A new crowd-control unit being formed within the New Haven Police Department will equip cops with bigger pepper-spray bottles and longer batons, under general orders that the Police Commission approved on Wednesday night.
The new 100-member unit is scheduled to get specialized training in crowd management at a five-day course early next month. The goal is to prepare the department in case an event like the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Seattle and Berkeley, between white supremacists and anti-fascists, happens in the Elm City.
“Godforbid something like a Charlottesville were to happen, that’s where they could be utilized,” Chief Anthony Campbell said. “This crowd-control unit is for, we’re talking extremes.”
Campbell said he decided to form the unit shortly after becoming interim chief. When he started, he asked all of his commanders to conduct an “inventory,” reviewing their operations for any gaps. Lt. Nicholas Marcucio, who oversees emergency services, said the department was underprepared to handle a massive crowd. Two assistant chiefs, Luis Casanova and Otoniel Reyes, concurred, and the latter came up with a list of what the department needed, Campbell said. Campbell and Reyes both made the ask for funds from City Hall.
“We did not have any equipment: shields, gas masks, batons, anything to be able to deal with a large event,” Campbell said. “Yale [Police Department] has crowd-control equipment and training; we could use mutual aid. But we don’t want to be in a position as a major police department where we’re underprepared. You don’t want to respond afterwards.”
46 Ounces, 26 Sprays
Under two revised general orders that commissioners unanimously approved on Wednesday night’s meeting at police headquarters, crowd-control cops will get bigger pepper-spray canisters and a new brand of expandable batons.
All beat cops currently carry a 1.5-ounce bottle of oleoresin capsicum (OC), or pepper, spray, which can shoot out anywhere from six to eight short bursts of the fiery liquid.
Every officer is trained in its deployment. “You can’t graduate [from the academy] without” demonstrating proficiency, Campbell noted
The crowd-control unit, after receiving further training, will have access to much larger canisters of the OC spray, including a 12-ounce bottle that can spray 14 times or a 46-ounce bottle (about the size of a fire extinguisher) that can spray 26 times.
“The advantage of the larger canisters is that there’s more OC if it’s needed, and also the MK-9 and MK-46 have a larger stream distance,” explained Sgt. Rose Dell of the internal affairs unit, who prepared the new policies. “These are stream OCs; they are not foggers or anything like that.”
As before, police can deploy pepper spray, considered a “less-lethal use of force option,” only when “an officer reasonably believes it is necessary to control an individual who is a threat to the officers or others, or as a means to overcome active resistance.”
That’s a higher standard than cops need to pull out their batons, another “less-lethal” weapon. Police may use batons when encountering alleged “passive resistance.” The batons are not to be used “indiscriminately or punitively” and never while a person is already in custody, the general order states.
Under the revised general order, the department is switching brands from American-made Monadnock batons to Bonowi, a German product. The deployment will be limited at first just to the crowd-control unit, but eventually the entire force will get a new baton, Dell said.
“The advantage is that it’s longer by four inches. However, when the baton is collapsed it’s the same size in the holster. It has a better weight distribution, and it’s also thicker throughout the entire length. We have had some problems now with bending,” Dell said. “You’re able to extend [the Bonowi] while it’s in the holster. Currently, [with Monadnock], you have to take it out and whip it, whereas this one, while you pull it out, it expands. These are much smoother. They’re easier to collapse.”
Commissioner Steven Garcia asked if the department will track baton usage. Dell said that officers must make a report for its deployment, just as with any other use of force. “Everything above compliant handcuffing” must be documented, she said.
Campbell added that’s true, even if an officer just unholsters it and doesn’t use it.
“You pull out your Taser gun: use of force. Pull out your gun: use of force. Pull out your baton: use of force,” he said.
Equipping police officers for crowd control makes some locals wary. Just two weeks ago, at a community policing forum at Stetson Library, several citizens grilled Campbell about the state police’s use of canines at an anti-Trump protest — a tactic the chief said he would’ve avoided. That night, the chief also noted that department will not be accepting surplus armored vehicles or weaponry from the military.
Campbell said that New Haveners need not worry, since they likely won’t be seeing cops in riot gear anytime soon.
“We try to handle most of our large events with what we call our ‘soft uniform’” — the standard-issue button-downs and slacks, he said Thursday. “It is not to militarize the department and not to be intimidating. You only use it when you need it.”
A general order outlining the department’s procedures on crowd control is forthcoming, Campbell said.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 7:44am
Better to have the training and equipment and not need it rather than need it and not have it. We have seen Antifa in New Haven at past demonstrations and our location between NY and Boston makes it relatively easy for radical elements to travel here to cause trouble. Despite the usual negative tenor of this article, Chief Campbell and his command staff are doing their due diligence to protect the citizens of New Haven.
posted by: LivingInNewHaven on September 14, 2017 8:33am
This just seems like accepting the Trump stuff but on a smaller scale. Longer batons? Better pepper spray? This will lead to the more paramilitary equipment he said he wouldn’t accept. As the neighborhoods get wealthier >wink 😉 wink<, the police will get worse to protect our new New Haveners. I don’t like this idea at all.
posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 14, 2017 8:56am
Before the next court case comes up, let’s ask a few question about how these enhanced weapons are likely to work out. “....police can deploy pepper spray, considered a “less-lethal use of force option,” only when “an officer reasonably believes it is necessary to control an individual who is a threat to the officers or others, or as a means to overcome active resistance.” The standard here is the officer’s personal belief. The “threat” part is built into the job, so “reasonably” is unlike to be ever challenged successfully. And “active resistance” will end up being whatever the officer determines it to be. As for “less-lethal”, did the manufacturer or the NHPD disclose how often the use of pepper spray was lethal? As to old-fashioned truncheons, “Police may use batons when encountering alleged “passive resistance.” The batons are not to be used “indiscriminately or punitively” and never while a person is already in custody.” Why the use of “alleged” in describing passive resistance”? Can someone fake passive resistance? Why would an officer beat someone with a bat (that’s what they are) when they are passively resisting? Does this mean that the people who chained themselves to the TD Bank door to protest investments in the Dakota Pipeline, instead of being carried around the corner, given summonses to court and left to undo themselves, in the future will they have the hell beaten out of them for their “alleged passive resistance??? And what cop will admit he was angry that bad things were said about the president, or he was tired of being cursed at or just worn out from his extra duty work? Instead of face coverings, protesters will have to invest in helmets, gas masks and heavy body padding because there is no guarantee that what a protester considers non-violent, civil disobedience aimed at violating a law to make a larger point, couldn’t result in serious bodily harm in the future.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 9:49am
The problem is that “protesters” already come equipped with helmets, gas masks, gas, fireworks, clubs, bats and in some cases, firearms. Equipment is only part of the answer. Crowd management training is essential to teach officers the tactics and techniques of managing crowds,!often hostile. The Chief and the City are duty bound to provide training and equipment to protect citizens and police officers. To do less in this environment would be negligent.
posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 14, 2017 10:04am
@alphabravocharlie: In the past year we have seen an uneven response by the NHPD to protesters. Nate Blair was violently arrested and injured for likely “walking while black” on Feb. 4. Case pending Holly Tucker was violently dragged thru the half open window of her car for a dispute at a traffic stop. The State nolled the case. Barbara Fair was arrested and injured while standing and talking at the Proud Boy event in July and barely avoided an order to “take her down”. case still pending. DraMese Fair was also arrest at the same time, under similar circumstances, and pepper sprayed, exacerbating his asthma. Case pending. Contrast these arrests with the people who chained themselves to TD Bank and were left to undo themselves. All got a promise to appear and did community service. Cases closed. You claim that “protesters” already come equipped with helmets, gas masks, gas, fireworks, clubs, bats and in some cases, firearms.” These are NOT New Haven protest groups which are always non-violent. NHPD freaks out if they wear a scarf over their faces. Scary, huh? The increased militaristic and weaponized approach to citizen activism will only deepen the gulf of distrust and dislike already in place. The NHPD has to adopt the “sanctity of life” approach to policing and make it the #1 imperative that drives all other actions. No one argues the need for the police to deal with weaponized and violent actors, but if we had a police force (note the word) that actually lived in New Haven and knew the people, we might not see such a violent “us” versus “them” approach on both sides.
posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017 10:07am
US police are terrible at riot control, in large part because the Balkanized nature of our police departments, especially in Connecticut, do not allow for specialization. The best riot police in the world may be South Korea’s. They have no firearms, just body armor, shields, and batons, and fire extinguishers. They are supremely well drilled and disciplined. Meanwhile, in the US, we send SWAT teams equipped for urban warfare to riots. I share DS’s wonder at the need for batons against passive demonstrators. If demonstrators are truly passive, but, say, blocking a road or sidewalk, just pick them up and throw them in the paddy wagon. As abc says, we have seen what the anti-fa have done on the west coast, and in Europe. We need to prepare for their violence now, to keep New Haven from becoming Berkeley, Seattle, or Hamburg.
posted by: T-ski1417 on September 14, 2017 10:07am
Any use of force, even those that are considered less lethal, can potentially become lethal. For example you spray someone with pepper spray and while feeling the effects fall and strike their head and die. The pepper spray did not kill them but they die as a result of its use.
You can use a boron on someone who is passively resistant but only for soft control holds not striking. Striking would be for active physical resistance.
As far as TD bank NHPD has an officer trained in the removal of these type of devices if they do not self release. They would not get struck by a baton for this.
This training and equipping is well overdue.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 14, 2017 10:10am
Sounds Like the police here are becoming The Modern Day Praetorian Guard.
posted by: Choxie on September 14, 2017 11:16am
@alphabravocharlie Yes, because Antifa was the problem in Charlottesville and not the actual Nazis gang beating people and firing shots into crowds…
Please take your police brutality sympathies somewhere else. I fear for any New Havener who is unfortunate enough to cross paths with you whilst you’re on duty, as they are surely in for a case of excessive force while you excuse your abuse as “reasonable threats” and “resisting arrest”. It is people and attitudes such as yours that make citizens fear the police and the reason the Black Lives Matter exists.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 11:52am
Don’t delude yourselves into thinking the kind of violence experienced at demonstrations in other parts of the country could not happen here. Had Milo Yannapolis not canceled his appearance at Yale last spring, the City would have experienced it up close and personal. Capabilities have to be created before they are needed. It’s hard to train in the middle of a riot.
posted by: Peter99 on September 14, 2017 12:05pm
The best and most effective protest is made at the voting booth. Politicians run the police force. The politicians just voted to give the police the pepper spray and better clubs. The cops asked for the stuff and the politicians could have said no. Start throwing people out of their political offices and the cops will be controlled properly. The politicians will pay lip service to the people until the people truly understand what makes them react. Folks have a short attention span, and an even shorter memory. Unless you ring their doorbell and hit them in the nose most people could care less. The same people write in to the Independent over and over. Those folks care, the rest are indifferent. If enough people got involved at the same time the politicians would listen real quick. I am not holding my breathe about anything changing soon. Outside of the few comment writers, both pro and con, and a handful of student activists that go home for the summer the majority of people just do not care to get involved. Various segments of the community or ethnic groups will come out in force at times, but the ordinary people as a whole will not act as one to effect real change. The politicians count on that reaction and they are correct in their assumption.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 12:07pm
Choxie- I served over 40 years as a police officer without ever firing my weapon or striking anyone with a baton. I used pepper spray on a few occasions and wrestled with a lot of people. I was never sued or accused of excessive force. I am retired now. Dont judge someone if you don’t know them.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 12:52pm
Should be interesting to see how Ben Shapiro’s speech st Berkeley goes tonight.
posted by: anne s. on September 14, 2017 1:08pm
this does not seem like a good idea to me. what if the NHPD had had this new equipment at the anti-Trump rally cited in the article, in which nate blair was roughed up by the police? if you have something, you are likely to use it. very worrisome, especially in the current climate.
posted by: smarcus on September 14, 2017 1:08pm
I agree the NHPD needs to continue to practice community engagement and community policing. I also believe it’s past time that they have adequate crowd control training and equipment. After the NH Green Proud Boys incident this summer I said we need to make sure our police has enough steel crowd barricades and trucks, to be ready to either deploy as a situation emerges, or as advanced crowd control. The steel crowd barricades should be used whenever there is likely to be controversy and /or the potential for two sides / large crowds in certain situations. It’s crowd control basics 101. Also, they should be used to properly block off street events (ie basketball tourney on Church St; food vendors closing off Temple St). They are both a visual safety measure, crowd control, and could also prevent injury.
posted by: Choxie on September 14, 2017 1:59pm
1/2 @alphabravocharlie While I am certainly happy to hear that you never had to fire you weapon, I do not believe that fact alone excludes one from holding inaccurate and biased “us vs them” views. My father was an officer for 29 years and also never fired his weapon. That did not prevent him or his colleagues (that I grew up around and knew well) from becoming jaded by the job and excusing their vitriol, harmful views, and biases as something other than what it truly was - ignorance and hatred. Many of the officers I have known were fine enough people. Many officers across the country are the same. However, the power of the badge and the “us vs them” mentality has poisoned the well and resulted in alarming rates of police brutality. This, you cannot deny. Nor can you deny that this is a root cause for the average citizen, especially citizens of color, to be fearful of police encounters.
As I have detailed above, I have a history of knowing police on a personal level. Yet this history does not prevent me from having a reasonable fear of police using excessive force and standing behind the blue wall of silence to do everything in their power to cover it up. Having known many officers on a personal level, and having also observed their professional interactions with the public, has shown me just how quickly an otherwise nice person/good cop can let their authority swell their brains and lead to them making regretful split-second decisions that can haunt them and the citizen for the remainder of their lives. Never do you hear of a police officer coming out and saying, “I was wrong. I let my ego and my unconscious personal bias get the better of me and lead me to make an inaccurate assumption that resulted in harmful actions.” No, this is not what you hear in the news, because the police feel above reproach, above criticism, above the human ability to make a mistake. And what do we get? Abusive police demanding more weapons for things such as “crowd control”.
posted by: wendy1 on September 14, 2017 2:00pm
We need less not more. The demos here are all old ladies and young girls mostly. Now I have to go out and buy goggles. Such a waste of police time and my taxes…..GDI
posted by: Choxie on September 14, 2017 2:04pm
I am an advocate of more and better police training. I am also an advocate of regular mental health screenings for police, as too many officers are not mentally suited to do their job. Unfortunately, without said screening, a longer baton and larger canister of pepper spray can be abused by officers not mentally fit to be wielding them. But by all means, continue to blame Antifa, demand more tools and weapons to fight them, as they were surely the catalyst behind the white supremacist wielding a 2-ton motorized weapon to mow down civilians….
As a former officer, I would hope that you would use your experience and insight about the job to advocate for better policing practices, not for more weapons. I would hope that you would be a proponent for positive change, community policing, and to lessen the number of stories we see across every news outlet about citizens being killed.
posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017 2:39pm
DS, Anne S: Nate Blair was arrested for engaging in criminal activity, i.e.. disorderly conduct, one element of which is blocking traffic. he refused orders to get out of the street, and maintained the outer corner position of those walking in the street. In other words, of those in the street, he was the worst offender. If a group wants to march in a street, they need to get a permit. Otherwise, they are committing a crime. Same for blocking a sidewalk, like the Toronto Dominion Bank protesters.
Coxie: If you read the accounts in the LAT/Minneapolis Star-Trib or BBC, you would know that both the Antifa and the right-wingers engaged in illegal, criminal assaults on persons. In recent years, the Anti-facists have been far more active in criminal activity than the right-wingers. As the mayor of Berkeley says, the Antifa are a criminal gang. Unfortunately, their crimes have been abetted by the mayor and his police. http://www.startribune.com/birthplace-of-free-speech-movement-braces-for-possible-fight/441868353/
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 3:14pm
All fringe groups, including Antifa, are a problem. We saw it about 15 years ago when the World Church of the Creator came to Wallingford and when the KKK rallied in Meriden. It has nothing to do with political views. Today you are the protester, tomorrow you may be protested against. It really has to do with the capability of the police department to properly react to these situations.
Equipment is one part of the solution and providing new equipment alone will fail without planning, policy, training and leadership. Police officers receive little crowd control training in the academy and none thereafter. Proper crowd management entails in understanding of human behavior and crowd dynamics. When crowd management fails, crowd control takes over.
We’ve seen recent examples of this in action first in Charlottesville (poor planning and leadership) and more recently in Boston (good planning, leadership and tactics). The hope is that we never have to use crowd control equipment or tactics but hope is not a strategy. When the rocks, bottles and bricks start flying, people get hurt. Police officers have to be trained and equipped to effectively respond to these situations.
posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org on September 14, 2017 3:43pm
God Bless our Police, they keep us safe and protected…“BLUE LIVES MATTER!!”
posted by: Patricia Kane on September 14, 2017 4:03pm
@1644: “Nate Blair was arrested for engaging in criminal activity, i.e.. disorderly conduct, one element of which is blocking traffic. he refused orders to get out of the street, and maintained the outer corner position of those walking in the street. In other words, of those in the street, he was the worst offender. “ Q: Were you there? I was there as a marshal to monitor activity from start to fin Q: Did you watch any of the videos? I watched every one of them, more than once, some of which were not on YouTube. Full disclosure: I represented Nate Blair from the moment of his arrest until Paul Garlinghouse took over in July. Nate complied with all orders to move to the right, but the sidewalks were full. People had no choice but to continue to walk in the streets. Videos also show one officer repeatedly pushing Mr. Blair as he walked to the right. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Blair was the only black man near the front. He undoubtedly stood out for his long locks, as well as his skin color. Note: I refuse to call them “dreadlocks” because that is a white man’s label and clearly a negative label. There was another young black male who is a recognized local organizer (which Nate is not) who left the scene. I suspect Nate was mistaken for the other guy. In view of Norman Clement’s arrest by State Trooper’s and then Nate’s unnecessarily violent take down when he was NOT resisting, it appears that activist leaders were, and continue to be, police targets. This view was reinforced by the recent unjustified arrests of award-winning activist Barbara Fair and her nephew DraMese Fair, which was preceded by the violent arrest Holly Tucker, Ms. Fair’s daughter. Disorderly conduct is a b.s. charge that is usually handled by community service in protest cases. Mr. Blair was injured by being thrown to the ground and incurred a concussion He refused the offer of a plea bargain.
posted by: wendy1 on September 14, 2017 4:54pm
Disorderly Conduct can be anything including picking your nose, saying a swear word, spitting on the sidewalk, or just being black or otherwise annoying to the arresting cop. And after spending multiple trips and hours at “superior” court, say after a year, a judge dismisses your case. Our legal system is quite medieval. Who says history doesn’t repeat????
New streetwear——sneakers, goggles, gas mask, water bottles, lawyer # tatooed on your arm—-for New Haven.
posted by: Choxie on September 14, 2017 4:57pm
@alphabravocharlie I totally agree that fringe groups are an issue. And I also agree that police can always use more training and that if that training results in them not having to use any of the many weapons at their disposal, that is always a positive thing.
I seems where you and I and @1644 disagree is in the false equivalency being drawn between the protestors at Charllottesville and Nazis. I think both of these articles do a particularly good job of spelling out the differences:
Additionally, I disagree with @1644’s comment of “In recent years, the Anti-facists have been far more active in criminal activity than the right-wingers.” I do not believe that to be factual and have seen not data to support it.
To be clear, I am not a member of Antifa and do not support any violence they commit unless specifically in self-defense. However, I also do support claims that they are a gang/terrorist organization akin to the KKK or other neo-nazi groups whose stated purpose is to terrorize and harm other human beings. One can simultaneously condemn the violence of a few rogue actors flying an Antifa banner while still agreeing that being anti-fascist is generally a good thing. The same cannot be said of anyone’s support or excusing of the behavior or ideology of white supremacy groups. I again refer you to the Atlantic article above.
posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017 4:57pm
Atty: Kane: No I was not there, but I have watched the video. What you see as the cop pushing Blair, I see as an attempt to guide Blair toward the curb, guidance he resists, maintaining a forward vector parallel to the sidewalk. As for the take down, it looks a lot like high school wrestling moves. As for the concussion, I see Blair get keep and walk after he is cuffed, so must have been mild since he did not lose consciousness. We have laws against blocking traffic for good reasons. I do wish they were enforced more vigorously, but just because they aren’t doesn’t make the actions of those who blocked the streets any less criminal.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 14, 2017 5:28pm
I certainly don’t condone white supremacy, nazism or excessive force by police officers. I have enough experience studying the movements to know the differences. I don’t believe for a minute that the rally in Charlottesville was about confederate memorials. It was a show of force by white nationalists in an area they perceived to by sympathetic to their cause. They were armed and outfitted for a reason as were the opposition. They expected and/or were looking for trouble. I’m of the mind that Antifa is more of an anarchist group. Ironically, they practice the tactics of fascists. They attempt to silence those with whom they do not agree with violence and intimidation.
Political violence is not acceptable in a democracy. When we give one group of citizens license to assault another, regardless of how laudable their aims may be or how much we agree with them, we set a dangerous precedent.
The police are forced into this breach between combatants and this position requires officers of incredible restraint and discipline. The NHPD would be well advised to very carefully select the members of the department assigned to this unit, particularly the leadership. The stresses on officer’s assigned to these commands is intense. Personnel selection is one of the keys to success.
posted by: Patricia Kane on September 14, 2017 5:57pm
@1644. The repeated pushing was acknowledged by representatives of the State. The cops were upset and agitated by the protest location, the pinata of Trump that was bashed with a stick and the chants that equated the KKK and the police. The protesters didn’t attack the cops - except maybe their delicate sensibilities. It was a police riot in the end. They just “lost it”.
posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017 7:22pm
Choxie: If you don’t think the anti-fa have been engaged in more criminal activity recently, you haven’t been paying attention. Look at the WTO riots in Seattle, the Milo Y. riots in Berkeley the riots in Hamburg, etc. ABC is correct that the Anti-fa actually act like the SA did, with Kristalnachts and street fights and beatings of political opponents. A west coast journalist recently saved a right-winger from being beaten to death. Had he not, the body count would have been equal. As for the Atlantic article saying we should judge groups by their stated goals rather than their means, I disagree. In fact, the Nazi’s goal of restoring prosperity and dignity to the German Volk seemed admirable, but their means were reprehensible. The Bolsheviks sought a workers’ paradise. In the end, Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin all killed millions of innocents, and for that I despise them all.
posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017 7:38pm
Perhaps the cops were upset by the protest location because it was illegal to march in the street? The entire protest was criminal in that it obstructed vehicular traffic. If you want to march in the street, get a permit, and the police will be prepared. As for riot, no. Chicago 1968 was a police riot. This was just cops trying to maintain order under difficult conditions caused by a criminal demonstration.
posted by: narcan on September 15, 2017 2:11am
People can argue their opinions of the protests thus far, but the fact is that the police are totally unprepared for anything the likes of which we have seen in other parts of the country. It is past time they had a plan and equipment to deal with possible crowd violence, because hoping it doesn’t happen is not a plan.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 15, 2017 9:33am
posted by: challenge on September 15, 2017 11:43am
I am more and more disappointed not only by an ineffective Internal Affairs but an ineffective and clueless Police commission. New Haven is being turned into a militarized department more each day. The only ones not upset by it are those privileged enough to never worry about about being abused. When I see what is unraveling I am more convinced an entity completely independent of the police force and the commission is necessary if the community can ever have any semblance of civility, safety and trust within NHPD. The chief is just led around by his nose. He says one thing in public and does something else in private. The mayor simply goes along with anything because she is satisfied with her specially assigned body guard and the community seems to be powerless to do anything but complain. It’s a sad state of affairs.
posted by: 1644 on September 17, 2017 1:33pm
This is a step away from militarization towards proper civilian policing. The military does crowd control on rare occasion, but it is not a core function, as it should be for civilian police. The preferred weapons for the military are generally lethal and long range, such as M-16’s with which, even with steel sights, a good Marine can kill a person at 500 yards. Civilian police general engage at very close range, where less lethal weapons can be effective. Given the resurgence of violent demonstrations led by the Anti-fa/Blac Bloc, civilian police need to be ready lest what happened in Chartlottesville, Berkeley, Seattle, and Hamburg happen here. As abc says, good policing, as in Boston, and a few days ago at Cal, can prevent the death and destruction we have seen at other places and times (Cal being the same place but different time (Coulter v. Shapiro talks)).
posted by: MrWin on September 18, 2017 9:45am
Ok, here we go, get ready to see these deployed against teenagers on Crown Street.
posted by: challenge on September 18, 2017 4:04pm
Wondering who controls police when they become unnecessarily violent. I recall a couple of times when police held protests when the city was laying officers off and again when the community wanted an officer off the street after body slamming a 15 year old handcuffed girl to the ground. On both occasions they blocked streets, disrupted traffic flow and were very loud and unruly outside city hall. Doubt they had a permit to do so. Oh I forgot different rules for police. They are responsible for enforcing the law while having immunity and policies in place to protect them when they don’t follow the laws themselves.
posted by: concerned_neighbor on September 18, 2017 6:17pm
Missing from this debate is the first level of force employed by police officers - command presence or badge of authority. Before recent times, few ever engaged police officers in physical altercations. Why? Because of their command presence - in uniform wearing the badge of authority. Police use of force experts will tell you that at one time, the mere presence of the police was enough to quell any protesters that were going to move from chanting, marching and sign waving to the invasion of the personal space of someone who did not share their view. Today, however, many do not respect the police.
This is not to say that we, as citizen, should not question the police. We should, however, recognize when our questions might lead to change. Once an officer has decided to make an arrest or issue a ticket, they aren’t going to change their mind because of what you say or do. You will have to take care of it elsewhere, like court. If you don’t resist an arrest, it is extremely unlikely that police officers will use force against you. Debating the legality of a stop, an arrest or a ticket is much easier in the calm of a courtroom than in the tense moment in the middle of the night curbside.
And if you aren’t doing anything wrong or have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Keep your car registered and insured and in good repair. And don’t give rides to those who engage in criminal conduct. For our protesters, both can have a sincere belief in the truth of their cause without invading the personal space of the party holding an opposing viewpoint. Nothing is solved with violence.
Our current protesters should be reminded to read the works of Dr. Martin Luther King and his writings on nonviolence. Physical attacks against the police and national guard did not result in the great victory of the civil rights movement. It was passive nonviolence. Unless and until our current protesters see MLK’s wisdom in this regard, militarization of the police will continue.
posted by: challenge on September 19, 2017 3:38pm
Only one who has never faced arrest or the associated fear and anxiety can say “just accept the arrest and fight it out in court”. When over 90% of cases are plea bargained and countless are wrongfully convicted and serve decades in prison before they are exonerated it certainly doesn’t generate trust in the court process. When we witness on an almost weekly basis unarmed men, women and children being shot and killed by police and the courts almost always find the officer innocent it certainly does not invoke respect for the police or the rule of law. Police are here to “serve” not to expect citizens to stroke their over inflated ego. Again remind us how non violent protest served Dr King? Only the privileged can make these statements with a straight face.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 19, 2017 4:40pm
Concerned: Philando Castille wasn’t doing anything wrong. The dash cam showed he didn’t even have a tail-light out. The officer lied to him about that. The reason the officer stopped him was because St Anthony’s police have a policy of being “pro-active”, meaning that even though there was no probable cause, his superficial resemblance(black, thin, dreadlocks) to a suspect in a armed robbery days earlier led to the stop. As for command presence, that was often backed by impromptu beat-downs when non-police weren’t given the respect they thought they deserved. Challenge: Yes, when police blocked the streets and disrupted traffic without a permit, they should have been arrested (and fired), just as Nate Blair was arrested and the local 33 folks were arrested. The fact that police were allowed to commit crimes with impunity shows the absence of discipline and lack of respect for the law that police have. Where’s a modern Calvin Coolidge?
posted by: 1644 on September 20, 2017 6:56am
abc: Another good article: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41314562 US police go quickly for lethal force. In the UK, police deal with lots of crazy people, knife-wielding people, and crazy, knife-wielding people without shooting them, police generally only being armed with batons. When an Islamic terrorist decapitated a soldier on a London street, police did not shoot him, but were able to arrest him alive. In contrast, when a madman was displaying a knife in Times Square, NYC police drew their sidearms and started firing, hitting several bystanders in the process. To its great credit, NHPD officers, as least as detailed in NHI “cop of the Week” articles, do not use firearms when others would, e.g., when a suspect is displaying a gun. The addition of better batons and protective gear to NHPD’s tool-kit should be applauded for making the need for lethal force less likely.