At least seven people have been arrested for allegedly making threats to New York police officers in the tense aftermath of the “execution-style” shooting of two patrolmen.
With heavily-armed SWAT officers reportedly guarding police stations and with the city honouring the two officers, the New York Police Department said they had been assessing hundreds of online postings and calls to the 911 emergency number.
“All threats against members of the NYPD are taken seriously and are investigated immediately to determine the credibility and origin of the information,” said a statement issued by the department.
One of the arrests, which happened on Wednesday, involved a 26-year-old man who allegedly posted pictures of weapons on his Facebook page along with threats to kill police officers. That person, identified as Jose Maldoncado, has been charged with making terroristic threats. He told reporters he had been drunk at the time he posted the message.
Another of those arrested, Elvin Payamps, was detained after being overheard in a bank and talking on his mobile phone about a threat to kill officers. “I’m going to kill another cop. We should do it before Christmas. The cop should have been white that was killed. I always have a gun on me,” he allegedly said, according to a report in the New York Post.
The arrests came as detectives continue to probe the background of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the 28-year-old man accused of shooting dead the two officers as they sat in their patrol car last Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.
On Friday, a memorial service was held for Rafael Ramos, 40, one of the patrolmen who were killed. Mr Ramos's coffin was carried into the Christ Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn, draped with the NYPD's green, white and blue flag.
Thousands of police officers from departments around the country are expected to join Vice President Joe Biden and city and state officials for Mr Ramos's funeral service at the church on Saturday.
Officials are still making arrangements for a memorial and funeral service for the second slain officer, Wenjian Liu, 32, who was originally from China. Officials helped arrange for several of his relatives to travel to the US following his murder.
Following the shootings, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, under fire from officers who believe he has failed to support them sufficiently, urged members of the public to report any threats to the police they became aware of.
He had been accused of not backing officers amid protests over the death of 46-year-old Eric Garner and the decision not to prosecute the policeman who placed the unarmed black man in a lethal chokehold.
In a message posted on social media on Thursday, Mr de Blasio said: “Thank you to the NYPD officers who today arrested a man who threatened to kill cops, and to the good Samaritan who provided key information.”
Bloomberg News reported that six of those arrested were charged with making terrorist threats through social media or in direct phone calls to the police. Mr Payamps, who comes from the Queens neighbourhood of the city, was arrested on charges of having marijuana and illegal gun possession.Reuse content