The NYPD says there are several organizations, including terrorist groups, that are aiming to use exploit recent protests in the city for their own means.
At the NYPD's Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau briefing on Saturday, officials said they have discovered several forces — both right and left wing — working to enflame protesters and turn the demonstrations violent, NBC New York reports.
The police reported seeing a "dramatic escalation in terms of rhetoric and propaganda from these extremist entities" online in deliberate efforts to stoke tension following George Floyd's death two weeks ago in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller says the department has found messaging from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (AQAP) and ISIS, as well as from street gangs, anarchists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
While these extremist groups all have different missions, at the moment they're all out to incite violence between protesters and police officers.
"What they're seeking is more disorder, more violence, more mayhem," Miller said.
The NYPD has reported an uptick in attacks on police since protests began. There have been incidents where cops have been shot at, stabbed or attacked with rocks or blunt objects.
Despite the anger behind the protests, Miller says demonstrators have been helpful to officers in multiple instances, pointing out suspicious people who may be threats.
He recalled one incident in Brooklyn where individuals in a car were circling a large peaceful protest, screaming 'f--k the police' and other violent statements. Protesters reported the car as suspicious and helped police track it down.
The NYPD has so far arrested 1,024 people in protest-related incidents and issues 1,164 summonses. That number does not include curfew violations.
Over 460 arrests have been tied to felonies.
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