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How big US cities are preparing for protests after Roe v. Wade is overturned

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has sent shockwaves through the country and police departments in major cities nationwide are preparing for heated protests by monitoring extremist groups, beefing up staff and stepping up patrols at sensitive locations.

The pro-abortion radical group “Jane’s Revenge,” which has already claimed responsibility for arson attacks and vandalism since the leak of the draft Roe v. Wade overturn opinion, published a letter last week declaring “open season” on pro-life pregnancy crisis centers. 

“We were unsurprised to see thirty days come and thirty days pass with no sign of consilience or even bare-minimum self-reflection from you,” the letter dated June 14 reads, Fox News reported.

“History may not repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes, and we’ve already seen such stanzas where medical autonomy is stripped away, humanity is increasingly criminalized, and merely surviving becomes largely untenable.”

The letter described how “easy and fun it is to attack” and vowed to take “increasingly drastic measures against oppressive infrastructures.”

Get the Post’s latest updates following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In the Big Apple, the NYPD is enhancing patrols across the city, including at “abortion alternative clinics,” to thwart attacks from “extremists and malicious actors,” according to a memo sent by the NYPD’s intelligence bureau Wednesday that outlined their plan should the ruling be overturned.

“NYPD Intelligence Bureau personnel have observed threat actors espousing a range of violent ideologies — including single-issue extremism, anti-government/anti-fascist extremism, and racially/ethnically motivated violent extremism,” the memo states.

“[They are] leverag[ing] social media posts and virtual communication forums to encourage violent and unlawful activity in response to the leaked draft and upcoming ruling.”

Intelligence officers said pro-abortion extremist organizations are expected to “target abortion alternative clinics and facilities across the US” and may view Big Apple institutions as “ideologically justifiable targets.”

The NYPD is expected to enhance security in the city.
Kevin C. Downs

“Numerous acts of property destruction across the US necessitates heightened situational awareness for members of the service on protective deployments at related entities in New York City,” the memo states.

The exact locations where officers are expected to enhance patrols wasn’t disclosed but a spokesperson for the NYPD said “there will likely be locations that require special attention.”

“We are in constant contact with our Intelligence Bureau and our federal partners and we are monitoring the threat stream for any indicators,” the spokesperson said.

Showing Pro Abortion Protesters at Foley Square in Manhattan, NY.
The NYPD’s intelligence bureau has vowed to keep an eye on extremists during demonstrations.
Brigette Stelzer

In Los Angeles, Capt. Charles Norris, who leads the LA County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Operations Bureau, told The Post his Sheriff’s Response Team is at the ready.

“We are prepared to respond if necessary. We obviously respect people’s right to peacefully protest, but if it turns into a situation where it’s no longer peaceful, then yes, we would deploy our Sheriff’s Response Team,” Norris said.

That team includes four platoons of about 100 deputies each who are fully trained in civil disobedience and mass arrest procedures, Norris explained.

“So if it turns into a worst case scenario we already have a plan in place and we are ready to activate them,” he added.

Police officers stare at a protester holding a sign at them during a pro-abortion protest in Los Angeles, California on June 9, 2022.
Police officers stare at a protester holding a sign at them during a pro-abortion protest in Los Angeles, California on June 9, 2022.
RINGO CHIU/AFP via Getty Images

Officer Tony Im, a spokesperson for the LAPD, declined to say how many officers they plan to mobilize because it’s “tactical information” but said their job is to “keep the peace.”

“We want people to be able to demonstrate and voice their opinions in a peaceful manner. We are more than prepared,” Im said.

Sergeant Kevin Allen, the spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau, also said it would be “inappropriate to discuss tactical planning publicly” but they have “contingency plans in place” should protests get out of control.

“The City of Portland has hundreds of protests, demonstrations, and gatherings every year, and the vast majority have no police involvement or response,” Allen said.

A sign is seen placed on the sidewalk as demonstrators gather during a protest, after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this year, in Portland, Oregon U.S., May 3, 2022.
Sergeant Kevin Allen claims Portland police is always prepared for rowdy protests following Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020.
@gravemorgan / Twitter via REUTERS

“We have a long history of free speech gatherings and the Portland Police Bureau supports and encourages our community members to exercise their constitutional rights.”

In San Francisco, a spokesperson for the city’s police department urged demonstrators angered over the decision to remain peaceful.

“We ask that everyone exercising their First Amendment rights be considerate, respectful and mindful of the safety of others,” spokesperson Allison Maxie told The Post.

Should emergencies arise, Maxie said the police department is staffed and ready to handle calls for service citywide.

“The SFPD reminds everyone that if you see something, don’t assume someone else has called 9-1-1, please contact us,” she said.

In Dallas, police spokesperson Melinda Gutierrez said officers are ready to arrest demonstrators if “any type of criminal offense” is committed against “any person or property.” She said demonstrators can also expect to be taken into custody if they attempt to shut down roadways or “illegally impede traffic.”

“The Dallas Police Department will not interfere with a lawful and peaceful assembly of any individuals or groups expressing their first amendment rights. We will be monitoring events, and those who participate will see our patrols as they always do at large events,” Gutierrez said.

Several thousand pro-choice protesters marched down San Francisco's Market St. following the leak of the Supreme Court decision on May 14, 2022.
Several thousand pro-choice protesters marched down San Francisco’s Market St. following the leak of the Supreme Court decision on May 14, 2022.
AP Photo/Noah Berger

“Our main priority remains the safety of the people who live, work, and visit the city of Dallas.”

Police departments in Houston, Orlando, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale noted they have additional resources at the ready should it become necessary.

Additional reporting by MaryAnn Martinez and Selim Algar

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