Weve obtained a cache of internal police documents. We need help digging in.

The inside story of how police were trained to attack protesters.

Last summer, when protests broke out in New York City following George Floyd’s killing, the New York Police Department responded with even more brutality.

Time and again, police were caught on video lashing out seemingly at random. Peaceful protesters were punched, beaten with batons, and pepper-sprayed. Thousands indiscriminately were arrested.

Now, a trove of NYPD internal documents obtained by The Intercept is shedding new light on why the police reacted the way they did: They were trained to.

These documents show how police are explicitly taught to suppress protests, not to protect demonstrators’ First Amendment rights. Our investigative journalists are poring over every page and uncovering one bombshell after another.

This is a potential opportunity for police accountability and the Black Lives Matter movement, but only if we have the resources to dig... deep and uncover all the secrets hidden in this 1,700-page trove of internal police data.

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For decades, we’ve been told that the violent crackdowns on protesters were the result of a few “bad apples.” The NYPD training documents paint a different picture, revealing how police are taught to abuse protesters and get around their constitutional rights.

The latest revelations include how the NYPD trains its most heavily militarized unit — the Strategic Response Group, widely known as the “goon squad” — to gather intelligence on protest organizers, make mass arrests by trapping peaceful protesters in “kettles,” and use their bicycles as weapons.

We uncovered how NYPD’s regular officers, the overwhelming majority of the force, only get a few hours of training on policing protests in the Academy — training focused on how to make arrests without raising thorny legal issues over protesters’ rights.

“The tools you walk out of that training room with, as an officer, are all geared towards finding ways to justify the arrest of protesters, rather than finding practical ways to facilitate peaceful protests and the exercise of free speech rights,” a public defender told us.

Junk science lie detector tests. Routine disregard for civil liberties. Blatant racism and just plain stupidity. All these and more are rampant in U.S. policing.

The NYPD training documents expand the public’s understanding of U.S. police violence and abuse — and could have an impact in a series of civil rights lawsuits and official investigations into NYPD conduct during the George Floyd protests.

Will you donate today to help fund The Intercept’s groundbreaking investigative journalism and the team poring through the internal NYPD documents to uncover the systemic abuses of protesters?


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