Big March Planned Downtown Today; Cop Talks "Crowd Control" Philosophy



seriously, that would've taken longer to read than I am assuming this march will last.
I damn near started dry heaving while reading this. I’ve met Bob Day before and he didn’t strike me as a moronic sorta guy, but this is all terribly disconnected from the reality of crowd control.

Day makes it sound like crowd control is some sort of elaborate dance that police are directing. It’s not. It’s chaotic mob actions both by the police and by protestors.

Until you witness the vengeance in a police officer’s eyes as they strike someone, you really can’t understand the fury and enthusiastic brutality these people unleash. It’s appalling and wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been struck or hit while my back was turned, while I was standing around and watching something else. Or, watched a 6’5” cop strike a 5’2” 20-year old girl with a baton. It’s completely fucked. To complicate the sickness of it all, the protestors are usually out there to express genuine grievances (no matter how misguided they are), few protestors, even the Black Bloc, go out into the streets with the specific purpose of property damage. I’ve never met a protestor who went out with the specific purpose of hurting someone – and yet, everyone is treated with violent blows as if causing 10-minute traffic delays is tantamount to murder and should be punished with beatings.

Day says, “I don't go into these things felling like it's us against them.” – Well, Commander Day, some of your men certainly do have this mentality. Some of them take crowd control deeply personally.

Truly, the Portland Police have gotten better at crowd control, but they are still plagued with incidents where their officers take actions that are obviously unconstitutional, unnecessarily violent, and extremely provocative to the crowd. Many of the specific incidents I’m thinking of are a part of a hidden set of policies that the police officers clearly use, for example: for one odd reason or another, the cops are absolutely terrified that a crowd (even a crowd on a sidewalk) will try and go across a bridge, even lawfully cross a bridge. Why in the hell is that prevented? And, if they have a good reason, then use that goddamn bullhorn and start explaining it, not just threatening people with arrest, or pushing and shoving, and not saying why. I’m actually really intrigued by the action tonight, and I hope they can cross the bridge without incident. Other times, police officers seemingly at random will block a route and fail to communicate that to protestors – all the crowd sees is a line of riot cops assemble and thump their sticks in hand – and the crowd just marches right into them. They have a bull horn, just explain, “Hey hippies - due to vehicular traffic on this road, we will not allow you to march there. Go down to 3rd, or up to 5th, and continue on that way.” A show of force just provokes and angers people; but deep down I think many of the police officer love intimidating the shit out these left-wing kids.
Because, of course, keeping traffic moving and getting where you want to go is much more important than free speech.

Free speech and and getting to where I want to go are BOTH important. You should be free to speak, but it's not your right to stop the world around you just because you think you have something to say.

Given how demonstration-happy Portland is, I think the police GENERALLY do a good job, especially the leadership. Unfortunately, on both sides it just takes one asshole to give everyone else a bad name. One officer starts pushing too hard and suddenly the police become the target of the protest. One asshole protester throws a bottle or shoves an officer too hard and it gives police cause to bust out the tear gas.
I agree Aestro. A big reason I don't go to things like this anymore is because of all the assholes, protestors and cops included. It's amazing what happens to people when they put on a mask. Just look at the internet. It's like 4Chan in real life.
@FAX: That last thing you said might be the only smart thing you've ever said.
@Graham, thanks Man. Happy Vday to you, too. I love you.
"They're very effective and non-confrontational method to help move crowds along. You can take five or six horses and move people without having nightsticks and so forth at the ready."

Not because anybody's intimidated, you asshole. We just don't want to hurt the horses.