Protests

NYPD Told No Unscheduled Days Off as Derek Chauvin Verdict Looms

A verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin could come as soon as next week

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The New York City Police Department has instructed its officers not to take unscheduled days off beginning Monday and until further notice.

Closing arguments in the trial of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, the white officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, are set to take place on Monday following three weeks of testimony.

A memo obtained by the New York Post that included the edict and was issued Friday is in preparation for possible protests following a verdict in the closely watched case. In a statement, the NYPD said the order was “necessary in order to satisfy personnel requirements for any post Derek Chauvin verdict protests.”

Last week, New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the department has been preparing for nearly a year for possible protests in response to a verdict in the Chauvin case, including training officers, reviewing tactics and performing tabletop exercises.

"We have been planning for this for some time. We are in constant contact with the Minneapolis police out there, just to gauge the progress of the trial," Shea said to 1010 WINS on Wednesday. "You have to be prepared for any and all eventuality. We think we are prepared."

Asked about the department's approach in light of last summer's protests in the city following the death of Floyd, Shea said the daily protests that have filled the city nearly every day since has served as continued training for his officers.

"We think we can always get better, whether it's tactics, whether it's utilization of community affairs. I think we all know that some protesters don't want to cooperate. The message is: we're here to facilitate protests. And I think we're in good shape heading into this week," Shea said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the department has learned "very important" lessons in how it handled protests in the past.

"We are going to use the approach that has been working, which is put a heavy emphasis on our community affairs officers and being respectful of protests. I think we’ve learned some very important lessons about the right way to do it and that’s what we’ll be looking to do," the mayor said.

The NYPD's handling of last year's prompted a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Tish James following what she called a pattern of excessive, brutal and unlawful force against peaceful protesters.

James sued the NYPD in January, seeking to install a federal monitor to oversee the department following allegedly widespread civil rights abuses last summer.

James' action reignited the debate over how the department handled the George Floyd protests that rocked the city last year. Late last year, the city's Department of Investigation released a bombshell report on deficiencies in the police response that called for wholesale oversight and procedural change.

In the complaint, James outlined the NYPD’s illegal and harmful conduct against New Yorkers during the recent racial justice protests and for years prior, "which has led to significant injuries and violated individuals’ basic right to peacefully protest," according to James' office.

The lawsuit specifically charges the NYPD, the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, and former NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan with failing to address the "longstanding pattern of abuse by not properly training, supervising, and disciplining officers to prevent misconduct, despite knowledge and public admission that it violated the rights of New Yorkers," according to James'.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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