2nd UPDATE, 3:52 PM: For the second night in a row, the Los Angeles Police Department has ramped up to citywide tactical alert over potential election unrest.
The nation’s second largest police force made the announcement online this afternoon:
Effective 3:30pm, the LAPD has declared a citywide tactical alert to ensure sufficient resources to address any incidents that may arise as a result of Election Day activities, but is not a result of any specific incident.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 4, 2020
As Joe Biden inches closer to an Electoral College victory, the move by the LAPD follows a declaration of “an unlawful assembly & issued a dispersal order last night due to protests in DTLA. A number of arrests were made by the cops around the Staples Center in the evening.
As is the case elsewhere in the nation, concerns of unrest has also seen major portions of the City of Angels boarding up business and others buildings. As has also been the case in other places in America, the true source of violent disturbance has proved to be right-wing militias.
1st UPDATE, Nov. 3 PM: It’s official! The Los Angeles Police Department is formally on a tactical alert as Election Day heads into its final hours of voting in the Southland.
“The LAPD has declared a citywide tactical alert to ensure sufficient resources to address any incidents that may arise as a result of Election Day activities, but is not a result of any specific incident,” the nation’s second largest police department announced late this afternoon.
“The Department is committed to ensuring that adequate resources are available to ensure all Angelenos are able to safely vote without interference,” the cop shop added. “The Department will continue to assess the needs to maintain a tactical alert based upon the needs and state of the City.”
Large portions of DTLA, Hollywood and the eastern part of the city have been boarded up in anticipation of people taking to the streets if Donald Trump is reelected. Among other signs, the declaration of the tactical alert had been anticipated as the LAPD earlier today tightened restrictions of what protesters could and could not bring to demonstrations – as Deadline reported.
PREVIOUSLY, 2:20 PM: Things thankfully have been quiet so far, but law enforcement across the country is preparing for a long and potentially riotous Election Night, especially in the nation’s two largest cities and in most battleground states.
Although voting has been heavy but placid at the polls so far, the LAPD and the NYPD aren’t taking any chances, whether poll-leading Joe Biden wins or Donald Trump pulls off a reelection upset. As swaths of the bi-coastal metropolis’ are boarded up, including the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s Walk of Fame once again damaged star, the men and women in blue are both on high alert in case things go south and supporters of either candidate take to the streets in non-peaceful ways.
“The LAPD is communicating with our local and state emergency partners to coordinate our response and plan for any protests or groups that might become violent,” the nearly 10,000-officer strong department said in a statement issued on October 27. “The department has modified deployment to ensure a sufficient number of officers will be available to work evenings and into the weekend,” the LAPD added.
While the LAPD did not have any current plans to update its position of last week, when contacted by Deadline today, the Michel Moore-run cop shop isn’t pulling punches either.
“In line with the Department’s core value, of Quality Through Continuous Improvement, officers are receiving ongoing training on crowd control and crowd management in preparation for any protest activities related to the election,” the LAPD said last week, and reiterated today. The department will be “maximum measures to shut down any eruption,” a law enforcement source told Deadline, with shuttered DTLA and Hollywood seen as the most likely sites of unrest.
This afternoon, with several hours of voting still to go in the City of Angels, the LAPD expanded its list of “prohibited items” at demonstrations to include laser pointers and laser devices:
Effective today, November 3rd, 55.07 LAMC has been amended to include laser pointers or laser-style devices to the list of prohibited items while attending or participating in any public demonstration, rally, protest, picket line or public assembly. A violation is a misdemeanor. pic.twitter.com/ZjBaDZhbxB
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 3, 2020
Over in neighboring Beverly Hills, the 130-officer equipped police force has gone into maximum deployment from October 31 to November 7. The ritzy town has been the battleground for pro-Trump and anti-Trump demonstrations and protests for weeks, some that have turned violent. With many businesses putting plywood over their windows, Rodeo Drive is closed to “vehicle and pedestrian traffic” today and tomorrow, according to Chief Dominick Rivetti.
As well as active duty BHPD officers putting in 12 hours on, 12 hours off shifts this week, the department has sub-contracted a S.W.A.T. team and 80 private security guards too. The city of Beverly Hills is as prepared as it can be,” Lt. Max Subin told Deadline today. “We are the best prepared in the country, the state and I would dare even say the nation,” he stated.
Around the nation, law enforcement is preparing if things take a turn for the worst. In no small part, that state of affairs comes after the violence that piggy backed on nationwide peaceful protests for racial justice and against police brutality earlier this year and in recent weeks. Protests that often saw vigilante forces take to the streets, sometimes fatally as in the multiple shootings by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August.
As a self-described “unscalable” wall has been put up around the White House and additional troops are deployed to DC, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, about 13 other states have called out the National Guard for Tuesday. In total, about 3,500 National Guardsmen have been put on active Election Day duty today in America, including in the summer protest hot spot of Portland. As another sign of this being a very different case of democracy in action than previously, that total is more than double the number of National Guardsmen than usual on Election Days past.
The FBI is “aware of tensions” around potential actions by militia groups in Michigan, Oregon, Virginia and Pennsylvania in the case of a disputed Trump loss, says a source at the Bureau. However, as the former Celebrity Apprentice host has openly advocated his supporters to “stand by,” the FBI is keeping pretty tight lipped otherwise about what direction those circumstances could or could not take.
In NYC, tight lipped is not how one would describe the police, at least when it comes to Election Day.
As Chief Terence Monahan outlined on October 20, the NYPD has officers “at the 1,200 polling locations across the five boroughs” today. “It is no secret that this election is more contentious than in years past,” Chief Monahan added. In fact, earlier today, the department jumped into action over a “dispute” in Brooklyn.
With the 36,000-officer strong NYPD at the ready, for better or worse, Chief Monahan just gave an update in the last hour in the “zero tolerance” Big Apple. Surrounded by key cop brass, he declared that “as we are more than halfway through this Election Day, currently there are no major incidents to report across the city and we do not expect any as the day goes on.”
“The NYPD, as always, will facilitate any possible peaceful protest,” the Chief proclaimed, in full knowledge of the criticism the force has faced in the past several months. However, with “thousands of additional cops at the ready, Monahan did issue a warning for when the sun goes down: “But my message to anyone who wants to cause violence and destruction is, don’t even try it. We know who you are and you will be arrested.”
Watch Chief Monahan and other members of the NYPD update the situation in the city here:
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 3, 2020
We’ll update if necessary as the day goes on.