Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, August 15, 2014

Radley Balko, Washington Post: The events these last few days in Ferguson, Missouri, ought to be of grave concern to anyone who believes in the First Amendment, and specifically the rights to free speech, protest, and assembly. As you may have read, last night was particularly ugly, as police arrested a St. Louis alderman, Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly, and our own Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery. Police also tear-gassed a news crew from Al-Jazeera. There are also reports, video, and images of police teargassing, arresting, and otherwise intimidating peaceful protests all over the town.

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While it's true that there have been incidents of rioting, looting, and violence directed at police, the initial protests against Michael Brown were peaceful. The only hint of violence at those first protests was described by an Associated Press reporter, who claimed to have heard chants of "kill the police." That report has since been disputed by people at the protest, who have suggested that the AP journalist misheard other chants. From what I can find, that report was also never confirmed by any other journalist. The problem lies in how local police responded to that initial protest. They brought out the full riot arsenal.

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I'm not sure why they need to respond at all. So what, let them protest. Looters should be tracked down and prosecuted. Peaceful protesters should video and turn in instigators. Whenever cops are out in force wearing combat gear, they're just begging for confrontation. What are they protecting? Plate glass windows and tv's? Is it really worth killing people over??

#1 | Posted by DeadSpin at 2014-08-14 05:45 PM | Reply | Flag:

Is it really worth killing people over??
#1 | POSTED BY DEADSPIN

Store owners would say yes. Makes you wonder why they have insurance.

#2 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2014-08-14 05:56 PM | Reply | Flag:

Honestly, protesters should discipline their ranks and punish looters. When the rest of the community sees them do that they will be taken seriously and so will their issues be.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2014-08-14 10:17 PM | Reply | Flag:

How in the hell are the protesters going to punish the looters?

#4 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2014-08-14 10:19 PM | Reply | Flag:

#4 | POSTED BY RSTYBEACH11

A strongly worded missive would probably do the trick.

#5 | Posted by Lohocla at 2014-08-14 11:58 PM | Reply | Flag:

#5

LMFAO!!!!!!

#6 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2014-08-15 12:15 AM | Reply | Flag:

I think the way it went down last night with the state police in charge was a pretty good way of handling it. If they're able to keep the peace and keep demonstrators focused on their message it could set the tone for how other PD's respond.

One things for sure. the way the local cops first came out is NOT the way to deal with it. LAPD and NYPD needs to watch this closely.

#7 | Posted by DeadSpin at 2014-08-15 10:56 AM | Reply | Flag:

"How do we respond?"

Cordon off the town to prevent agitators from 'piling on' or looters from 'gettin' theirs'. Let the protesters protest their hearts out..break windows, rob stores, hold prayer vigils, overturn cars...whatever. When they've worn themselves out and burned their neighborhood to the ground, escort the shop owners and businessmen back into the war zone to recover what they can, get insurance companies to assess the damage, and then move to a better neighborhood. Do NOTHING to repair any of the damage, clean up the debris, put out the fires...nothing. What's the old saw...don't crap where you eat?

#8 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-08-15 02:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

One handles a protest differently from a riot. Once it is determined that a protest has crossed the line and becomes a riot, the gloves must come off.

#9 | Posted by MSgt at 2014-08-15 02:09 PM | Reply | Flag:

I think the police department in Ferguson didn't go far enough. Tear gas and rubber bullets are fine. Billy clubs, German Shepards and multiple arrests are better. If it took a reenactment of Kent State, so be it. Law and order is not a vice.

#10 | Posted by lee_the_agent at 2014-08-15 06:58 PM | Reply | Flag:

If it took a reenactment of Kent State, so be it. Law and order is not a vice.

#10 | Posted by lee_the_agent

Leave it to a true conservative to wax nostalgic about police brutality in the name of continuing an unjust war.

#11 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-08-15 07:26 PM | Reply | Flag:

I think police should respond by grabbing a donut, sitting in their squad cars, and reading the Constitution. Specifically, the bit about "the right of the people peaceably to assemble."

#12 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-15 08:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

Specifically, the bit about "the right of the people peaceably to assemble."

#12 | Posted by snoofy

The "conservative" copy of the bill of rights begins with the second amendment and then jumps straight to the ninth and tenth.

#13 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-08-15 08:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

Wilson believed that an intimidating police presence didn't prevent confrontation, it invited it. That didn't mean he didn't prepare, but he put his riot control teams in buses, then parked the buses close by, but out of sight of protesters. Appearances were important. - FTA

Simliar to Snoofy's, but more proactive..... This is great advice, go in with plain clothes officers... put the "milcop" out of sight...

hope for the best, plan for the worst.....

#14 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-08-15 09:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

This is great advice, go in with plain clothes officers...
#14 | Posted by AndreaMackris

That doesn't makes any sense. Nor does it seem reflective of what Wilson did, or any of the success stories in the article did.

Can you explain how you'd expect undercover police to build community trust?

Look at the highway patrolman who defused things in Ferguson. He was in standard uniform, not the militarized SWAT one. He was armed only with his sidearm, and he wasn't pointing it at anybody. He treated the people like he was there to protect them, not there to protect the city from them.

#15 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-15 09:56 PM | Reply | Flag:

#4 | Posted by rstybeach11
"How in the hell are the protesters going to punish the looters?"

I was thinking, "How in the hell are they going to discipline their ranks?"

#16 | Posted by TheTom at 2014-08-16 12:22 AM | Reply | Flag:

These protests were all obviously a sham and conspiracy to overthrow the legitimately elected police force by a Washington backed coup.

Oh wait...

#17 | Posted by sentinel at 2014-08-16 08:48 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

Look at the highway patrolman who defused things in Ferguson. He was in standard uniform, not the militarized SWAT one. He was armed only with his sidearm, and he wasn't pointing it at anybody. He treated the people like he was there to protect them, not there to protect the city from them.

#15 | POSTED BY SNOOFY AT 2014-08-15 09:56 PM | REPLY | FLAG:

And the rioters took control. The truth hurts.

#18 | Posted by RobThomas at 2014-08-16 04:21 PM | Reply | Flag:

And the rioters took control.
#18 | Posted by RobThomas

Sad, but still an improvement over the local police playing Rambo.

#19 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-16 05:30 PM | Reply | Flag:

To sum up, the police should respond to protest in such a manner that the protest doesn't become a riot.

They're not very good at doing that. They're pretty good at making sure protest become riots, though, by launching tear gas at peaceful protests.

#20 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-16 05:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

Some protests are destined to become riots. Im sure a few of you were smart enough to see this coming. Or, at the very least have to acknowledge the fact you knew it was a possibility.

#21 | Posted by monkeylogic42 at 2014-08-16 06:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

The other way police should respond to protests is by breaking their habit of gunning down people with relative impunity.

#22 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-16 06:37 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

How bout people stop committing felonies? How bout people stop breaking their stuff and others possessions in 'protest'? how bout the media stop sugar coating said felonies by calling strong-arm robbery loot merely "unpaid"? Well, duh, might as, might as well ask why is a tree good? Why is the sunset good? Why are ----- good?...

#23 | Posted by monkeylogic42 at 2014-08-16 07:26 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Yeah, how about it?

What's any of that nonsense got to do with how police should respond to protests?

#24 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-16 07:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

Like I said before. Ferguson was purposely inflamed so that other things in the MSM would not be covered. The media wants Israel off the front page and the great American divide on the front page.

#25 | Posted by Robson at 2014-08-16 08:15 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

If the police actually served the masses they would respond by doing nothing at all. Of course we know who they really serve.

#26 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-08-16 10:25 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

How does a protest turn into a riot?

1. The rioting was preplanned by the person(s) who organized the protest.

2. Agents Provocateurs were planted into the protests by the local or national law enforcement.

3. Law enforcement chose to stop the protest by any means necessary.

Hints for protesters: know the person next to you. If he hands you a stick or a brick, drop it and point him out to the others. Do NOT steal, break, or burn other people's property. The first people in the protest who behave this way are likely cops, so be careful. Frankly, if I was protesting, and I saw somebody I did not know breaking the law, I would be out of there fast.

Hints for cops: First, do nothing but observe the crowd. Watch for the noisiest protesters. At the first sign of a crime, detain THAT person, and let the others continue. If the protest turns into a march, continue detaining violent and abusive protesters. Do NOT hassle the press or the clergy. Finally, do not show up as Seal Team Six wannabes. Wear a vest under your uniform shirt, and carry light weapons, like your pistol and taser. Act like cops, not an occupying force.

Remember that after the protest, no matter what happens, cops and protesters have to live with the aftermath.

The whole world is watching now that we have the Interwebs. Try not to embarrass yourself or your town.

#27 | Posted by john47 at 2014-08-17 09:51 AM | Reply | Flag:

Is it really worth killing people over??

#1 | POSTED BY DEADSPIN

Seems to me when a person attacks an armed person the decision has already been made by the person doing the attacking.

#28 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-08-17 06:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

#10 | Posted by lee_the_agent

Sad the war protests went that far but it did put an end to the violent protests. I spent some time training with a baton and gas mask when I was in the service but never had to face a bunch of college kids.

#29 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-08-17 06:30 PM | Reply | Flag:

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