““When a person is accosted by surprise, they have a natural reaction. Someone will run, they’ll fight, they’ll yank their arms away from someone who’s trying to pull them into a car,” said Kaishian. “These acts were often charged as resisting arrest or obstructions of governmental administration. So in addition to the charge for the warrant or the I-Card that was issued, even if they caught the wrong person, the person that they grabbed would be subjected to additional charges simply for responding to that terrifying situation.””
“The ACLU’s complaint, filed on behalf of the Portland Mercury, eight journalists, and two observers working with the ACLU, alleges that federal agents stationed at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse have joined local police in violating those principles. On July 12, for instance, federal officers shot photographer Mathieu Lewis-Rolland 10 times with “impact munitions” that left “severe lacerations, welts, and bruises all over his upper body.” According to the Geneva Guidelines on Less-Lethal Weapons and Related Equipment in Law Enforcement, such projectiles “should generally only be used in direct fire against the lower body of a violent individual when a substantial risk exists of immediate serious injury to either a law enforcement official or a member of the public.”
The complaint alleges many similar abuses by Portland police, including the gratuitous use of tear gas and rubber bullets, unprovoked beatings, unlawful arrests, and other interference with activities protected by the First Amendment. The ACLU says the plaintiffs who have suffered such abuse were clearly identified as journalists or legal observers.
The lawsuit also complains that Portland police have routinely violated Simon’s June 9 order barring them from using tear gas at the protests except when “the lives or safety of the public or the police are at risk.” Simon said tear gas should not be used simply “to disperse crowds where there is no or little risk of injury.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also the police commissioner, got a taste of his own medicine on Wednesday night, when he was gassed by federal officers while vainly trying to show protesters that he was united with them in opposing the Trump administration’s response to the demonstrations.
The protests in Portland have been happening every day since May 28, three days after a Minneapolis police officer suffocated George Floyd. The federal officers, who according to an internal memo have not been trained in controlling riots or mass demonstrations, were deployed by the Trump administration this month, ostensibly to protect the courthouse and other federal property. But as Nancy Rommelman notes, the federal presence seems to have inflamed the situation, provoking the vandalism and assaults on the courthouse that the administration now cites to justify its involvement.”
“Officials from US Border Patrol and other federal agencies, most of whom are not well-trained for handling mass demonstrations, have shot protesters in the head with “less lethal” munitions, launched tear gas, and arrested citizens far from federal property after stalking them in unmarked vehicles.
The problem for Trump, though, is that the seductive logic of quelling demonstrations using immense force has proven faulty. More of Portland’s residents are on the streets now than before federal agents arrived, and violent incidents have ticked upward, not downward. Despite those results, the Trump administration shows no signs of changing course in Portland, and may even export the strategy to other major American cities like Chicago.”
“That’s right. What we need to do in handling these protests, then, is really understand not only how crowds function but also how crowds react to what the police do. What we have right now is law enforcement agencies under the Department of Homeland Security in Portland just ignoring everything we know about how to do protest policing right.”
“Portland is a fascinating case study because the intensity of the protests and the numbers out on the streets had decreased pretty substantially before federal law enforcement showed up. Object throwing, fire setting, graffiti — all that increased dramatically after federal authorities arrived. So I don’t think anybody can make the argument that the federal authorities came to town and made things better.”
“these events are best handled by local authorities, not federal ones. The reason why is actually quite simple: If local police are playing the game correctly, they should already have a relationship with the leaders of the protest movement as well as other social justice groups.
The hope is that having those kinds of relationships prevents the situation from spiraling in the first place. But if it does start to go wrong, authorities can leverage those preexisting relationships to simmer things down pretty quickly.”
“No credible authority figure on policing protests is suggesting police shouldn’t arrest people who are engaged in violence or property damage. In fact, it’s the opposite: When people are engaged in that type of behavior, they need to be arrested and preferably now, not later.”
“The most potent form of communication the police can engage in, then, is to let protesters know they will facilitate a protester’s right to be there and behave peacefully and lawfully. However, the message should get across that those among the crowd who choose to engage in violence and property damage will be arrested.
That just needs to be a routine and repeated message. And if an arrest is made, authorities need to tell the crowd why they detained someone, because otherwise misinformation will spread.”
“Demonstrations usually have moderate protesters in them, people who are generally peaceful, law-abiding, and aren’t prone to engaging in violence or property damage. Of course, there are also typically some anarchists or people ready to cause trouble. The moderates and troublemakers may not agree on tactics, but they at least share a cause.
If law enforcement attacks the group as a whole for the actions of a few troublemakers, the moderates can start to embrace — or at least understand or appreciate — the strategies of those who are more radical. At that point, the crowd psychology shifts.
This is a key point, and where my recommended approach really comes into play: Law enforcement should want to avoid that shift. You want the moderates to stay moderate. You don’t want the fleeting social identities of the moderates to start to drift toward the social identities of the radicals.
The way I put this for police officers to understand is: “You need to win hearts and minds.” You’re not going to succeed with the radicals who are engaging in property damage, of course, but you just might win over the majority of the crowd.”
“A National Guard officer will testify Tuesday at a congressional hearing that the June 1 clearing of protesters outside the White House was “an unnecessary escalation of the use of force” and “deeply disturbing to me, and to fellow National Guardsmen.”
“From my observation, those demonstrators—our fellow American citizens—were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights,” Adam DeMarco, a major in the D.C. National Guard, will tell the House Natural Resources Committee, according to his prepared remarks. “Yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force.”
DeMarco’s testimony directly contradicts several of the Trump administration’s shifting explanations for what happened on June 1, when law enforcement violently dispersed a crowd of protesters in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. After police cleared the crowds, President Donald Trump conducted a photo shoot of himself holding a Bible outside St. John’s Church.”
“DeMarco testifies that around 6 p.m., Attorney General William Barr and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived.
“As the senior National Guard officer on the scene at the time, I gave General Milley a quick briefing on our mission and the current situation,” DeMarco writes. “General Milley told me to ensure that National Guard personnel remained calm, adding that we were there to respect the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.” (Milley has since apologized for appearing in Lafayette Square. “I should not have been there,” he said. “My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created the perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”)
At around 6:20 p.m., DeMarco continues, verbal warnings were given to the crowd to leave. But from where he was standing, about 20 yards away from the line of protesters, the warnings “were barely audible and I saw no indication that the demonstrators were cognizant of the warnings to disperse.”
Law enforcement rushed the crowd at around 6:30 p.m. Videos showed law enforcement assaulting an Australian TV crew. Media and other observers also reported being tear gassed.
The Trump administration says that protesters were throwing items at law enforcement, which DeMarco testifies he did not see. Park Police also emphatically denied they fired tear gas, claiming that officers instead fired smoke canisters and pepper balls, the latter of which are also a chemical irritant. But DeMarco says that tear gas was indeed used.”
“Twenty-six-year-old Donavan LaBella was holding a speaker above his head across from the federal courthouse in downtown Portland when one of a group of camouflage-clad federal agents threw some sort of smoking, flashing canister at him. LaBella rolled the canister away from this feet, into an empty portion of the street, then held up the speaker again. Suddenly there was a loud bang, then some sort of impact munition (a.k.a. “firearm-delivered projectiles,” such as rubber bullets or bean bags) flying through the air. Then LaBella falls to the ground. Other protesters come to his aid and drag him out of the street.
Video captured the whole horrifying incident.
“An American has been shot and sent to the hospital for apparently exercising his right of free speech,” marveled Steven Strauss, a visiting professor at Princeton.
Donavan’s mom, Desiree LaBella, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that her son had sustained skull and facial fractures and had to have facial reconstruction surgery. As of Sunday morning, he was responding to doctors and able to move his arms and legs.”
“NPR notes that “Wolf claimed there had been violence against officers in Portland. DHS later clarified Wolf was referring to fireworks shot toward officers as well as protesters pointing lasers at federal police. Several protesters in Portland were charged with assault on a federal officer because of those actions.””
“Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania who was the first person to serve as secretary of Homeland Security, also condemned Trump’s actions.
”The department was established to protect America from the ever-present threat of global terrorism,” Ridge, a Republican, told the radio host Michael Smerconish. “It was not established to be the president’s personal militia.”
Ridge said it would be a “cold day in hell” before he would have consented as a governor to what is taking place. “I wish the president would take a more collaborative approach toward fighting this lawlessness than the unilateral approach he’s taken,” he said.”
“The focus of the Trump administration in recent days has been on Portland, where there have been nightly protests for weeks denouncing systemic racism in policing. In the last few days, federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals, traveling in unmarked cars, have swooped protesters off the street without explaining why, in some cases detaining them and in other cases letting them go because they were not actually suspects. The protests have increased in size since the arrival of federal officials.
Trump’s deployment of federal law enforcement is highly unusual: He is acting in spite of local opposition — city leaders are not asking for troops — and his actions go beyond emergency steps taken by some past American leaders like President George H.W. Bush, who sent troops to quell Los Angeles in 1992 at the request of California officials.”
“At least eight people across the country were hit in the face with rubber bullets and other less-lethal projectiles during the May 30 anti-police brutality protests that erupted after the death of George Floyd. Videos of these partial blindings, which challenge official statements put out by the various police departments, were released yesterday by The Washington Post.
While many of the departments involved claimed to have deployed rubber bullets, tear gas, and other less-lethal munitions to disperse protesters who were throwing objects at officers, footage from the incidents show many people who were partially blinded posed no “obvious threat” to police.”
“The New York Times has looked over video footage showing the NYPD responding to protesters (some of which they gathered from Doucette’s feed) and found case after case of officers shoving, beating, and violently assaulting people who do not appear to be engaging in illegal behavior or, often, even resisting the police. They looked at 60 incidences of troubling behavior by NYPD officers in just the first 10 days of protests.
In one video, in less than a minute, the same police officer harshly shoves an unresisting protester to the pavement, pushes a cyclist, and then picks up and body slams a third protester who was standing and pointing at the gathered police officers as they were apparently breaking up a protest. In another, police beat a man on the ground after chasing him, and one even steps on the man’s neck, notable given that Floyd died from having an officer kneel on his neck for several minutes.
The Times looked over video of police just randomly lashing out and shoving people as they walked by them. They found a video of police officers slamming a man to the ground after he had been arrested and they were leading him away. They found video footage of an NYPD officer grabbing a man and hurling him into a parked car, but not arresting him, and just leaving his body on the street.
And despite the constant refrain from police that these are “isolated incidents,” the Times found behavior repeating itself and multiple examples of each questionably violent response from police.
The Times acknowledges that the videos lack full context, and we don’t see what happened before or after these violent outbursts. But they also note that the city’s policing guidelines order officers to use only the amount of reasonable force “necessary to gain control or custody of a subject.”
An NYPD spokesperson told the Times that four officers have been disciplined for their conduct during the protests in late May and early June, and the department is investigating 51 other instances of possible protest-related police misconduct. The spokesperson declined to actually watch or respond to any specific videos. The Police Benevolent Union that represents most NYPD officers also declined to respond to the Times.”
“”A lot of this was ‘street justice,'” Philip M. Stinson told the Times. Stinson is a criminologist at Bowling Green University and a former police officer who focuses on studying police use of forces. He saw many of these cases as “gratuitous acts of extrajudicial violence doled out by police officers on the street to teach somebody a lesson.” He described some of the tactics he saw as “sloppy” and “downright criminal.””
“protests, at their most basic level, raise awareness about issues that might not yet be in the mainstream. This might not sound all that important, but research by political scientist Deva Woodly of The New School shows that protest movements can fundamentally alter the way we talk — and think — about a specific issue.”
“There does seem to be some consensus in the literature that many protests are successful in spurring institutional change, at least at the federal level.”
“though protests may often be thought of as a last resort, they can also have important downstream consequences for elections. Wasow’s work and my own research shows that large, peaceful protests during the civil rights movement actually helped Democratic presidential candidates — a finding that Gillion and Stanford’s Sarah Soule have observed in more recent protests as well.
But of course, as we also know from Wasow’s research, protests can have unintended consequences”