It strikes me that what we’re having here in the troubles between protestors and police lies in our respective expectations. No speaking as a (potential) protestor we are largely out to peacefully protest. Dang the fools who just have to be rude and belligerent, we just want to be heard. The police on the other hand are apparently seeing us as lawbreakers, and they are taught just one way to handle lawbreakers. You know, thrash ’em.
It essentially comes down to a matter of how our police are trained to handle people like us. A matter of how they are taught to consider us and as a result of their consideration how to treat us. To the cops we’re causing trouble and they need to be rough in order to discourage such behavior. We aren’t teaching them to think of us in any other way and so of how to treat us in any other way. Our calls to see the police de-escalate a situation is asking them to see the situation as one that needs de-escalation instead of as one that just needs a good bashing.
You get right down to it, what I’m seeing is a case of poor training, poor training by parties who assume that anyone out protesting against an action or an attitude has to be a criminal and needs to be treated as a criminal, and tear is just one way to treat a criminal according to the authorities. So when we ask an officer of the law to de-escalate a situation we’re asking him to act against his training.
So what can we do?
Something new. Something outrageous. Something you likely can’t think of as possible because you don’t see of it as our job. Like maybe de-escalating matters ourselves?
You know, reach out to the cop. Say hello, tell him or her your name. Maybe a, “Hi, my name is thus and so, can I help you?” It likely won’t work every time, but at least it’ll give you evidence you can use against the callous and rude.
By and large we like people, we tend to act favorable to those friendly to us. Oh, not everybody; I tend to get overwhelmed myself but that’s my autism. But still for the great majority of us being greeted by a friendly person is disarming.
In short, what say we stop treating the police as the enemy? Something tells me their superiors would just love to be able to take a street officer and ask him just why he had to assault an innocent civilian. They’re supposed to save that crap for the bad guys, not inflict it on Joe Citizen. Again it won’t work in every case, but then you may likely get allies from among the police. And when you put up your taping of some officer’s acting out see about getting the reaction of other officers to this. A simple “What do you see?” with nothing else could surprise you in the responses you get.
So to keep this short, de-escalate. It’s not just their job it’s yours as well.