Dietl’s experience as a New York private investigator gives him a unique understanding of what leads to violent behavior. This is one reason why Bo criticized police Captain Ron Johnson for his response to Fox News regarding the protests in Ferguson, Mo. that stemmed from the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police officer Darren Wilson.
According to Dietl, the captain used the right tactics to disperse the rioters, but he sympathized with the protesters about their rage over Brown’s killing. It is easy to incite an angry crowd into violence, and by expressing sympathy, the captain gave them more motivation to take matters into their own hands.
The U.S. Constitution gives people the right to protest perceived injustice – but not violently or at the risk of innocent people’s lives and livelihoods. However, the protests in Ferguson involved looting, assault and other criminal activities.
The event caused the police to militarize. Though rare, police militarization becomes necessary in violent scenarios that endanger the American public. The local police are the first responders to riots and violent protests.
Ferguson police used rubber bullets, smoke bombs and tear gas to stop the riots. According to reports, these measures are mandatory when fighting terrorist activities, and violent protests fall into the same category. In Ferguson, the police force was under direct threat from the public, who were throwing Molotov cocktails at them.
The Department of Defense has been distributing mine-resistant armored vehicles to police departments since 2006. It has also provided aircraft, machine guns and other armored vehicles in a bid to protect America from domestic terrorism. With this equipment and the lessons learned from Ferguson, law enforcement is more prepared than ever to deal with the complex nature of violent protests.