A LESSON IN HOW TO HANDLE STREET PROTESTS

Here, via the following excerpt from Adam Ferrise\’s article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is the intelligent way to handle a street protest.

Cleveland police arrested 71 people during a day of protests on Saturday following the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo.

Police Chief Calvin Williams said on Sunday that about 39 are men and at least 16 women were arrested. Juveniles and were also arrested during the protest, Williams said. A police spokeswoman said she expects to release more detailed information on who was arrested.

Formal charges could ultimately include obstructing justice, aggravated rioting, unlawful congregation and failing to disperse, Williams said. One person was arrested on suspicion of felonious assault, Williams said. It\’s unknown if those who were arrested are still in police custody or when they will be arraigned.

“We only moved into make arrests when things got violent and protesters refused to disperse,” Williams said. “We wanted to make sure people understand we are going to help you in this process, but if things turn violent, we will take action to preserve safety.”

Williams said they are reviewing videos taken by police, protesters and others to determine who will be criminally charged and what charges they ultimately will face.

Do you see anything there about prohibiting or in any way constricting legitimate protest? 

Neither do I.

Do you see anything there about giving street thugs “space to destroy”?

Neither do I.

Was it his own inherently good judgment that caused Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, aided by Police Chief Calvin Williams, to so capably handle street protests after police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter relating to the 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams?  Was it because he learned from the impossibly incompetent, irresponsible way Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake handled protests over the death of Freddie Gray?  We\’ll never know for sure.

But what\’s the difference?  Either way, under Mayor Jackson\’s stewardship, and Chief Williams\’ command, protesters were able to make their feelings known unimpeded, and no free pass was issued for street thugs to riot, loot and burn.

My congratulations to Mr. Jackson and Mr. Williams for a job superbly done. 

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