Sunday, September 9, 2012

DNC Review: Big Success for CMPD, Monroe

After thousands of visitors poured into Charlotte for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, both attendees and protesters are considering the event a huge success.

Throughout the convention, law enforcement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, officers from throughout the east coast, and hundreds of Federal agents maintained the peace without having to resort to violent measures. Reports say that the size of Charlotte's street presence, some 1,760 officers deep, nearly doubled for the DNC.

One of the major points of CMPD Chief Monroe's strategy was to maintain an open line of communication with protesters. Police set the tone for the week by allowing protesters to camp out in Marshall Park, which was explicitly prohibited according to city ordinances. Though police monitored the park at all hours, they allowed demonstrators to continue to stay there as long as no violence erupted.

Earlier in the week, police arrested a woman for wearing a mask while marching. Covering one's face by wearing a mask was also prohibited by the special event ordinances. By the middle of the week, however, police showed leniency on this rule by allowing some protesters to march while their faces were covered.

By the time protesters were leaving their camp at Marshall Park, 25 people had been arrested.Sixteen of those arrested found themselves in jail for impeding traffic by sitting in the middle of an uptown intersection. None of the other arrests were for acts of violence.

Nearly every day, police officers on bikes and motorcycles formed mobile roadblocks to keep protest marches from pouring over into Charlotte neighborhoods. Chief Monroe played an active role throughout the week. He was often seen marching with protesters and police, and was seen talking and interacting with protesters.

A common theme with Monroe's DNC strategy seemed to be that as long as demonstrators remained peaceful, it was acceptable to give them space to protest. Although there were several arrests, Monroe's approach undoubtedly worked, as no one was seriously injured, no property was damaged, and the convention was held without a glitch.