Saturday, June 06, 2020

Stopping To Think

     I didn't post this yesterday (though I will backdate it), because I wanted to stop and think things over.  I wanted to develop a timeline.

     The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department did some very good work in the past week.  And they did some things that didn't work out -- the initial response to protesters downtown last weekend was extremely adversarial and appeared to increase tensions.

     They also did things that were wrong.  Pepper-spraying a protester who doused an officer with the contents of a water bottle looked excessive; and then a video emerged of IMPD arresting a couple of young women, ostensibly protesters, for being out after curfew.  It wasn't a calm encounter on either side; but one side was lightly dressed and unarmed, while the other was armored and had -- and used -- greater numbers, pepperballs, nightsticks, hands, knees and handcuffs.

     The video made the social-media rounds without much context.  It finally emerged that it happened last Sunday, before the march to the Governor's residence, before the IMPD changed their approach from confrontation to co-mingling and low-key situation management, and hard on the heels of nights of rioting, dumpster fires and looting. 

     Our local paper has a timeline of events.  The incident is being investigated and I guess we'll see how it is handled.  This shouldn't be swept under a rug.  Emotions were high, there's no question about that, but when one group of emoters has qualified immunity, deadly weapons and less-leathal weapons, I think they also have a lot more responsibility to be the "adults in the room."

     It probably should have been a teachable moment -- but if so, it still took a Deputy Mayor to explain the lesson and help apply it, last Monday.  It has been sticking so far and I hope IMPD will build on it.


Will said...

Hi Roberta,
I suspect that if IMPD trained their officers to follow this sort of policing method, the rioting might not have occurred. At the least, the basis for it wouldn't be there for agitators to use:

Whatever said...

Turned out to be water. Unknown in the instant. Pour a bottle of ‘unknown substance’ over me and I’ll shoot you in the face.

So, it seems restraint was show.

Rick said...

Agreed! Could have been acid. A split second decision being second guessed hours or days later.

Roberta X said...

Woulda, shoulda, coulda -- wasn't.

There needs to be a lot more second-guessing before reacting and a whole lot less avoidable confrontation. When police act like an occupying army, people treat them like an occupying army. Does that sound like a desirable outcome to you?