(CNN) — Law enforcement officials in Washington, DC, are preparing for potential security risks arising from reactions to the leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion, Roe v. would knock Wade down.
An alert generated by U.S. Capitol Police on Thursday and reviewed by CNN warned of far-right calls for violence against a religious group planning an upcoming pro-abortion law protest in court.
Late Wednesday night, teams began installing an 8-foot-tall non-scalable fence around portions of the Supreme Court building, and on Thursday night crews erected Jersey concrete barriers blocking the street in front of the courthouse — a sign that officials were there are concerned that the protests, which have been peaceful so far, may turn out to be less peaceful.
Law enforcement officials at the National Fusion Center Association hosted a call Wednesday with about 150 participants to alert state and local partners to nationwide demonstrations that have led to some physical confrontations, other possible demonstrations and a surge in social media chatter , so trusted sources of the call.
The call, first reported by Politico, highlights the proactive efforts and coordination of law enforcement agencies across the country following the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot that highlighted how quickly social media chatter turned into an attack can transform.
Multiple sources told CNN that recent developments could encourage violent extremists to engage in attacks or other criminal activities targeting abortion clinic staff, patients or clinic facilities.
A law enforcement source added that government officials — including the nine judges and their staff — or abortion-related advocacy groups and abortion-related events protected by the First Amendment could be targets of violence.
The source also said social media gossip is being prosecuted against the judges and members of Congress – work that has become standard practice at a time of increased use of social media to voice extremist ideas.
Concerns for the safety of judges are just the latest in an ongoing conversation about how to protect members of the judiciary who oversee high-profile, dangerous cases but lack individual security teams.
CNN previously reported that the US Marshals Service watchdog found in a June 2021 report that the agency “does not have the resources or proactive threat detection capabilities identified by the USMS to meet its protection service obligations for USMS-protected individuals.” persons, including judges.”
The US Marshals Service protects some 2,700 judges nationwide and notes that threats or inappropriate contacts have risen sharply in recent years. The inspector general’s report found that the agency responded to more than 4,200 threats in 2020, up 81% from 2016.
The DC Metropolitan Police Department and US Capitol Police have added more officers to the area since the leaked opinion surfaced.
The CNN Wire
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