A memo sent by Pittsburgh Bureau of Police commander Victor Joseph is instructing officers to start wearing riot gear this Thursday.
The memo warns officers that if President Trump indeed ends up firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, there would likely be riots throughout the city within a 24-hour window of the announcement going public.
“We have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice,” the memo reads. “Beginning Thursday, all Major Crimes detectives are required to bring a full uniform and any issued protective equipment (riot gear) with them to work until further notice.”
While the memo makes it seem like the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police have access to information that hasn’t been made public, Pittsburgh Public Safety director Wendell Hissrich said that the preparations are simply a proactive measure, and that no intelligence has been shared with local police.
“The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police receives information daily that we evaluate and prepare for if the event should occur. Events can include anything from extreme weather to potential demonstrations,” Hissrich said in a public statement. “Often the events we prepare for do not occur. However, through an abundance of caution, we attempt to adequately prepare for an appropriate response.”
“We receive information regularly about potential events and/or threats, assess the credibility of the information and plan for a potential event,” Hissrich continued. “In this case, we have not assessed the credibility of the potential for disturbances, and we do not have any knowledge of the President’s decision-making process.”
President Trump may end up firing Mueller at any time, given his documented attempts to fire the special counsel in June of 2017, then again in December. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he doesn’t plan to schedule a bill protecting Mueller’s job for a floor vote in the senate. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who appointed Mueller and would need to be fired in order for Trump to get at Mueller — has told confidants at the Department of Justice that he is prepared to be fired.
Liberal group MoveOn is organizing nationwide protests in the event Mueller is fired. Click here to search for an event in your ZIP code.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.