In essence, Nashville's police department made a decision to treat the protests like a parade, an event at which the law enforcement role is to provide security, not confront danger.Police even shut down a highway for the protesters when protesters were going to walk on it:
Anderson further noted that arresting protesters one by one would have taken hours; instead, after about 25 minutes, police reopened the highway, and protesters continued on their way.In Richarond, California:
Police chief Chris Magnus went further: He actually joined protesters this week. When about 100 demonstrators assembled downtown on Tuesday, Magnus stood with them, in full police gear, carrying a sign reading #BlackLivesMatter. "I spoke with my command staff, and we agreed it would be nice to convey our commitment to peaceful protest and that black and brown lives do matter," Magnus told the Contra Costa Times.
In both cities the protests ended with no violence and a great PR coup for police officers.
You know, somewhat to my surprise, I'm actually like the new protest tactic of shutting down roads. When you're protesting you want to make a scene. If you want to protest, standing in a barricaded corral doesn't cut it. The question is what kind of scene. And breaking windows and burning shit is good for nobody. So let's let protesters shut down a road for a bit. What's the big deal?
Keeping roads open is a strange line-in-the-sand for police departments to draw. Sure it sucks to be stuck in a traffic jam for an hours. But so what? Traffic jams cause you to be stuck in traffic. Traffic accidents shut down roads and freeways. So does the occasional marathon. So do, I should point out, police funerals.