’Neill had to clarify the unit’s duties after some media reports indicated the heavily armed cops would be toting large automatic rifles and even machine guns at demonstrations, something that unnerved some activists.
If they aren’t going to be doing these things, then why is terrorism and protesting being placed under the same umbrella group? Despite the clarification, the initial statement clearly reveals that you have no rights if you’re going to protest. You oppose the “American way” of life, there will be consequences.