Thursday, August 28, 2008

Law and order

The last thing Guy Still saw before his encounter with officers of the MPD Special Operations Division (Photo: Guy Still)Photo: The last thing Guy Still saw before his encounter with officers of the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Division (Photo: Guy Still)

"Speak softly and carry a big stick." —Teddy Roosevelt

This morning, KMSP-TV aired an interview with "aspiring photographer" Guy Still. MPR's Tim Nelson identified him, at Still's request, as simply a "former journalist." Whomever he is, Still was allegedly roughed up by Minneapolis police when his seemingly innocent photo safari strayed to the MPD special ops division building on the city's north side.

Meanwhile, MPR's Bob Collins posted a story with Denver police officers twirling hula hoops in the streets, while reporting that "many of the Denver residents I've talked to this week have been unnerved by the sheer size of the police force here."

We've read the reports of the constabulary here being schooled by their civilian leaders in the art of kinder, gentler community policing, even as some protesters, who may substantially outnumber law enforcement, plan civil disobedience and worse for our fair Twin Cities next week. Yet the overwhelming show of force displayed in Denver this week during the Democratic National Convention has without doubt discouraged widespread mayhem there.

Visitors and citizens should bear in mind that next week, the Twin Cities will be the focus of probably the most intense security environment in its history. Protesters are planning to push their street theater to the limits and beyond, perhaps infringing on Republicans' right to peaceably assemble, and on others just minding their own business. This is not a drill — or a game. I have faith that local law enforcement will do their duty professionally and lawfully. May they never have to use a "big stick," but I hope that they will have one at the ready just in case.

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