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NYPD investigating threats against officers; four people have been arrested

An NYPD patrol car in Manhattan.

An NYPD patrol car in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The NYPD has assessed hundreds of threats against officers and thoroughly investigated dozens, the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The scrutiny comes after two officers were targeted and fatally shot while sitting in their car in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn on Saturday.<

Police have been able to rule out, or pass on to other agencies, about half of the 40 online postings, calls to 911, and 311 tips they investigated thoroughly.

At least four people have been arrested for such threats, police said, and the department remains "vigilant."

Ismaaiyl Brinsley posted on social media about wanting to kill cops just prior to shooting officers Wen Jian Liu and Rafael Ramos inside their vehicle, parked near the corner of Tompkins and Myrtle avenues last Saturday

"All threats against members of the NYPD are taken seriously and are investigated immediately to determine the credibility and origin of the information," police said in a statement.

"Additionally, security measures will continue to be assessed and police resources will be deployed accordingly. However, we continue to ask that the public, upon becoming aware of any threats, immediately report the information to the police."

In one incident, 18-year-old Devon Coley was charged with making terroristic threats for allegedly posting a photo Facebook on Saturday night -- just hours after the officers were killed -- depicting a man pointing a gun inside a police vehicle with smoke emanating from the gun, according to the criminal complain. The image was directed at members of the 73rd Precinct in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn.

He later allegedly admitted to posting the image, according to the criminal complaint. Coley was released without bail at his Brooklyn Criminal Court arraignment, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office said.

"The conduct that is alleged doesn't even come close to the crime that was charged," said Coley's attorney who represented him at the arraignment, Daniel Ades. "If it's true it sounds like somebody being a knucklehead rather than a terrorist threat."

Others arrested include a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy who wrote on Facebook "lets kill the cops" next to a cartoon of a gun pointing at the head of an officer; a 52-year-old Manhattan man who called 911 to falsely say his cousin was going to Staten Island to kill police because of Eric Garner; and a 46-year-old Staten Island man who called 911 and falsely reported a threat he heard to kill officers.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the threats "cowardly" and said they won't be tolerated.

"New York City stands with our police officers in this time of tragedy, as we do every day, and our city will not be intimidated by those spouting hateful, violent messages," de Blasio said in a statement. "We will protect the men and women who protect us.”


(With Emily Ngo)


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