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Law enforcement across the country prepares for potential election day violence

Law enforcement officials are saying they have learned from the unrest that swept the nation following the death of George Floyd.

November 3, 2020 7:45am

Updated: November 3, 2020 11:35am

Police departments across the country are preparing for the significant threat of Election Day violence in their cities. Across the nation, law enforcement groups are signaling their preparedness for the possible threat of violence and looting on Nov. 3. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office says it will enforce a "zero tolerance" policy this week, as businesses all over L.A. shut down in preparation for post-election unrest.

Over the weekend, luxury stores along Rodeo Drive were boarded up. In downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, special response teams are on standby. 

The New York Police Department has likewise issued a warning following this summer's mass riots and demonstrations that wreaked harm and havoc across the city.

"Our intel has gotten a lot better," said NYPD Department Chief Terence Monahan on Monday. "Our responses to getting cops out to the scene has gotten a lot better. We've identified those who are willing to cause damage and destruction, and we will be on them. We know who they are." 

Monahan specified that officers will be in place on Tuesday protecting the citizenry's right to vote and engage in peaceful protests. He said that officers are prepared to intervene only when organizers begin looting or become violent. 

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced Monday that the state's National Guard is on standby ahead of potential unrest in the city of Portland, which saw months and months of violent clashes this summer. 

"Every Oregonian has the right to express themselves freely and to peacefully assemble," wrote Brown in a release from the Governor's office. "However, I want to be clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated. Not from the Left, the Right, or the Center. Not this week, not any week in Oregon."

Specifically, Brown has exercised her executive power to create a joint incident command team in Portland, which will include members of the Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. The command, among other things, has the authority to bypass a directive put in place by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler that bans Portland police from using tear gas on demonstrators.

On Monday, Wheeler wrote that potential violence during and after the presidential election will likely be caused by "white supremacist organizations." 

Governor Brown, who appears to be taking the reins from Wheeler following the summer of unrest that occurred on his watch, said, "It is my goal as Governor to ensure the safety of Oregonians, especially as they exercise their fundamental right to vote and practice free speech."

In the nation's capital, an anti-Trump group called ShutDownDC began organizing and training for Election Day several months ago, according to the group's website. The leftist group fears that President Trump will refuse to leave office, if defeated today, a scenario they have prepared for by planning to shut down the city and harass lawmakers as they return to the capital following the election.

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said there have been zero "credible threats," but that officers will be stationed across polling locations on Tuesday in addition to an "increased patrol" presence. 

Last week, Police Chief Peter Newsham said that his entire department will be on duty Tuesday, and time off will be limited in the days following the election. 

The ShutDownDC group will gather at Black Lives Matter Plaza, just across the way from the White House, at 4 p.m. on Election Day. "Votes will still be coming in, so this will (probably) not be the time we need to create disruption to stop a coup — yet," reads the group's website. "But we'll be in a good place to respond to whatever might happen." 

The group has various marches and events planned for the duration of election week, and the following week, when lawmakers return to Congress, they will be met by demonstrators "at the train station or the airports or if they drive into town we can meet them at their homes."

According to the plan, even if President Trump loses reelection and concedes, the demonstrations will go on as planned. "We can pivot and use these actions to demand COVID-19 relief and other essential legislation!" reads the group's action plan. 

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that if it comes to a point where the city needs the help of the National Guard, "we will use them." 

As in other cities, D.C. businesses have boarded up their windows and removed valuable merchandise from storefronts and floors of their stores.