RNC Police: Looking backwards

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by Grace Kelly on MN Blue • I am an equal opportunity critic, More thought and reflection will be needed, however here is the first pass at looking at the police effort before looking at other efforts.

Cabbages and Kings is a multi-author TC Daily Planet blog that offers space to interesting but hard-to-categorize blog submissions, in the sole discretion of the editors.

1) Good: After the first day the police stopped chasing, and simply blocked and directed. This meant that when police finally did arrest someone, the adrenaline had a much better chance of being down. Less adrenaline hopefully means less violence in the arrests.

Policy: Keep the policy of no chasing, more herding, more waiting

2) Bad: Darth Vader cops were the worst idea ever. People need to see faces and especially eyes to connect. I walked in the calmest peaceful parade on labor day which had many folks of all types and ages. Yet when they came upon that first corner of “At Attention” Darth Vader cops, there was shock, horror, fear and above all, anger! Males particularly seemed to cue into the testosterone challenge. So simply the sight of the Darth Vader cops alone, was enough to provoke anger. At least have Darth Vader cops take off the helmets if not in any danger alert.

Policy change: Shelve the Darth Vader cops for crimes that basically are more than just vandalism. Use more bicycle cops. If using Darth Vader cops for a parade that has been peaceful, take off the helmets.

3) Good: The horse cops seem to be the best combination of power with good presence. People like looking at the horses. In the worse confrontation, I saw a person brush a horse. Then the cop said, “You’ll spook the horse”. Then the person said, “Sorry”. The circle of horses protected the Darth Vader cops in the center. How sick is this? We trust and respect horses more than cops. The bicycle cops also seemed to have a good presence. Their helmets were not seen as armor. People expect to make way for bicycles. The Darth Vader cops taking the same path, were seen as a deliberate intrusion.

Funding: Keep a troop of horse cops even if it cost more

4) Bad: My deepest anger, reflected in the community, was the hiding of all personal identification on cops, we could not see who was who, or even what department they were from. That lack of identification combined the free pass caused by ten million dollar protection from being sued, basically meant a free pass.

Law: All cops must have unit and a unique personal identification number visible at all all times, the number must be easily readable at 5 feet.

5) Good: At the first night at poor people’s encampment and at Meer’s Park sign encounter, I basically saw the policy taking the time to talk, to allow people to process and actually make a decision.

Policy: Train cops more in diplomacy and community policing

6) Bad: At both of these encounters, there was a huge massing of force that could only be described as mass intimidation. One squad would have fine, I saw a multiple squads including the the Darth Vader troops.

Policy: Back off the intimidation, unless you really want cops to be hated

7) Good and Bad: I saw a horse cop (a lady) sit calmly on a horse under extreme provocation. I also saw on a film, cops mace a girl offering a flower. And the cops maced that girl – twice! Both sides were heavily into the provoke game. Since I am an advocate of peace, I think provocation is a form of violence, so I watched. Yet I could feel the currents within myself that wanted to respond. So here I am, trained to center and be calm, while the cops are over there, who are normally trained to act, having to wait. Do we train cops in waiting calmly?

Policy: Add waiting and calming training.

8) Bad: Instant punishment was meted out by cops: Mace, tear gas, flash bombs, questioning, intimidation, arrests for no cause , very tight wrist bands, pain in pressure points. The closing down of houses for code violations.

Policy: Test for provocation response, Screen out cops who want to hand out the punishment.

9) Bad: No observation is allowed in jails. So no one can testify as outside observer on how people are being treated. In the times of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, how crazy is that?

Law: Require access and third party observation at all of our jails.

10) Bad: People are allowed to be dropped off far from everywhere, with missing ID, missing keys and missing stuff. Checks are substituted for cash which then cannot be cashed without ID. Even without official arrest, injured minors dropped off in the middle of nowhere, having to beg strangers to use a cell phone to call for help.

Law: Require that release people are allowed first a another phone call, and have a choice of being dropped off where they were detained/arrested or a convenient operating safe place of transportation.

11) Bad: Whoever was in control was basically not identified and we suspect federal control. Why should any city resident want to fund police if they are going to be used for this kind of policy?

Law: Who is in charge should be clearly identified and not hidden. Basically we should disband our local police before ever allowing them to be used this way again. The mayor and the city council lost control.

12) Bad: In Denver, the police arrested only when they had to. I thought it would have been terribly funny if when a group had blockaded an entrance to a freeway, what if we had simply put up cones up and redirected traffic. Let them cook all day out there all day and all night, until they gave up, with no one paying attention,

Policy: Sometimes lack of attention is a better policy

13) Bad: When you only have a hammer, that is all that you can use. Police only have force for crowd control. What if we had a squad of peacemakers. What if a squad of friendly smiling officers with those over happy friendly golden retrievers surrounded a mischief making group. I think there should be some positive ways to break up crowds. A squad of these would cost much less than the Darth Vader troops. Imagine the great press, if a group of friendly dogs and smiling officers had let people know that it is time to go home.

Mayor, city council, police policy: Explore adding other methods that are not force

14) Bad: Every party convention looks this way. Until we are again a democracy, with appropriately open and democratic conventions, NO MORE CONVENTIONS.

Mayor: Go build a statue of yourself, forget party conventions!

15) Bad: How many incidents of people dying or being mis-treated at our county jail, do we tolerate before we make changes?

People: Are you going to re-elect Sheriff Fletcher?

14) Bad: Police are a tool of force. When the people in power order, the police reflect the values of those in power.

People Action: Vote those in power out. Support citizen journalism, civil rights organizations and mainstream media that reports fairly. Above all, pay attention.