Police departments in major cities refuse to say how they are preparing for potential protests surrounding election day
Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
- Police departments in major cities have not responded to requests about how they are preparing for potential protests and violence surrounding election day.
- Multiple cities have experienced extended periods of civil unrest including protests, riots, and extensive looting resulting in property damage and injury reports.
- Around 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard are gearing up for deployments in five major cities to handle possible election-related unrest.
Multiple police departments did not respond to how they are preparing for potential unrest in the days leading up to and following election day.
Police departments in Chicago, New York City; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Philadelphia and Phoenix didn’t respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment on how they are preparing to respond to possible protests and violence surrounding election day.
A spokesman for the Seattle Police Department said that they have preparations in place, though they could not get into the specifics of internal operations.
“Prior to an event of this nature, we don’t get into the specifics of operational planning and preparation,” Seattle Police Department Spokesman Randy Huserik told the DCNF.
“The Department recently launched the Community Response Group, which is also able to dynamically deploy to unplanned large-scale events and ensure SPD is able to quickly respond to 911 emergencies,” Huserik added.
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) October 26, 2020
The Seattle Police Department has limited time off requests around Nov. 3, so that “the department is able to adequately provide public safety services at any events, gatherings or demonstrations related to the election,” Huserik added.
“We would potentially conduct an after action report following the event, but it isn’t often that those are released outside of the department,” Huserik added. Though he said that the report could only be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that would take 6-12 months to process since the department is “currently handling 2,100+ requests.”
Dallas Police Department Sergeant Warren Mitchell said that the department is committed to keeping the community safe. “Therefore, we have plans to have adequate staff leading up to Election Day and the days following November 3,” Warren told the DCNF.
“In conjunction with our local, state, and federal partners, operational plans have been developed that address supporting election site security, maintaining the ability of individuals to access polling locations, and providing a safe environment for individuals desiring to exercise their First Amendment Right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech,” Mitchell told the DCNF.
“Additionally, the department is taking the steps necessary to maintain the continuity of Patrol operations, such as answering calls for police service and crime prevention,” Mitchell added.
The Texas National Guard plans to deploy around 1,000 troops in at least five cities to manage possible civil unrest surrounding election day, the San Antonio Express-News reported on Oct. 26. Guardsmen could be deployed to Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio as early as this weekend.
Widespread looting overwhelmed police officers in northern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as protests continued in west Philadelphia on Oct. 27, the Daily Caller reported. Several businesses including a Walmart, Kids Foot Locker, a Five Below, and a Jiffy Lube were destroyed by looters in northern Philadelphia.
Rioters in New York City threw rocks at officers, damaged businesses and drove through a police line, injuring at least one officer, the New York Post reported on Oct. 27. Though NYPD Chief Terence Monahan said the department does not expect protests in the weeks surrounding the election, NYPD officers will be stationed at every polling location in the city, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on Oct. 20.
The National Parks Service has received 10 permit requests for events in Washington, D.C. during the week of the election, one “prayer vigil” has been approved, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on Oct. 25. Some of the permit requests were made by pro and anti-Trump groups, though it is unclear whether the events would overlap because specific dates were not provided with requested locations.
Rioters threw rocks and shined bright lights at law enforcement officials in Portland, Oregon, before throwing an “incendiary device” at a building, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on Oct. 7.
Protesters and Rioters pulled down Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt statues in Portland, Oregon, the Oregonian reported on Oct. 11. Portland Police declared the demonstration a riot shortly after the incidents and arrested multiple individuals, some rioters targeted people filming their actions.
In Chicago, Illinois, rioters and looters vandalized property and destroyed storefronts causing many residents to consider moving from the city over safety concerns, the Chicago Tribune reported on Aug. 26. Looters targeted a Ronald McDonald House where sick children and their families slept, CBS Chicago reported on Aug. 11.
The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., reportedly spent $130,000 on “less-lethal” munitions, WUSA reported. The department refused to comment on the purchases, and would not discuss plans to respond to possible protests.