If you haven’t read FEMA’s Field Force Operations PER-200, then you are unprepared for #DisruptJ20 or any other serious protest effort.
It’s a real snore in parts, but knowing police tactics will:
- Eliminate the element of surprise and fear of the unexpected
- Enable planning of protective clothing and other measures
- Enable planning of protests to eliminate police advantages
- Enable protesters to respond with their own formations
among other things.
On Common Police Formation
While reading Field Force Operations PER-200, I encountered several police formations you are likely to see at #DisruptJ20.
The crossbow arrest formation is found at pages 48-49 and illustrated with:
A number of counter tactics suggest themselves, depending upon your views on non-violence. Passive resistance by anyone who is arrested, thereby consuming more police personnel to secure their arrest. Passively prevented the retreat of the arrest team and its security circle. Breaching the skirmish line on either side of the column, just before the column surges forward, exposing the flank of the column.
Requirements for the crossbow arrest formation
What does the crossbow arrest formation require more than anything else?
Yes, the police formations in Field Force Operations PER-200, including the crossbow arrest formation all require a crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, crowds can be a good thing and sometimes the only solution. Standing Rock is a great example of taking and holding a location against all odds.
But a great tactic for one protest and its goals, may be a poor tactic for another protest, depending upon goals, available tactics, resources, etc.
Consider the planned and permitted protests for #DisruptJ20.
All are subject to the police formation detailed by FEMA and the use of “less lethal” force by police forces.
How can #DisruptJ20 demonstrate the anger of the average citizen and at the same time defeat police formations?
Parallel Distributed Protesting
Instead of massing in a crowd, where police formations and “less lethal” force are options, what if protesters stopped, ran out of gas, had flat tires on the 64-mile DC Beltway.
I mention the length of the Beltway, 64 miles, because it is ten miles longer than marches from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama. You may remember one of those marches, it’s documented at The incident at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
On March 7, 195, Representative John Lewis, Hosea Williams and other protesters marched across the Pettus bridge knowing that brutality and perhaps death awaited them.
Protesters who honor Lewis, Williams and other great civil rights leaders can engage in parallel distributed protesting on January 20, 2017.
Each car slowing, stopping, having a flat tire, is a distributed protest point. With distributed protest points occurring in parallel, the Beltway grinds to a halt. No one enters or leaves Washington, D.C. for a day.
Not the same as the footage from the Pettus Bridge, but shutting down the D.C. Beltway will be a news story for months and years to come.
Lewis, Williams and others were willing to march into the face violence and evil, are you willing to drive to the D.C. Beltway to stop, run out of gas or have a flat tire in their honor?
PS: Beltway blockaders should always be respectful of police officers. They probably don’t like what is happening any more than you do. Besides, their police cruisers are also blocking traffic so their presence is contributing to the gridlock as well.