Group proposes 'Rules of Engagement' post-Grand Jury decision

A large group of community organizers are anticipating street demonstrations when the Grand Jury decision is announced on the shooting of Michael Brown.   

Don’t Shoot Coalition, a group of about 50 organizations, most from in and around St. Louis County, Missouri, are preparing for possible street protests in the wake of a decision by the Grand Jury as to whether or not Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is indicted in the shooting of Michael Brown.

Here is the list of member organizations in the Don’t Shoot Coalition.

  • Advancement Project
  • AFGE Local 3354
  • Amnesty International
  • Antiracism Collective/Justice Institute
  • Coalition Against Police Crimes & Repression
  • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • Coalition to Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex (CAPIC)
  • Communications Workers of America, Local 6355
  • Drone-Free St. Louis
  • Faith Aloud
  • Future Fighters
  • IAMAW Local 1345
  • Instead of War Coalition
  • Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
  • JCS - St. Louis
  • Jobs with Justice, St. Louis Chapter
  • Justice Institute / Anti-Racism Committee
  • Latinos En Axion STL
  • Missouri GSA Network
  • Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates
  • Missouri NOW
  • Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition (Pro Vote)
  • Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment
  • New Black Panther Party
  • Organization for Black Struggle
  • Peace Economy Project
  • People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO) Network / Live Free
  • Sabayet 
  • Second Chance Freedom Foundation
  • Service Employees International Union Healthcare Missouri (SEIUMO)
  • Show Me $15
  • Show Me No Hate
  • Sistahs Talkin' Back
  • Southside STL Supports
  • St. Louis Catholic Worker Community
  • St. Louis Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations
  • St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace
  • St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
  • ThoughtWorks, Inc. (a software company)
  • UAPO
  • Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Veterans For Peace
  • #WeThePeople
  • Young Activists United - St. Louis

Here are their “Proposed Rules of Engagement” submitted to local police agencies:

1) The first priority shall be preservation of human life.

2)  Channels of communication will be established so that situations can be de-escalated if necessary.

3)  Police will give protesters 48 hours notice before grand jury decision is announced.

4)  Police will provide the public information that makes clear the chain of command, who is making what decisions and the processes for deciding when the police response will be escalated.

5)  Every attempt should be made to communicate with protesters to reach “common sense” agreements based on these protocols, both ahead of time and at the scene of protests.

6)  Clear standards of professionalism and sound community friendly-policing will be maintained and adhered to at all times.

7)  Police will wear only the attire minimally required for their safety. Specialized riot gear will be avoided except as a last resort.

8) Crowd control equipment such as armored vehicles, rubber bullets, rifles and tear gas will not be used.

9)  Police and other government authorities will not interfere with the free flow of information through tactics such as limiting cell or internet access, interception of cell or other mobile conversations or unwarranted wiretaps.

10) Every attempt will be made to pinpoint arrests so that only individual lawbreakers will be arrested.  “Kettling” and mass arrests will not be used.

11) Safe houses shall be considered sacred ground and only entered by police when called upon or if extremely necessary.

12) Media and Legal Observers shall not be considered participants in protests and shall be allowed to do their jobs freely.

13) Every attempt will be made to provide alternate routes or other means for non-involved persons to get to places of employment and meet other transportation necessities.

14) Strategically, police commanders will allow protests to take and occupy larger and more disruptive spaces than would normally be tolerated, and will allow occupation of those spaces for longer periods of time than would normally be tolerated.

15) Police will be instructed to be tolerant of more minor lawbreaking (such as thrown water bottles) when deciding whether to escalate the use of force.

16) Police rank and file will be instructed to provide every latitude to allow for free assembly and expression, treating protesters as citizens and not “enemy combatants.”

17) Excessive force and other forms of police misconduct will not be tolerated.

18) Intimidation and harassment of protesters will not be tolerated. This include pretextual pedestrian or traffic stops, contacting of employers or family members, pre-emptive arrests or detention of “leaders,” publishing of private information and any other means of intimidation and harassment.

19) Bond for arrestees will not be set above the levels which would be considered average over the last two years, and arrestees will not be held for periods longer than average lengths of time.  Medical care will be liberally made available.  Attorneys will be able to travel to and meet with clients without impediments.

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