De Blasio planning HUGE STING OPERATION to catch illegal fireworks sellers after noisy protest at his NYC mansion
In what must be record timing for city government, de Blasio announced the new fireworks unit on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after a gathering of angry sleep-deprived New Yorkers gathered outside his Gracie Mansion residence to honk their horns, rev their engines, and loudly lecture him about civic responsibility and the importance of a good night’s sleep.
The task force will involve “undercover buys” and “sting operations,” and include 12 fire marshals, 10 police officers from the city’s Intelligence Bureau, and 20 members of the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, according to a Tuesday press release. It will target “suppliers, distributors and possessors” both in and out of the city.Also on rt.com Shocking VIDEO shows laughing man throwing huge firework at sleeping homeless person in Harlem (DISTURBING)
Acknowledging he was “taking seriously” the “quality of life problem and [the] noise problem,” de Blasio also warned that fireworks “can be dangerous.” Indeed, one video circulating on social media appears to show someone tossing a large lit firework onto a homeless man in Harlem; another shows someone lighting and throwing a firework into an open window, where it explodes indoors.
Nothing to see here folks, just another safe night in Bill de Blasio's NYC.Time to flee.... pic.twitter.com/4iLGAi6uCl— Joel Fischer (@JFNYC1) June 22, 2020
“We’re going to start a huge sting operation to go and get these illegal fireworks at the base,” the mayor promised reporters. “Meaning, everywhere they’re being sold around New York City, and even where they’re being sold in surrounding states that we know of flowing into New York.”
New Yorkers have been suffering under nightly fireworks bombardments for nearly a month, and many have taken to social media to demand answers on who’s bringing in what sounds like professional-grade explosives. Explanations range from psychological operations to destabilize minority communities, disgruntled police officers striving to make citizens demand their presence, cancelled stadium shows surreptitiously selling off their professional-grade explosives at cut-rate prices, or unscrupulous landlords plotting to offset their losses as the housing bubble pops by deploying the kind of gentrification-by-arson common in New York in the 1980s.
Fireworks are illegal across New York state, and while many neighborhoods have a tradition of setting off a few here and there - usually brought from neighboring states to celebrate the 4th of July or Memorial Day - the sheer number and intensity of this year’s pyrotechnics would seem to require a significant outlay of cash, something New Yorkers are critically short on after months of economic shutdowns and sky-high unemployment. Fireworks complaints have risen over 320 percent this month, with 8,967 complaints reported as of Tuesday, compared to a total of 28 in June 2019.
While de Blasio attempted to reassure New Yorkers that the new task force would concentrate on netting the “big fish” selling the most fireworks, rather than the “kid on the corner,” many residents were understandably on edge about the notion of more police trolling their neighborhoods for troublemakers. The NYPD only last week disbanded its plainclothes anti-crime unit, reassigning 600 cops to “neighborhood policing” and detective work in response to a nationwide backlash against police brutality.
I'm floored. This is a huge, huge, aggressive police response — and right now, when we have mass protests against police brutality, constant police use of force against protesters, and just a heightened atmosphere of fear generally— Caroline Haskins (@carolineha_) June 23, 2020
Others were outraged that de Blasio would take such quick action on the fireworks problem - presumably because city residents kept him up all night complaining - when his foot-dragging on other issues (like police accountability) has been legendary.
*Last night* a handful of "protestors" went to Gracie Mansion to demand "accountability" for the "fireworks issue" & *this morning* De Blasio formed a task force. Eric Garner was killed in July 2014 and it took until August 2019 for De Blasio to fire the officer who did it. https://t.co/PJEKAoLUIm— Roger (@iamtherog) June 23, 2020
Why not crack down on violent, racist members of the NYPD...instead of setting up a unit that will almost certainly abuse its powers to hassle people of color.— Art Martin (@gartmartin9) June 23, 2020
Many were cynical that anything would change, reasoning that the only people able to bring in and distribute professional-grade fireworks without getting arrested were the cops. Certainly, firefighters have been caught lighting off illegal fireworks in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and there are plenty of videos circulating showing police watching disinterestedly as locals set off ridiculous amounts of fireworks
Why do you think the cops are so amped up for this?Best way to hide it is to flurry around it and frame a bunch of innocent people.— Heather on the Hill (@jitterbug212) June 23, 2020
Honestly, when I hear illegal fireworks going off at night I wonder if it’s an explosion set off by out-of-control cops and protesters. These fireworks people are really bugging me out.— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) June 23, 2020
De Blasio also announced plans to conduct “brief, five-minute fireworks shows” for each of the five boroughs starting June 29th, in collaboration with Macy’s. The usual massive Independence Day fireworks celebration was cancelled due to the pandemic.
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