A little over a week ago, a group marching through New York City's streets began chanting, "What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now."
After the assassination of two New York City police officers that rallying cry, which was captured on video by an onlooker from an apartment above, took on new meaning.
Several hours later, two NYPD officers were injured when a garbage can was thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Story continues below video.
It remains unclear whether the two incidents were connected, but the increase in violence at some New York protests is casting new light on a group known as the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee, or TMOC, the New York City chapter of which may be the source of the "dead cop" chant, reports The Daily Beast
Although there is no "definitive proof" TMOC was behind those marchers, its "own social-media posts put them near the scene of the cry for police blood."
And "recently TMOC has been soliciting money for the legal defense of people it calls its 'comrades' who were arrested for allegedly assaulting police officers on the Brooklyn Bridge, just hours after the 'dead cops' chant was recorded," writes Jacob Siegel of The Daily Beast.
The day before the nationwide Millions March rally on Dec. 13 — during which the "dead cop" chant was used — TMOC began organizing a sub-protest involving radicalized forces via social media, according to Ashoka Jegroo, a freelance reporter and graduate of the City University of New York’s journalism school.
TMOC is "just one of many groups — but definitely one of the more radical groups — in this movement who organize actions," Jegroo told the Beast.
Several members of the TMOC did surrender to police on Dec. 20 for their involvement in the violence against officers on the night of the Dec. 13 protests, according to a statement released by TMOC
The group has acknowledged being involved in other violent acts against the police and vandalism in other cities.
"ATL shut down I75 last night, fought cops, busted up Wells Fargo window, cop cars, 2000+ people marching throughout the night until late. 40+ arrests," states a Nov. 24 post on its Facebook
The group, in addition to soliciting funds for legal defense, indicated it is not likely to avoid confrontation in the future.
"The Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee-NYC commends all demonstrators across the country who refuse to leave their friends in the hands of murderous, abusive police. If this movement has taught us anything, it is that resistance is not only justified, but necessary.
"We will stand behind our comrades as they face whatever charges the city will throw at them. We know they are the victims here — not the NYPD. We are all victims at the hands of the white supremacist, capitalist state. For the same reason, we are the ones to overturn it," it says in its statement.
One question, particularly after the deaths of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, is where the line between freedom of speech and incitement to violence is being drawn, asks the Beast.
"Whether screaming for murder of civil-service workers constitutes incitement or an anarchist group’s full use of free speech is another open question — the New York Civil Liberties Union didn’t respond to a request for comment in time to be included in this story," it reported.
The group has been involved in national protests well before the recent demonstrations in New York.
Rallies held nationwide, including in Detroit, more than a year ago were organized by TMOC in conjunction with several other left-wing groups, including the Green Party and the International Socialist Organization, reports Michigan Live
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