It’s a fine line between the public’s first amendment right to assembly and law enforcements role to keep the peace.
There have been tense moments between police and protestors following the shooting death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, by two Sacramento Police officers who shot at him 20 times.
Ryan Getty is currently a professor of Criminal Justice at Sacramento State University, but he also spent more than 25 years as a law enforcement officer.
“It was pretty much just safety. Don’t let anyone get hurt,” Getty said. “Whether it’s motorists, protestors, officers.”
Thursday’s protests amassed quickly and took a turn into the streets and interstate, then in front of the Golden 1 Center where demonstrators kept fans from entering. Still, some clashed with police in front of Golden 1. But no arrests were made.
“It’s much easier just to let the small things go and worry about just loss of life, sever injuries, and that kind of stuff,” Getty said.
Getty said in recent years police departments have taken more relaxed approaches to crowd enforcement, much like what was seen recently.
“Today, I’m sure they’ve had some time to reflect and they have much more of a strategic plan,” Getty said.
Today, there was a large law enforcement presence of police on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, in cars, on horses, and in the air. Getty said they wanted to have a clear presence, but they kept their distance.
In the event that something went wrong, he said it’s likely emergency medical, fire, and even SWAT were on standby nearby.