Chicago police to deploy range of protest tactics
Old, new tactics are planned to control protests outside the upcoming NATO summit
CHICAGO — Chicago police are planning a range of tactics — some old, some new — to control protests outside the NATO summit scheduled for May 20 and 21. A look at some crowd-control techniques and the department's position on them:
EXTRACTION: Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says officers will attempt to extract individual lawbreakers from crowds to keep problems from escalating. He says the department does not want to disperse crowds.
CUT TEAMS: These teams will be dispatched to separate protesters who have chained themselves to each other in so-called "sleeping dragon" maneuvers to block vehicle or pedestrian traffic.
SOUND CANNONS: Long-range acoustical devices (LRADs) emit ear-piercing noise to paralyze or disperse crowds. McCarthy says he intends to use the devices only to get protesters' attention so police can better communicate with them.
TEAR GAS/PEPPER SPRAY: McCarthy has publicly raised doubts about the effectiveness of tear gas as a crowd control tool. Each officer will be equipped with pepper spray, but McCarthy says it should be used only to thwart assaults on officers.
CORRALING: Police sometimes surround a crowd so no one can move, a method known as "kettling." Chicago officers detained hundreds of people this way during an Iraq war protest in 2003 and recently paid more than $6 million to settle resulting lawsuits.
BICYCLES: Officers use their bikes for mobility but also to create a barrier to crowd movements. Chicago police used this tactic during a recent May Day march.
WARNINGS: During an Occupy protest last year, police methodically issued warnings to individuals and groups of protesters before making arrests. McCarthy says that method again will be used, if possible.
SHIFTS: Police will rotate officers off the front lines to guard against frayed nerves and fatigue that might contribute to confrontations with protesters.
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