For John, BLUF: When police do not act proportionally, the people will reject the actions of the police. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From the web magazine War on the Rocks we have an article on the problems in Ferguson, MO, by an Army veteran with experience in military policing. Mr Fritz is a doctoral student in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University. He knows what of he discusses. The article, "Ferguson and the Lessons of Conflict Zone Policing", is well worth reading.
Here is a key paragraph from the article:
There are some fundamental problems with what these police officers are doing and how they are doing it. Constitutionally, it appears they were trying to prevent the Ferguson’s residents from exercising their right to assemble, and it is pretty clear they are infringing on the rights of a free press. There is also a moral irony at play: the police are responding to a spontaneous protest about excessive police force with deliberate and organized excessive police force at a far greater level. But there are fundamental issues related to how we think about, how we form, and how we use police effectively that we can draw lessons from as well.The author points out that there are five levels of citizen insecurity:
- disorder, and
- normal crime
- uniformed general
- non-uniformed criminal investigators
- stability police
- armed units
- covert intelligence agents, and
- border police
… stability police – police with masks, shields, batons, and other nonlethal weapons – should handle disorder and armed police – police with assault rifles, sniper rifles, and other lethal weapons – should handle subversion and insurgency. These conclusions relate directly to something well known to anyone in military studies: the principle of proportional response.The situation in Ferguson is about why a young man was shot and killed by police, but it is also about how police respond to and handle situations where the Citizens express their anger via demonstrations. There are the short term issues, but also the long term issues. What will Ferguson be like in five or ten years? How will the police regain the trust of the Residents of Ferguson? I would think there might be changes in the City Council and in turn in what the City Council will and will not do for the Police Department.♠ Of course, the Residents of Ferguson have to actually get out and vote to have an impact.♥
Regards — Cliff
♠ From Wikipedia: "In the 2010 census, 29.3% were White and 67.4% were African American." [They meant Caucasian, I am sure.]
♥ It appears the Democrat Party has not served the People of Ferguson well. Now would be the time for Republicans in Missouri to step up.