New York's top terrorism official says there's evidence that members of anarchist groups from outside the city intentionally planned to incite violence at protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.
Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said there is a high level of confidence within the NYPD that these unnamed groups had organized scouts, medics, and supply routes of rocks, bottles and accelerants for breakaway groups to commit vandalism and violence. There are strong indicators they planned for violence in advance using at times encrypted communications, he said.
One out of every seven arrests, of 686 so far since May 28, has been people from out of state, according to Miller. He said those arrested came from Massachusettes, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia, Maryland, Texas and St. Paul, Minnesota.
On Saturday, Commissioner Shea had estimated at least 20 percent of protesters arrested Friday night were from out of town.
The fact remains that the majority of those arrested were locals. Some like Mayor de Blasio's daughter were arrested for "unlawful assembly," and others were arrested for acts of violence.
"Before the protests began, organizers of certain anarchists groups set out to raise bail money and people who would be responsible to be raising bail money, they set out to recruit medics and medical teams with gear to deploy in anticipation of violent interactions with police," Miller said.
He added, "They prepared to commit property damage and directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively and only in wealthier areas or at high-end stores run by corporate entities."
Without specifying who "they" are, Miller said the agitators "developed a complex network of bicycle scouts to move ahead of demonstrators in different directions of where police were and where police were not for purposes of being able to direct groups from the larger group to places where they could commit acts of vandalism including the torching of police vehicles and Molotov cocktails where they thought officers would not be."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday morning that the members of the anarchist movement plan together online and that "they have explicit rules, and we're going to make all this information available today and in the days ahead."
Among the out-of-area instigators were two sisters from upstate New York. They were detained after one threw a Molotov cocktail at a police van. The woman who threw the Molotov cocktail will face federal charges from prosecutors in Brooklyn, law enforcement source said.