After NYPD deaths, Newark pulls one-officer units off the streets, union says

By Brian Amaral | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on December 20, 2014

Police are seen on the scene at Tompkins and Myrtle avenues in Brooklyn where two New York City police officers were shot in New York, New York, USA, 20 December 2014. The 2 police officers died from their wounds and the shooter fled to a nearby subway station where he died reportedly from a sef-inflicted gunshot, according to media and police reports.

 

NEWARK — Owing to safety concerns, the Newark Police Department is pulling one-officer units off of the streets, according to the president of the police officer's union there.

"The Newark Fraternal Order of Police is primarily concerned with the safety of the officers in the street," James Stewart, the president of the union, said late Saturday. "In the climate we face today there is nothing more important. We are happy the Director agrees with our view and is putting the safety of the men and women in the street above all else."

The apparent move comes just hours after two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot and killed Saturday afternoon in a brazen ambush attack that the police commissioner there called an "assassination."

Eugene Venable, the police director in Newark, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Stewart said that the "alpha" units, or one-officer cars, were called back into their precincts tonight in a department-wide broadcast, and paired up with other officers.

Tensions and concerns are running high in police departments nationwide. And New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said authorities are investigating anti-police sentiments that the alleged killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, made on social media.

The Associated Press reported that Brinsley announced on social media that he "was planning to shoot two 'pigs' in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner."

The Policemen's Benevolent Association in New Jersey blamed "hatred" of police officers in recent weeks for the deaths of the two officers.

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