I’ve seen a few comments minimizing the events in Ferguson when compared to riots in Europe. I want to counter that argument with some audio footage I took of North County on New Years of 2014. There is one big difference that separates these riots from otherwise similar events in Europe. Listen to the audio and see if you can figure out what the major difference is.
If this is how the community celebrates, what do you think the community looks like when it gets angry?
A few months ago, St. Louis County put on a free training for local members of law enforcement called MACTAC. The training took about a day each time and was usually separated into to what they called, “Phases.” The first phase was specifically geared toward active shooter/school shootings and mass casualty incidents.
However, the most recent MACTAC training split the day in half with the morning being about active shooters and the afternoon being about Riots/Crowd Control. Crowd dynamics and psychology were discussed at length. The philosophy behind using various formations to disperse a disorderly crowd were also analyzed.
What I took away from the training at the time, was that St. Louis County was tired of having to call out their tactical team to respond to every protest in the region. They specifically cited recent largely peaceful protests in front of Monsanto in Creve Coeur. Instead of using the tactical team, St. Louis County hoped that they could rely on contingents of local municipal police officers to respond to Code 1000 and 2000 aid calls to handle these types of events.
At the end of the day, they gave everyone a riot shield and baton while they had the St. Louis County Tactical Unit simulate an unruly crowd while we worked on the commands and formations we discussed during the classroom portion of the training. It was largely jovial and not many people took it seriously.
Like many present at the training, I rolled my eyes and went through the motions. I thought to myself, “I’ve never seen a riot before and I doubt I ever will.”