State, city, and federal law enforcement agencies have been meeting to discuss how to deal with expected widespread protests following the anticipated arrest of former President Donald Trump.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) is considering stationing hundreds of riot cops fearing that Trump’s arrest may cause a confrontation between pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters. Several MAGA supporters have already descended on Trump Tower in Manhattan, and some are forming a moat around his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Trump is expected to face criminal charges for the $130,000 payments his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to porn star Stormy Daniels towards the end of his 2016 campaign.
The NYPD is closely monitoring social media and is working with federal authorities and other police departments to assess the size of any protests.
The force may deploy its ‘Strategic Response Group,’ comprising 700 members trained in ‘disaster control.’ If necessary, they said, they could escalate the situation by deploying a Level 4 alert, which would put eight cops and one sergeant on standby at every precinct across New York City.
Authorities fear that both pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters will convene outside of the Manhattan Criminal Court during Trump’s arraignment, leading to potential violence.
The NYPD and FBI are also coordinating a contingency plan to deal with an increase in threats to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his staff if some of Trump’s more extremist supporters were to target them.
And Secret Service agents in charge of Trump’s detail in South Florida, as well as those in New York, are said to be coordinating how they will get Trump into the District Attorney’s office through the crowds of protesters and the media.
If Trump were to be indicted, authorities would set a date and time for his surrender, at which point he would be brought directly to an arraignment before a judge, where he would likely be released on his own recognizance.
However, sources say the Secret Service will ‘take the lead’ over what they will and will not allow as part of the arrest, including the decision to handcuff the former president or not.
Under normal protocol, a defendant would be taken to a New York City courthouse and placed in a processing room, briefly put in a jail cell, booked, fingerprinted, photographed for a mugshot, and handcuffed.
However, Trump is in a highly unique position as a former US president, meaning he is protected at all times by the Secret Service.
As the first former US president to face criminal prosecution if charged, Trump’s arrest has already prompted some of his supporters to gather outside Trump Tower and his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Manhattan District Attorney Bragg has released a memo reassuring his office staff of their safety and claiming that law enforcement is on alert investigating any threats.