Success on Police Policies
I'm glad to report that the Council strongly supported my motions to strengthen the Police Policies resolution this morning.
We reinstated the complete prohibition on rubber and plastic bullets fired from conventional guns (this excludes the only less-lethal projectile the MPD uses, a 'foam round' that is fired by a different sort of weapon).
We added new language prohibiting MPD from subjecting law abiding demonstration organizers to disparate enforcement actions, and targeting law abiding persons not engaged in demonstrating, including journalists, camera people, and legal observers, for enforcement actions.
We clarified the protections I got added back in at PS&RS last week, making explicit that cameras may never be destroyed or tampered with, and may only be confiscated in compliance with 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. We also clarified that the use of tear gas, pepper spray and less-lethal projectiles may only be used if that specific level of force is reasonable (not a generic 'use of force').
The votes on almost all of these amendments, and the vote on the final resolution as amended, were unanimous. It is better than I expected and means that many of the protections of that were superseded last Council meeting have been re-instated to some extent.
I know a lot of people helped raise this issue and clearly I would not have been successful today it it hadn't been for people contacting Council members and the press about this issue. We managed to get there together, and I'm proud of the result. It's taken a lot of effort and energy, but I am hopeful that we now have a collective understanding about how the Council expects the MPD to respond to protest groups at the RNC and on into the future.