BED-STUY — The NYPD beefed up protection at two Brooklyn precincts after receiving threats against police there, sources said.
Heavily armed Emergency Service Unit officers were posted at the 79th and 81st precincts, and fire engines from an FDNY firehouse were relocated just days after gunman Ismaayil Brinsley killed officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu as they sat in a patrol car in Bed-Stuy.
An informant with ties to the Black Guerilla Family gang alerted police officials after he apparently overheard the gang discussing possibly “shooting up a precinct,” and referred to the 79th and 81st precincts, both in Bed-Stuy, according to sources.
The FDNY's Engine Company No. 222, which adjoins the 81st Precinct, located at 30 Ralph Ave., was moved to another location as a precaution, sources said.
Meanwhile, police have made six arrests in the past few days following Internet-related threats against the NYPD, according to officials and sources.
"All threats against members of the NYPD are taken seriously and are investigated immediately to determine the credibility and origin of the information," the NYPD said in a statement.
"So far, we have assessed hundreds of online postings and calls to 911 and 311 that have resulted in about 40 threat investigations, of which about half have been closed or referred to other agencies."
In one case, 18-year-old Devon Coley recently posted online threats against the police. Police said Coley posted a picture on his Facebook page on Dec. 20 of a man pointing a gun inside a police car with smoke coming out of the gun. A caption next to the photo said "73NEXT" with emojis of a cartoon gun next to a cartoon policeman's head and an arm flexing.
Coley was arrested on Dec. 22 and freed without bail by a Brooklyn judge the same day. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a message left for comment.
Police also arrested Tyrone Melville, 41, who called the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn, where the slain officers were from, and made a “terroristic threat" over the phone, police said. He was arrested at his Manhattan home on Wednesday afternoon and charged with aggravated harassment. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two people were also arrested for making bogus 911 calls saying they knew someone who was going to kill police officers: Robert Bowman, 52, was arrested on Monday and Roberto Labita, 46, was arrested on Tuesday.
Police said Bowman told a 911 operator his cousin was armed and going to Staten Island to kill police, but later told police he made the call as a prank and did not have a cousin by the name he provided earlier. His attorney did not immediately respond to a message left for comment.
Labita, who drives a tow truck, called 911 and said he picked up someone in his tow truck who said he was going to "execute" police. He gave the person's full name, but claimed he didn't personally know him. Labita later told police the person he named used to date his daughter and never made threats against police. His attorney did not immediately respond to a message left for comment.
Also arrested was Jose Maldonado, 26, who police said posted a message on his Facebook profile that read: "Might just go out and kill two cops myself!!!!" Maldonado turned himself in at the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn after police put out a wanted poster for him, the NYPD said.
Maldonado apologized and told police he made the threat while drunk and wouldn't have done it otherwise, according to court documents. It was not immediately possible to obtain information on his attorney.
Finally, a 16-year-old Staten Island boy was also arrested for posting “kill the cops” on his Facebook page with an attached cartoon, sources said. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With reporting by Danielle Tcholakian.