Crowd Management and Civil Disobedience
by Sue Basko
Back in 2003, police in some major California counties and cities used this manual to learn how to respond to civil disobedience (an unlawful event with a demonstration), unlawful assemblies, and riots. The booklet is a little old, but it is still useful to see how these things are planned. Actually, this is golden, and anyone planning to run or participate in a big protest in California should read it.
Topics include chemical agents, dispersal orders, and use of force. The booklet also gives a very comprehensive list of Penal Code sections that are often used in crowd or riot situations, which includes the now infamous Lynching section.
Needless to say, but I am saying it anyway, recent video out of the Oakland and San Francisco areas show police whacking people with bully clubs just because they can, and firing weapons at people who are standing around doing nothing. Someone sign them up for a course in crowd management, please. The West Coast is starting to look way too much like a scene out of a despot-run nation.
Protesters should also learn from these booklets that if they want to avoid turning demonstrations into meaningless "police vs protesters" dramas, they can actually conduct protests in such a way that they follow the law. Imagine that! Being peaceful and law-abiding does not give the same adrenaline rush as starting things on fire or laying down in traffic, but it might be more effective protest. It is normal boring people who are usually in positions of power to change things, so you may want to appeal to their sensibilities.
For more information about what police do in protest situations, please see:
Anonymous vs PERF, where you can download the PERF report.
This gives useful information on police best practices nationwide.
Oakland Police Crowd Dispersal Policy - This is a gem!
Detailed, comprehensive, well-written. A must-read for the protest planner.