‘An orchestrated attack’: NYPD commissioner says looters are hoarding debris, cement-filled bottles to throw at cops

NYPD Police Commissioner, Dermot Shea
NYPD Police Commissioner, Dermot Shea 

Looters have hoarded bricks to throw at unsuspecting cops, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday.
Shea said that the would-be weapons were picked up by protesters on the way to Manhattan, where they were thrown at cops trying to keep the peace in the George Floyd demonstrations. He shared a video on Twitter showing a cache of blue plastic bins filled with debris that had been left on a streetcorner.
But a local elected official questioned Shea’s narrative on Wednesday, saying the debris Shea tweeted about was next to a construction site and not linked to looting.
“Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident,” Shea said during a Wednesday morning news conference with Mayor de Blasio.
“There were two locations, one was in Brooklyn and one was in Queens. The prestaged bricks are being placed and then transported to quote unquote peaceful protests — which are peaceful protests — but then used by that criminal group within to sow fear."
Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), went down to one of the sites, on Avenue X and E. Fourth St. in Gravesend, which is part of his district, and said Shea did not include the full story of what happened.
“You can logically infer that there’s a construction site nearby, and there’s some construction debris nearby," he said. “I thought (Shea) really had a responsibility to really state the entire story and facts here, and the fact is that these containers, from what I observed, it appears to be construction debris.”
“I think that he needed to mention that as opposed to implying that there was some sort of organized looting or riots when, in fact, I was out in my district last night until very late and I saw no evidence of looting on Avenue X," he added.
“So I was very disturbed by the commissioner’s tweet. It did not state the full story of what exactly happened.”
Shea said that the NYPD has seen an uptick in burglaries at construction sites in Manhattan over the last week where one of the few items taken were bricks, which he believe were used by looters.
“A burglary at a construction site is not all that uncommon, but during a riot it was interesting what was taken — bricks,” he said.
He said some protesters were hurling cement-filled water bottles at officers during heated protests.
“Our car doors look like they were hit by a Louisville slugger swung by Mark McGwire,” Shea said. “But they were hit by water bottles with cement inside.”
During a separate press conference Wednesday, NYPD Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo said that more than 200 police officers have been injured in clashes with protesters and looters over the last several days.
A lieutenant who was saved by his helmet when a protester cracked him in the back of the head with a brick in Greenwich Village was a personal friend from when they were sergeants together in the Bronx, he said.
During the first nights of protests, Molotov cocktails were thrown at police vehicles as well as buildings. At least three people were arrested for the arson and are facing federal charges.
“If anyone is questioning what is happening, your head is either in the sand or you’re not paying attention," Shea said. "There is an orchestrated attack, specifically on members of law enforcement across the country, and we are seeing it unfortunately alive and well in New York City.”

The department believes that the protesters looking to harm cops are from outside the city but they haven’t been identified as belonging to a specific group, Pichardo said.

But the opportunistic looters raiding department stores and high-end boutiques in Manhattan are home grown criminals, Shea said.

“They tend to be from New York City, a lot of them are coming from Brooklyn and the Bronx,” he said. “These are people taking advantage.”

In once incident looters used a U-Haul truck to load stolen merchandise, Shea said. Looters are also using cars “to transport stolen property, to scout locations out, [and] to transport people to commit these crimes,” he said.

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