At least seven New Yorkers have been charged with making threats against police officers since the Dec. 20 killing of two patrolmen shot in their squad car in Brooklyn, a police spokeswoman said.
Six were charged with making terroristic threats through social media or in direct phone calls to police, said Officer Sophia Mason, a police spokeswoman. The seventh, Elvin Payamps, 38, of Queens, was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession of marijuana and illegal gun possession after a witness said he overheard Payamps talking on his mobile phone about killing police, she said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio asked New Yorkers to report any threats against police after the execution-style killings of officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, exacerbated tension between police and minority communities. The tension heightened earlier this month when a grand jury decided not to charge an officer who put a chokehold on a Staten Island man who died during an arrest.
De Blasio, 53, also called for a halt to demonstrations at least until the families of the slain officers have an opportunity to bury them. That request went unheeded, as several hundred protesters marched on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on Dec. 23.
Police Wednesday arrested Tyrone Melville, 41, of Manhattan, accusing him of calling in a threat to the precinct where both slain officers were assigned. Jose Maldonado, 26, of Brooklyn, was charged with threatening police on Facebook.
On Dec. 23, Yasin Shearin, 16, of Staten Island, was charged with posting a threat on Facebook, and Roberto Labita, 46, of Staten Island, was charged with reporting a false threat. On Dec. 22, police charged Devon Coley, 18, of Brooklyn, with threatening police on Facebook, and Robert Bowman, 52, of Manhattan, with making a bogus 911 call regarding a threat against police.
Police officials didn't have names of lawyers for the accused and the district attorney's office was closed for the Christmas holiday.