Election Day demonstrations were just the “warm up” for what’s to come, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly warned on “Mornings with Maria,” adding that he anticipates “hundreds of protests” will erupt throughout the country on Wednesday.
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“I think it was mostly peaceful last night, but this is just the warm-up,” Kelly said on Wednesday morning. “Today has been declared a national day of protest so you’re going to have hundreds of protests throughout the country.”
“The fact that we had this uncertain situation I think will only increase the periods of time that we’ll see demonstrations,” he added, referencing the fact that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election is still up in the air as slow returns in key swing states delayed results and made it impossible to call the race for either President Trump or former vice president Joe Biden.
Protests near the White House at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington remained tense as the country awaited clearer presidential election results.
In Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, police said roughly 40 people were arrested in downtown L.A. amid heightened tensions on election night.
The Los Angeles Police Department said those who were arrested blocked train tracks in the city and failed to disperse after an unlawful assembly was declared.
In Minneapolis on Tuesday night, a group of protesters set off fireworks and spray-painted business storefronts, leading to the arrest of 14 people, police said.
And in Seattle, at least eight people were arrested as people took to the streets to protest on Election Day, including demonstrators who were leaving nails in a roadway, according to police.
Kelly told host Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday that he believes “the good news is that police departments around America have been practicing.”
“They were caught short a little bit by the demonstrations after the George Floyd death and there’s been a lot of tabletop exercises and I think we’re in much better shape to handle demonstrations nationally,” he continued.
Floyd, a Black man, died in Minneapolis police custody in May. His death sparked demonstrations in cities across the country with protestors calling to defund or dismantle police departments.
Bartiromo asked Kelly “what specifically” are the post-election protestors “asking for?”
She also asked if he expects the situation to “bubble up” once a winner is announced.
“A lot of these groups say that it’s not results focused,” Kelly responded. “Irrespective of who ultimately wins, they’re still going to have these demonstrations. They were scheduled for a long time so today, again, they weren’t looking at who was going to necessarily win the election.”
He went on to say that a lot of the post-election protests have “to do with police reform.”
“They just want to continue to put pressure on,” Kelly said. “I think there’s no question about it that advocates will try to infiltrate some of the demonstrations today.”
He added that he believes the demonstrations that will take place in the coming days will include “property damage” and potentially looting.
“The looters kind of stay in the background, see if they can get cover too from so-called peaceful protests and they’ll engage in looting if they can,” Kelly said.
He also weighed in on the situation in New York City, which is currently boarded up in anticipation of the post-election demonstrations.
“In New York it’s going to take a long time to turn it around,” Kelly said, adding that the many big-name stores he saw boarded up is “sort of a sign of the times.”
He then pointed to the fact that New York City lawmakers voted in July on budget changes that shifted $1 billion from the New York Police Department to programs that assist in youth and community development.
“De Blasio defunded the New York City Police Department and over 2,000 police officers have retired in just the last few months,” Kelly said, stressing that “that’s a major loss of experienced people.”
“So we’re troubled here, no question about it and it’s not going to change until the very least the mayor leaves office,” he continued.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Travis Fedschun, Stephen Sorace and David Aaro contributed to this report.