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NYPD to reduce security around Trump Tower, says Mayor de Blasio

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

After years of guarding Trump Tower like a fortress on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, the New York Police Department (NYPD) will begin to scale back its security presence around the skyscraper now that Donald Trump‘s time as president has come to an end, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, according to The New York Post.

“It’s still obviously a sensitive site, but it’s going to be a much lower security profile,” the New York City mayor said during a press conference. “A lot more of the space around it is going to be opened up, which is a good thing for the people of that neighborhood and for the city.”

De Blasio’s announcement comes one day after President Joe Biden was sworn in. Trump opted not to attend his successor’s inauguration, instead trading Washington’s winter winds for Florida’s sunny skies at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. While Trump has a residence high up in the tower, the former president has moved to Florida for the time being, though the frustration of Palm Beach locals has thrown his living situation into the air.

Throughout Trump’s tenure as commander-in-chief, the NYPD and federal agents have operated a strict security zone around the skyscraper on Fifth Avenue between East 56th and 57th streets.

With New York City and many areas in its orbit having voted overwhelmingly against Trump, Trump Tower has become a major spot for protests in the nation’s largest city over the past few years, rivaling historical protest spaces like Washington Square Park and Union Square. On top of that, Fifth Avenue has become the most popular route for marches and protests, with the final stop along the northbound route often being Trump Tower.

Amid last summer’s racial justice protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in May, de Blasio ordered that the section of Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower be renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” be painted across that stretch of road.

According to The Post, the NYPD had previously mentioned that it would “re-evaluate” security around Trump Tower following Inauguration Day, with sources telling the publication that the section of East 56th Street immediately south of the tower is expected to re-open to vehicular traffic.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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