New York Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton on Thursday unveiled plans for a new “anti-terrorism strike force” that would designate 350 officers to respond to special emergencies—including public protests—with a new wave of machine guns, long rifles, advanced technology, and “extra protective gear.”
Bratton said the Strategic Response Group would handle “disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities” and is “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”
The news comes in the wake of sustained protests against police brutality after the deaths of Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Akai Gurley, and other black men and women at the hands of NYPD officers.
The Strategic Response Group will have one unit in Manhattan and two in Queens, although Bratton did not detail a timeline for the program’s possible rollout.
“They’ll be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” Bratton said. “They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns—unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT