In city after city, police mishandled Black Lives Matter protests

In Philadelphia, police sprayed tear gas on a crowd of mainly peaceful protesters trapped on an interstate who had nowhere to go and no way to breathe. In Chicago, officers were given arrest kits so old that the plastic handcuffs were decayed or broken. Los Angeles officers were issued highly technical foam-projectile launchers for crowd control, but many of them had only two hours of training; one of the projectiles bloodied the eye of a homeless man in a wheelchair. Nationally, at least eight people were blinded after being hit with police projectiles…

Almost uniformly, the reports said departments need more training in how to handle large protests. They also offered a range of recommendations to improve outcomes in the future: Departments need to better work with community organizers, including enlisting activists to participate in trainings or consulting with civil rights attorneys on protest-management policies. Leaders need to develop more restrictive guidelines and better supervision of crowd control munitions, such as tear gas. Officers need more training to manage their emotions and aggressions as part of de-escalation strategies…

Reviewers more often found that officers behaved aggressively, wearing riot gear and spraying tear gas or “less-lethal” projectiles in indiscriminate ways, appearing to target peaceful demonstrators and displaying little effort to de-escalate tensions. In places like Indianapolis and Philadelphia, reviewers found, the actions of the officers seemed to make things worse.