What to Expect from the Police at a Protest (9 times out of 10)

When it comes to keeping order, the police have more to do than hand out speeding tickets and shut down parties. 

Sometimes, the police help keep protests from inhibiting the everyday lives of those living in the community. 

In America the right of the people to assemble and protest is recognized by the state. 

Now, this doesn’t mean the government won’t try to implement control.

No matter what, the police will be at the larger protests no matter what. Whether or not it’s a good thing depends on the circumstances.  

Related News: Several arrests made following protest for Andrew Brown, including 2 reporters.

What Brings the Police to a Protest? 

Before a large group can begin a protest, they may have to do a lot more than gather people and get their message out. 

Depending on the situation and the size of the protest, organizers must obtain permits and approval from the city or state

One of the top priorities of any organizer is to ensure the safety of anyone participating. 

That is when the police come into play in a good way. 

Learn about Your Right to Be Heard

The Role of the Police During a protest. 

Look, a lot of things can happen during a protest. Sporadic violence between protesters and counter protesters can break out. Radical groups intermingling in the protest to cause harm to others E.g., black blocs.

Even violent radicals looking to harm the protesters will try to strike from the outside. 

When a protest has gone through the process of receiving permits and is not spontaneous the police have time to create a perimeter, plan and set up precautions.  

By doing so they’re not only making it harder for you to light up a joint, they are also ensuring the safety of protestors and counter protesters. 

Blocking off parts of the streets and escorting protesters not only keeps traffic flowing as smoothly as possible, but prevents vehicles from slamming through a crowd

In America, having the freedom of speech recognized by the state is what helps make us the greatest nation on Earth. By having a proper police presence at protests and public rallies that right can be protected. 

The Effect of the Government During a Protest.  

Most protest are not against companies supporting tyrannical regimes or people’s feelings on the economic structure. Protests are usually organized in opposition to the actions of the state. 

During times of civil unrest, the Mayor or Governor may issue a state of emergency. A state of emergency will grant the government powers it would not have under normal circumstances. 

The state grants itself these powers to “protect us”. 

One of the reasons a state of emergency will be issued is to keep the police force from being worn out and stretched thin by the spike in demand a protest causes.

By calling in officers from around the state or even the national guard. The state can also ensure their presence is intimidating to people that would seek to cause destruction. This extra boost in force would allow for a phalanx to easily be formed if needed to control crowds. 

Thus, order is maintained. 

Usually when a state of emergency is put in place and police presence is ramped up things only escalate. 

Curfews Are for Children. 

Do you want to unconstitutionally restrict the freedom of people not even involved in a protest while making the protesters feel unwelcome? Put a curfew in place

Yes, I remember the most damaging protest to date that took place last year, for most of the summer. 

It doesn’t take a degree in social engineering to see that the curfews did little to stop the damages. 

The purpose of a curfew is to ensure the safety of the citizens and protect property, during times of civil unrest. The consequences of a curfews is that they just cause more agitation from demonstrators. 

Enforcing curfews motivates the police to engage in aggressive behavior that they would not have indulged in otherwise by placing ambiguous limits on acceptable force. 

Worst of all, the police do not discriminate during curfews. 

People’s freedoms are imposed on through the presence of force, regardless of your participation or not. If you do not obey, they will initiate force or arrest you. 

The kid gloves even come off when the press is involved, leading to another unconstitutional outcome by coercing the press with force.

Unfortunately, no reliable studies exist that show the effectiveness of curfews during a protest. 

If curfews are passed with our best intentions in mind, who can protect us from these best intentions?

It’s simple, a Sheriff or members of a police force can challenge unconstitutional laws

Too many people describe their experiences with curfews as threatening for them to be considered a legitimate tactic. 

The Good, The Bad and the Not So Pretty. 

It’s true, when police go out to a protest things are pretty complicated. 

It’s not clear to the demonstrators or the officers who will get arrested or pushed around. 

It is a hubris task in its nature, attempting to protect everyone from each other and protect yourself from them while serving the agenda of political leaders that you may or may not agree with.  

Leadership from politicians during these times can give the wrong message. Often speaking in a condescending nature as they infringe on the freedoms of American citizens

But the goal of the officers is to keep the people and the town orderly and safe as the protests carry on. Despite violent outliers the police do a great job protecting their communities during times of civil unrest.  

Bottom Line: Cops Genuinely Want Protests to be Peaceful. 

You should expect the police to be protecting the demonstrators as they attempt to discourage the situation from escalating. These should be the people you go to if an emergency arises

In the circumstances created by a state of emergency police officers are expected to “do their Job”.  

Truth is, most cops just want to keep the peace. 

Yet, the problem is when people get more than what they already expect out of their police. 

In my opinion, politicians and Sheriffs are the ones that we should expect more from. 

In an age when accountability for an officer’s actions is a daily subject the people granting powers and giving orders remain unscathed.