How Can Community, Police Work Together To Ensure Protests Are Safe?

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 3:15pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 3:24pm

Tonight, the Phoenix Police Department is holding the third of 13 listening sessions aimed at fostering a dialogue between the community and law enforcement.

That attempt at creating conversation comes after President Trump held a rally in downtown Phoenix, and a protest outside ended in police dispersing the crowd of thousands with tear gas and pepper balls.

Police said officers made the move after a small group of protesters among the thousands began throwing rocks and bottles at the police, and the crowd began to run.

Just a week later, many of those protesters took over a Phoenix City Council meeting demanding accountability from the police.

So, with tensions and stakes high, where can the community, and the police, go from here? And how can they work together to ensure protests are safe spaces to express political speech on both sides in the future?

We wanted to dig into these issues a bit so we spoke with Michael Scott, the director of ASU’s Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, and Rashad Shabazz, an associate professor at ASU’s School of Social Transformation.

Shabazz was at the protest last month, and Scott spent much of his career working in law enforcement. We started with what kinds of tensions — and history — underlies these kinds of protests.

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