(courtesy donshootsti.org)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 29, 2015

Don’t Shoot Coalition Calls For Police Restraint In Interactions With Youth
Rules for Engagement With Youth introduced as Michael Brown shooting anniversary approaches

St. Louis, MO  – The Don’t Shoot Coalition, consisting of nearly 50 local organizations formed in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown, have released Rules for Engagement with Youth regarding police engagement with young people engaged in demonstrations, sit-ins and other protest activities . . .

“As school is out and the anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting approaches, more young people will take to the streets to engage in protests and express their views. It is incumbent that the community, especially the police, approach this with wisdom, restraint and foresight.” said Denise Lieberman, Don’t Shoot co-chair and Senior Attorney for Advancement Project. “Police have the opportunity to shape this formative experience, whether positive or negative.”

The Don’t Shoot Coalition has expressed growing concerns about the treatment and safety of young protestors in light of recent incidents of police aggression. The unprovoked May 29 tasing of protestors by St. Louis Metropolitan Police, is just one example demonstrating the escalation, unpredictability and inconsistency with which police treat young protestors.

Don’t Shoot leadership has reached out to the police departments of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and several North County law enforcement agencies to discuss guidelines for interacting with youth.  Talks with some of those agencies are underway, and the Coalition is hopeful that will accept its offers to confer.

With these concerns in mind, the Don’t Shoot Coalition urges special training for police regarding their interactions with youth.

“Police should approach youth with respect and restraint, viewing youth protest as a ‘teachable moment’ in which young people learn how to express their views and exercise their constitutional rights,” said Don’t Shoot Coalition co-chair and Executive Director for Veterans For Peace Michael T. McPhearson.

“Unfortunately, too often we see police escalate otherwise manageable situations,” said McPhearson. “We see the clear need for area-wide training to increase positive outcomes in such interactions.

The Rules for Engagement of Youth follow below.

Rules for Engagement with Youth

Every police officer and law enforcement agency engaging with youth protestors this summer should:

Make serving and protecting youth the top priority.
Treat young people like they would want their own children treated by others.
When in doubt about an individual’s age, err on the side of caution and assume that individual is a juvenile.
Demonstrate humane understanding, displaying firmness when necessary but not rigidity, in order to build better rapport and relationships.
When possible, remove barriers to dialogue and connection such as helmets, weapons and shields.
Allow teens to “vent” and discuss options rather than cracking down quickly with “failure to comply.”
Create emotional “exit routes” as well as physical ones in interactions and confrontations with youth.
Act with an understanding that humiliation or disrespect will only create defiance.
Deflect and de-escalate anger rather than confronting it head on. Humor and self-deprecation can be effective with youth in this regard.
Be open to listening and hearing. Avoid personalizing or attempting to debate protesters.
Maintain adequate distance to ensure that clear space is created to allow for self-expression.

When orders are necessary, give adequate time for teens to absorb the information and respond.
Refrain from intimidation tactics (such as tapping of shields) when children are present. Do not use fear to compel compliance.
Keep physical force to an absolute minimum. Physical restraint must be commensurate with size, strength and condition of the individual.
Refrain from using mace or tasers on youth.
Respect a juvenile’s right to have an adult present when questioned.
Respect a juvenile’s right to special protections when detained.
Ensure that police throughout the St. Louis region receive training on the Effective Policing of Youth model.

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85 Responses to Don’t Shoot Coalition: Rules for Police on Upcoming Michael Brown Shooting Protests

  1. How’s this for a RoE:

    Don’t do things that would cause someone – anyone – feel they have to shoot you.

  2. Respect a juvenile’s right…

    – To know they will not be tried as an adult.
    – To pop some caps with impunity
    – To be called “teen” until they are 37
    – Blame someone, anyone, for something they did.
    – unmmmmm [fill in the blank] PRIVILEGE

  3. Cops are not right all this time. No one is. However, poke a bees nest with a stick, expect to get stung.

    Duh.

  4. Meanwhile, the
    “Hands Up-Don’t Loot” coalition of store owners is arming up for the next wave of the “I Support Mike Brown by Looting and Burning” crowd…

  5. Immediately deposit these RoE in the circular file. How about a “Don’t throw sh!t at the Police Coalition” instead.

    • This is exactly what I was thinking. What kind of a mental reject would expect anyone to just stand there and let a mob of morons and thieves throw shit at them? I definitely wouldn’t be a happy camper having to stand there and take abuse from them.

        • Non-violence was only a part of the campaign. That said, keep in mind that Ghandi and the non-violent protesters knowingly volunteered for the scenario they entered, much like the non-violent folks in the civil-rights movement.

          The police have not volunteered to have bricks thrown at them without responding.

        • Gandhi’s method only worked because the British Empire wanted good PR. I guarantee had he tried that against the German military of the day, it would have been put down with Teutonic efficiency and today no one would know his name.
          As for the HUDS crowd, I’d be a nervous (and heavily armed) shopkeeper, based on their prior actions.
          Here’s hoping their protests go over like a shart.

  6. You know, I actually don’t have any problems with those suggestions for police. On the other side, their rule should be that protesters should not break the law. If everyone does his or her part, violence will be prevented.

    • Goes both ways eh? Shocking concept. It’s almost like life is a two way street, no better time to learn as when you are a juvenile. Also, don’t f$&@ with the police, even nice cops don’t want to hear a teenagers bulls$&@, that’s what parents should be for.

    • The “law” is (obviously) whatever flavor sh_t our justice system says it is day-to-day, let them be the ones to clean their plate and lick the bowl and spoon on that one. I SMELL JUDAS GOAT in this matter. Don’t waive your right to peaceable assembly, or [later] organized revolt, just because some a-holes are getting paid to protest by satan’s house of (D), and they want you to sanction the response of POLICE AT ANY PRICE.

      Fdat.

      YOU DON’T FALL FOR IT EITHER 5-0. Your badges are just a shield small enough for you to cram, un-lubed, up your a_ _ , if ever you get to feeling like that little shiv of metal elevates you above the people you have petitioned to serve.

  7. Translation: Police should give the protesters space to destroy.

    Hey, it worked out well in Baltimore, and sooner or later it will work out just as well at a city near you.

  8. Put the bastards over your knee and apply paddle. If that had been done years ago perhaps they’d have some respect. My middle son thought he was a man to scream in my wife’s face at 14. He found out back of hand from a mad 5’0 115lb woman hurts. I wouldn’t take it from my own kids sure not from kid raised improperly. No respect for self or others.

  9. Most police already do all of these things.

    The primary problem is actually that bad actors aren’t be outed by their peers, they aren’t being prosecuted, and they aren’t being fired or black-balled.

  10. When did it become a police problem that people attack or resist or fight them when they are trying to enforce the laws of their communities? My dad told me ” Do what they say, follow the officers instructions. You can win in court, but you gotta survive to get there.” You can maybe take out one, 5 more are coming.

  11. When possible, remove barriers to dialogue and connection such as helmets, weapons and shields.

    Hello police, we think some folks may be mad at you and protesting against you. Would you please disarm yourself, it will make it easier for the protestors to “vent”. Oh no, forget about those cops murdered….

    • Exactly! Take off your helmets and put away your shields. It will be much easier to throw a brick into your head or you face. If I were a cop in a situation like this I would never do that. And if my superior told me to I would tell them I am calling in sick that day. All it takes is one bad actor on either side and there could just as easily be fatal injuries to the police as to the protesters. The person who wrote this seems like another one of those liberals that live in a make believe world where nobody ever hurts anyone else. There are many cases where agitators come in from outside these communities to stir up the protesters and get them to riot. One of them would be very likely to throw a brick or to get someone else to throw one. Peaceful protest is fine but if someone breaks the law they need to pay for doing that. Hope someone has a lot of cameras recording in case something happens. If it does, they should go back and prosecute anyone who did damage to property or another person.

    • If wolves had outside thy gates thost shouldst have said ‘Good porter, turn the key. All cruels else subscribe, but I shall see winged vengence overtake such children…

  12. Now now posters. Don’t get yourselves all worked up! These poor little children of god need to flex their muscles about something!
    We must pamper them, and let them beat up the poor police folk.
    And you parents out there, make sure your teen gets in and to bed before 4AM, least they develop nasty habits.
    And if nothing else works, just stomp the crap out of the little farts!

  13. Can’t we just have a special snowflake area to bust,burn and steal? Kinda’ like Boy Scouts or 4-H camp?

  14. I represent the liqour store/7-11/Quickie Mart robbery local 121, meth heads united. I have a list of rules for the police when engaging my misunderstood clients. After all addiction is a sickness and you don’t cure sickness by beating or shooting the afflicted.

  15. You know, for all the negative comments this article is getting I’d be willing to bet few if any of them are coming from current LEOs. I am a law enforcement officer, I’ve worked a year and a half in corrections and am currently attending a certified LE academy. MOST of these points are pretty common sense to people within the corrections world, they apply to adults too. The golden rule is king, treat others the way you would want to be treated. I’ve gotten far more respect and cooperation from inmates by using my verbal and non verbal communication tools than I have using the ones on my belt. Law enforcement is about mission accomplishment, and that mission in this case is preserving the peace, not doling out street justice. Consider this: I realize that most people of the gun aren’t the protesting type, but if it were YOU who was pissed about some new BS gun regulation and decided to protest, how would you want law enforcement to react to you?

    • Wanted to add that I agree with most of the article but not all of it. Taking off your protective equipment is f*cking dumb. Officer Safety above all else.

      • “Officer Safety above all else.”

        And that attitude right there is how we got to where we currently are…

        • How so? Above all else may have been a totalitarian statement, obviously mission accomplishment comes before officer safety to a certain extent.

        • “How so?”

          No-knock raids where flash-bangs are tossed into an infant’s crib where they explode, maiming them.

          Countless LE dash-cam videos of Officer Jack-Boot shooting family pets that are not threatening them in the least.

          The near universal attitude of LE considering themselves to be above the, and this is a quote, “civillians”, when they themselves are no better than those very civilians they are supposedly serving.

          There is a very strong ‘Us against them’ attitude in LE today.

          Add to that the military grade hardware and special forces type training for their SWAT teams and a very dangerous militarization of police is brewing.

        • You are going off of incidents that make headlines. People who write headlines follow the motto “If it Bleeds, it Leads”.

          For every one of those incidents where you see an officer violating his oath he swore to his community by violating a citizen’s rights, there are a thousand more where an officer helps an old lady with her groceries, saves a man from a burning car, takes away an abusive husband so his wife and kids don’t have to live in fear anymore.

          Unfortunately no one cares about the good things cops do anymore because none of that is exciting or shocking so those stories don’t make headlines.

          By the same logic you are using mass shooters make all gun owners bad people. They used AR-15s to do bad things, the militarization of the citizen’s arsenal must be a bad thing. You rarely hear about a lawful concealed carry or home defense shooting. But a mass shooter will always make headlines. See where I’m going with this?

          Of course I don’t agree with that BS. Not all gun owners are bad people. Not all cops are bad people. We’re people, just like everyone else. There are good people, bad people, and people who make mistakes. And there are good cops, bad cops, and cops who make mistakes, just like everyone else.

        • (Edit window never showed up)

          “Above all else may have been a totalitarian statement…”

          Bingo.

          “obviously mission accomplishment comes before officer safety to a certain extent.”

          Mission accomplishment above all else is what’s the problem…

        • Not when you factor in that performing your duties while not violating any citizen’s rights is what most of law enforcement would consider mission accomplishment. You screw up and violate someone’s constitutional rights and that’s considered a major malfunction.

    • Presumably any protest that we got involved in would not involve shooting, throwing bricks, fighting, or violent interactions with the police.

    • He’s talking about the fact Officer safety is claimed when officers shoot handcuffed suspects, shoot dogs that are behind fences, kill 12 year olds with airsoft guns etc.

      • Shooting (or using any force on at all really) a handcuffed man is a huge no-no. I’m sure that officer was punished both by his department and also likely by the civil and criminal court system. His life might as well be over.

        The other two scenarios, shooting dogs through fences and kids with airsoft guns… There’s a lot more than just those two pieces of evidence that adds in to the totality of the circumstances. Did the officers who shot the dog have a need to get into that back yard in order to serve a warrant on it’s owner? Was the dog being aggressive? And with the kid, was the airsoft gun equipped with an orange tip to distinguish it from a real one? Was the kid just walking with it or did he point it at the officers? Was the area of town known for criminal activity? If a middle school aged kid points what you perceive to be a real weapon at you, are you going to wait to find out and potentially be killed, leaving your wife and kids without a provider and a father figure in their lives?

        It’s shitty that a law enforcement officer has to make life or death decision within milliseconds and the armchair quarter backs will judge him for it for years to come. We all accept it as a calculated risk that comes with the territory.

  16. Where’s the list of rules for how the youths should behave during said protests, that might help them avoid negative interactions with LEO?

  17. How about we put the members of the Don’t Shoot Coalition stand on the front line? You know, for the experience…

    • You’re talking about law enforcement action here, not Marines clearing houses in Fallujah. At some point every law enforcement officer in the country has wished they could be a little more heavy handed. But we can’t, and contrary to popular belief it’s counter productive. The idea is to preserve the peace, not turn a riot into a firefight.

    • Oh snap, I thought he wanted the protestors to crush the LEO opposition. Actually, I think there will be proper entertainment for all.

  18. Dear future looters, thugs and otherwise misguided youth,

    As property and business owners trying to provide goods and services to the greater St. Louis area, we believe that publishing the following list of guidelines will help you in dealing with the honest, upstanding and taxpaying members of the community.

    We support your right to free speech and to publicly assemble, providing that you do so peaceably, on public property or with the express consent of the private property owner and do not restrict the general populous from freely going about their business.

    Trespassers will be shot.

    We feel that these simple guidelines will ensure the safety of all parties involved.

    Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

  19. As a cop. I support and defend your right to free speech, to protest, to demonstrate, and to assemble. Peaceful acts of civil disobedience do not bother me. Want to stage a sit-in? March down Main Street? Go for it, but be prepared for the possibility of meeting the police. If you do meet the police, don’t resist. If your assembly has been declared unlawful; please disperse peacefully. If you don’t; prepare to encounter encouragement to make you leave.

    Please do not use civil disobedience as an excuse to start looting and burning down a city (unless you live in Baltimore).

  20. The sad thing is that any police at all should have to be told these things.

    I’ll add another: don’t enforce any law just because it’s the law; law is a tool to be used to keep the peace, not a god to be sacrificed to.

  21. Anything associated with the Mike Brown fraud is tainted.

    This coalition is of the usual far left public employment unions, Palestinian and CAIR activists, and other cultural Marxists.

    That they encourage young blacks to burn their own neighborhoods means they’re evil.

  22. So, to put it simply (ie: without all of the new agey crap and mind-numbing psychobabble): “coddle the poor innocent little darlings, lest the harsh reality of the world hurt their fragile little feelings”.

    • Actually, all they really said whether they realize it or not is for law enforcement to keep doing what they’re doing. Unfortunately they probably believe that this guideline might change something, but it won’t. There will still be dozens if not hundreds of incidents involving perfectly justified use of force and maybe one or two excessive force cases. Then again, their definition of justified use of force is probably a little different than ours, law enforcement’s, and the supreme courts.

  23. viewing youth protest as a ‘teachable moment’ in which young people learn how to express their views and exercise their constitutional rights,”
    Sounds like the Mayor of Baltimore.
    It is going to be a long hot Summer.
    Burn baby, burn!
    Good TV entertainment, get some popcorn to cook over the burning CVS store.

  24. “As school is out and the anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting approaches, more young people will take to the streets to engage in protests and express their views.
    Well, they sort of got that one right as more people will protest by raiding Best Buy and burning down CVS.

  25. What about rules of engagement with police for the youth side?
    -Be courteous and respectful, even if you feel the police do not deserve it.
    -Don’t use a protest as an excuse to commit a crime (such as helping yourself to electronics which have not been paid for or destroying someone else’s property).
    -Do not throw threaten the police.
    -Do not throw things at police. Many objects can be dangerous or even deadly should they hit someone in the wrong way, or if too many are thrown together. Further, the police may not always know what was thrown, and may assume that any thrown object is use of deadly force that would justify them responding in kind.

  26. “Police should approach youth with respect and restraint, viewing youth protest as a ‘teachable moment’ in which young people learn how to express their views and exercise their constitutional rights.”

    This is what’s wrong with our country today. Shouldn’t the parents have taken responsibility for teaching their youth how to express their views and exercise their constitutional rights? Shouldn’t they have also taught them to interact with others (including law enforcement) respectfully? The progressive answer is obviously “No.”

    • I was about to post that quote myself.

      If they want ‘respect and restraint’ they need to exercise it themselves. Approaching police (or anyone for that matter) in a hostile, aggressive manner is not likely to garner ‘respect and restraint’.

    • Police are relatively new (first started in 1829 in London). Was all of human history anarchy until the last 185 years?

  27. I cannot help but draw a mental comparison between the image of this guy in the post and jihadis that wear head bands and face covering just like that… probably not the image they want to portray.

  28. When possible, remove barriers to dialogue and connection such as helmets, weapons and shields…Seriously?

  29. Unbe-fucking-lievable! The Don’t Shoot Coalition is named after a now proven lie. Micheal Brown did not have his hands raised in surrender, and he never said, “Don’t shoot!,” yet they continue to promote this myth a year later, and even name their group after it? How about Don’t Strong-arm a Box of Blunts From the Convenience Store Coalition? Or Don’t Try to Forcibly Take a Police Officer’s Gun and Shoot Him With It Coalition? How ’bout that?

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