One quick piece of news: DPD Chief Lopez showed up at the vigil last night in street clothes (confirmed by media outlets) to show his respects. Today I heard a rumor that the family had hoped that he would not attend. Big honking disclaimer: this is Internet hearsay, and could be totally inaccurate.
Regardless, the vigil itself was by all accounts peaceful and respectful. If I hear more I’ll update this post.
Now, some personal observations / thoughts on the protest. This is opinion. Feel free to disagree.
- I think the DPD nailed this one. They were really pro. Stayed out of the way when they weren’t needed, made their presence felt when they were, and they weren’t trigger happy. Well done guys.
- Weird thing – when I was tooling around on my bike, I had unmarked DPD cruisers hanging out with me. Guess they thought I was up to no good despite staying well away from the march. I waved at a few of them, but they didn’t stop to talk, so who really knows. If any of you plainclothes dudes are reading this, shoot me a tweet or something.
- The Herald-Sun may think I was somehow aiding the protesters by riding around. Seriously.
- This is a weird group of people. There were some harmless crunchy / peaceful / earnest folks in there, hoping to express legitimate concerns about police misconduct. There were some god-fucking-legit-scary “anarchists,” wearing masks, shouting “fuck the police,” and looking to break shit. There were some incredibly young kids just looking for a chance to screw around. There were tourists, like myself, just trying to make sense of it and taking pictures. There were undercover cops.
As for you earnest people; you want to protest city or DPD policy? There are real things to protest, this is good. This is a goddamn democracy. Make your voice heard. Here are some pro tips on how to protest, though:
- Try doing it in the daylight.
- Do it with a permit.
- Invite the police to attend. Uniforms are a plus.
- Invite the church dudes to attend. Robes and staves and funny hats and stuff are a plus.
- Ask the council to attend. You elected them, right? Make them work for you.
- Do not attend a non-permitted event, unless the event plans only actions which do not require a permit. For example: if you want to march in the middle of the road and block traffic, you can do that legally with a permit, but just showing up and doing it without a permit is illegal. Why would you want to break the law on something like this when it can be so easily avoided?
- If dudes at your event are wearing masks and wielding telescoping clubs? Maybe that’s not where you want to be, OK?
- Most importantly: do not let the kids looking to break shit use your earnestness as a shield for their petty crime. It undermines your cause and robs you of your legitimacy.