Two words: HUMAN BEHAVIOUR
That’s it. It applies to both sides, neither of which have anything close to proper information to make personal decisions. The individual officers do not make the choice to kettle protesters, that is a command given, and the officers would really not know what is happening. They may have some basic info, but not the whole picture. Therefore they ALSO cannot know for sure if their orders are legitimate. The people who are in the kettle ALSO do not know what is really going on. Some might, others won’t, and some will just want to get out. That’s the human behaviour part. If you trap a person, with no chance of them getting out, they will try to get out.
Look at the recent events in London, UK. Police kettled people in Trafalgar Square and the only reported violence in that particular area was AFTER police starting pulling people out of the crowd. This was confirmed by numerous witnesses both inside and outside of the kettle, including members of the media. Yet, on television, the police narrative dominated.
Here, after the G20 Summit, the RCMP presumably trying to distance themselves from the mess that happened released a statement that said they don’t practice kettling and will always leave an escape route for people to leave. Obviously, if the situation warrants taking everyone into custody, they will completely surround the crowd. Why would you leave an exit? Well, because this is ‘lazy’ policing. Catch them all, and then sort it out later. Since you almost ALWAYS get someone who has done nothing wrong (or in the usual case, HUNDREDS) you have to afford those people the chance to leave without being arrested. Otherwise, it’s basically unlawful confinement, which would be pretty serious. The police must be aware that not everyone is ‘eligible’ for arrest. Therefore, they know there are innocent people there, and they have to afford those people a chance to leave.
The only time I’m aware of when they DON’T have to afford the luxury of freedom to leave, is when the ‘event’ is DECLARED an unlawful assembly, or riot. However, there are specific things that must happen if that is to be the case. Specific things that WERE NOT DONE at the G20, like allowing time for people to leave the area, and announcing that to the crowd so that they ALL hear it.
In the G20 handbook given to the Waterloo Regional Police, it states that the reason they acquired the LRAD (Long Range Acoustical Device) was because of an incident of unlawful assembly at Queen’s Park in 2000. I wasn’t there, but I do remember seeing it on TV. No unlawful assembly was declared according to regulations, therefore all the charges had to be dropped as they were based on the unlawful assembly.
Even with all the mistakes that were made that weekend, at least the police didn’t kill anyone. Unlike in London a few years ago when a man named Ian Tomlinson was beaten by the police on his way from work to home. He was kettled between home and work and died on a stoop. Police downplayed it, said he was ‘drunk’ and stumbling around. Which he was, he had already been beaten by the police, and his chest cavity was filling with blood. The beating and blood loss made him stumble and appear drunk. The coroner ruled the death natural. He didn’t perform an autopsy from what it appears as a second coroner brought in by the family found the evidence that he had been beaten and lost an enormous amount of blood. Suffice to say, this refutes the ‘natural’ cause from the first coroner. The inquest has just commenced into his death, after police declined to lay charges on any officer caught on tape beating him, since they could not figure out which officer delivered the fatal blow.
When people are trapped in a situation they do not understand, or comprehend, they will be any combination of things. Scared, frightened, anxious, passive, confused, inability to think clearly. All of this can only lead to fighting back against the officers, leading to injury.
This tactic has been shown time and time again to end in injury. It has to stop. There can be no good reason for something like this to be used.