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As Riot Videos Circulate, Berkeley Police Cheif Defends Enforcement Stance

In what has become far too familiar of a scene in the current political environment, a rally in Berkeley, California devolved into chaos over the weekend. Pro-Trump supporters gathered for a “Patriot's Day Free Speech Rally” in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park and things got out of hand when they crossed paths with anti-Trump forces. As SFGate shares, the Berkeley police department has come under fire for essentially sitting back and watching the scene unfold into carnage.

Video footage of the incident has been making the rounds ever since, as fights broke out among the dueling protesters. Many observers are wondering why the Berkeley police department didn’t do more to get the situation under control, and Chief Andrew Greenwood has offered up some reasons.

“A fight within a volatile crowd is not a simple matter in which to intervene. Intervening on intermixed groups of armed participants fighting or eager to fight presents challenges. Intervention requires a major commitment of resources, a significant use of force, and carries with it the strong likelihood of harming those who are not committing a crime,” he wrote in a letter to Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

There’s certainly plenty of risk involved in intervening, and that risk shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, allowing that risk to overshadow the need to get the crowd under control could have allowed the situation to devolve even further.

“While there was respectful communication involving the organizer and two groups of supporters, this was not a substitute for participating in the Special Events planning process. This falls far short of the discussions which normally occur as part of the Special Events planning process, where plans for adequate security, first aid, and contingencies are routinely developed and mutually agreed upon,” Greenwood continued.

Ok then. While it would be lovely to have everything go according to plan, the cold reality is that we’re not always that fortunate. Additional resources can be called in rather quickly as needed, but the first line of defense remains responsible for getting things under control to the best of their abilities.

Source: SF Gate
Photo: Mad World News

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