Police, Protesters Argue over ‘Rules of Engagement’ Ahead of Ferguson Decision

Wesley Lowery and Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post, November 18, 2014

Following weeks of intense negotiations, local police officials and Ferguson protesters have agreed to a dozen policies for how any future protests will be policed–but have yet to reach consensus over whether tear gas and riot gear will be used or whether the protesters will get advance notice of when the grand jury will announce its decision regarding Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson.

The negotiations have centered on 19 “Rules of Engagement” proposed by a coalition of 50 community and civil rights groups in an effort to avoid the violent clashes that brought worldwide attention to Ferguson after the shooting of a black teenager in August.

The list is largely a docket of best police practices, such as “the first priority shall be preservation of human life” and “excessive force and other forms of police misconduct will not be tolerated.” In general, protesters have agreed to peaceful demonstrations if police don’t interfere, while police have agreed to respect demonstrators’ right to assemble as long as there is no violence. ​

Negotiations on Tuesday continued to stall, however, over seven of the proposals, including the coalition’s request to give protesters 48 hours’ notice prior to the grand jury announcement.

The three police departments–called the “unified command” for police response to protests–have also not agreed to the coalition’s request that police be dressed in minimal gear and that tear gas, tactical vehicles and rubber bullets not be used, a coalition leader said.

{snip}

It is also unclear whether the unified command will agree not to employ mass arrests during peaceful protests, and not to escalate the response when dealing with minor criminal offenses such as a water bottle being thrown at an officer–which was the precipitating factor for tear gas being deployed on at least one night during the protests in August.

{snip}

Other leaders of the unified command include St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson and St. Louis County Chief Jon Belmar. Johnson said coalition leaders will now discuss negotiations with their members–including some counterproposals on some items–and return to the unified command to hopefully reach a final agreement by Friday.

The tentative agreement came on the same day Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon took a step toward addressing long-term community concerns by appointing 16 members to the Ferguson Commission, a newly crafted and diverse body charged with proposing systemic and policy changes in response to the outrage following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

“These are issues that run deep in our community, and deep in our country,” Nixon told reporters after appointing the commission members

“Clearly, we live in a society where there are existing inequalities. This presents us with the opportunity to address [them] maturely but aggressively.”

The commission will be co-chaired by the Rev. Starsky Wilson, who has been active in the protests and is well known in regional philanthropic circles, and Rich McClure, a prominent member of the St. Louis business community.

The commission has been given until September 2015 to issue a comprehensive report of policy recommendations, but also has the option of issuing recommendations on a rolling basis.

The co-chairmen said they plan to use the commission to probe the city/county government structure–which, in the months since Brown’s death, observers have often pointed to as a source of many of the systemic inequities in the region.

{snip}

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  • The tentative agreement came on the same day Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon took a step toward addressing long-term community concerns by appointing 16 members to the Ferguson Commission, a newly crafted and diverse body charged with proposing systemic and policy changes in response to the outrage following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

    It’s full of the kind of people that Jay Nixon would appoint to such a job. It’s not diverse; with one possible exception, it is full of people that won’t tell the truth.

    The only “systemic and policy changes” that need to be made “in response to…the shooting of…Michael Brown” is to make it clear to large heavy men that they’re liable to be shot and killed if they run directly at shorter lighter cops (or shorter lighter anyone that’s armed) like a freight train.

    • DonReynolds

      This “diverse body” by no means suggests a diversity of viewpoint, merely a collection of out-of-state radical leftist blacks and the Usual parties.

  • RacialRay

    The arrogance of these cretins is astonishing. I can just imagine the reception I might get if I walked into my local precinct, told the officer on duty that I was about to go across the street to hold up the local Starbucks, and then presented him with a list of “rules of engagement” that law enforcement should abide by in my apprehension and possible incarceration.

    Yeah, that would go over well.

  • phorning

    How shameful for the Washington Post to continue to have Wes Lowery report on this story after he made himself apart of it in August.

  • MekongDelta69

    An ROE?! Are you kidding me? Here’s my ROE:

    Protestors: “We be riotin'”

    Cops: “Light ’em up”

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    “excessive force and other forms of police misconduct will not be tolerated.”

    I see.

    The police must follow Marquess of Queensberry Rules while the protesters throw molotov cocktails, urine, feces and frozen water bottles at them while burning, looting, rioting and destroying property with complete impunity.

    Any act of self-defense by the police will be considered racist police brutality.

    Police have been forced surrendered.

    Hope the White residents of Ferguson haven’t.

    Only one rule needed: Police will shoot to kill anyone found looting.

    Well, maybe a second one too for law-abiding citizens.: Never be unarmed.

    St. Louis “Coptalk” forum:

    “If you do not have a gun, get one and get one soon. We will not be able to protect you or your family. It will be your responsibility to protect them. Our gutless commanders and politicians have neutered us. I’m serious, get a gun, get more than one, and keep one with you at all times.”

    – A Concerned Cop (anonymous)

  • LIBERTYSINCURSION

    It’s as if the media and especially the so-called “protesters” are working from their very own completely made up reality. Which dictates that rioting, assaulting police, looting stores, burning those stores to the ground, destroying private property and assaulting innocent citizens because they’re White, is some how not violence? Their arrogance is astounding, just look at some of the crap in this article below.

    “The list is largely a docket of best police practices, such as “the first priority shall be
    preservation of human life” ( Me: Which it always has been for the police. ) and “excessive force and other forms of
    police misconduct will not be tolerated.” ( Me: Which it never is and never was. ) – ( Me: Now here comes the protesting rioters part of the agreement. ) In general, protesters have
    agreed to peaceful demonstrations if police don’t interfere, while
    police have agreed to respect demonstrators’ right to assemble as long
    as there is no violence.” <- Sounds fair enough, right? But then comes this idiotic demand which shows they have no intention of conducting a peaceful demonstration.

    "It is also unclear whether the unified command will agree not to employ
    mass arrests during peaceful protests, and not to escalate the response
    when dealing with minor criminal offenses such as a water bottle being
    thrown at an officer." – THAT'S ASSAULT A**HOLE!!! What they are saying is essentially this. "We want to assault your police officers by throwing things at them and we demand that we not be arrested for it. And beyond that we also demand, and expect the media and even your police officers to continue to refer to us as "peaceful protesters".

    Oh yeah, and in another one of their demands. They demand "that police be dressed in minimal gear" while being assaulted by the protesting rioters throwing stuff at them. The immense arrogance of these protesting rioters is truly stunning, and the stupidity of the way the media and the political class have handled this, is utterly contemptible.

    • As it turns out, the “great” militarized police of Ferguson weren’t really that militarized. For the most part, they were duly and properly responding to riots or proto-riots.

      • LIBERTYSINCURSION

        “For the most part, they were duly and properly responding to riots or proto-riots.” <- See, there's your problem right there, friend. You're looking at this from the perspective of reality, and what really happened. What you need to do is to look at it from their perspective, and pretend that these were peaceful protesters rather than violent rioters. And just so you know, insisting on seeing the world as it is, rather than as you're told it is. Is a clear and unmistakeable sign that you're probably a racist. Besides, reality is overrated anyways, and make believe is just so much more fun.

    • DonReynolds

      You are absolutely correct. These rules of engagement are not intended for peaceful protests. The rioters are demanding a free pass to act without police interference. Restore order. They can explain it to the judge.

  • MBlanc46

    Rules of engagement? The rules of engagement in civilized society are that you obey the law or you get arrested.

  • Since I am not allowed firearms, my rules of engagement involve pepper spray and a box-cutter.

    • Xerxes22

      You can also use an axe, mace, war hammer, bow and arrow, slingshot, or a samurai sword, just to name a few. You have a lot of choices in weapons.

    • DonReynolds

      Mr Scott…..dear fellow……there are 32 matches in a box, which you can buy for a nickle or a dime, depending on where you shop.

  • Earl Turner

    It may cost some white lives but Mayor Slay’s surrender to the African Americans* telling them to “be yourselves!” was the best gift he could possibly give to us. The state controlled media won’t be able to conceal the Blackness on display. Probably won’t even try. I promise you, folks, there will be many many eyes opened if it goes as bad as predicted.

    * I call them African Americans because they create Africa wherever they gather. It is an appropriate name.

    • DonReynolds

      The ONLY African-Americans are those persons who were born in one of the 53 separate countries of Africa and later came to this country to be naturalized as US citizens. They may be whites from South Afrika or Rhodesia or any of the other former colonies. They may be Arab or Berber or Egyptian. Very few blacks in the USA could properly be called African-American.

      • Earl Turner

        I agree, but I like to use African American all the same, with us who can see all knowing what it really means, which is that wherever you have African Americans you have Africa.

  • DonReynolds

    SINCE WHEN do we negotiate with terrorists and criminals over rules of engagement?????? Outrageous!

    As best I read this, rioting has become a sporting match…..almost an Olympic event…..with all due care made to assure the rioters that they will not be harmed or inconvenienced. This makes it much easier to recruit cannon fodder….when you can assure them that the cannons will only be shooting Nerf balls!

    Here are my rules of engagement:
    1. Looters will be shot on sight.
    2. Anyone refusing to disperse after being ordered to do so by the police, will be arrested.
    3. Anyone inciting (or directing) a riot with a bullhorn will be taken into custody immediately.
    4. The police, et al, will use the equipment, gear, and resources at their disposal to contain the riot and suppress insurrection.

  • A b lack savages’ definition of ‘peaceful protest’ = rioting, looting and burning down buildings.

    White people need a country of their own.
    Northwestfront(dot)org

  • I made three of those, but they are not concealable.

  • I doubt it has occurred to these “activists” that in nations where the police are seen as weak or corrupt, vigilante death squads tend to crop up. Kansas in the 1850’s comes to mind as a US example.