Miami Police Shift Strategy During Protests

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Protesters were on the streets of Miami on Monday for almost six hours, and police say not a single person was taken into custody.

On Sunday, marchers were out almost the same length of time. The only incident was a scuffle at the CVS store across from the AmericanAirlines Arena between protesters and what they said were troublemakers trying to get inside the drug store.

Police and the mayors of Miami and Miami-Dade all have commended the marchers for going into action.

President Donald Trump Monday said he would send in federal troops if governors didn’t handle the situation that has turned violent in some places. In Miami-Dade, Police Director Freddie Ramirez told commissioners that more than 100 federal agents who may have been used aren’t needed and were told to head back to Washington, DC and north Florida by the Marshall in charge.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has already deployed 150 Florida National Guard troops to South Florida to aid police. The law Trump was calling on hasn’t been used since the Rodney King riots in LA three decades ago. Florida International University law professor and former Army helicopter pilot Eric Carpenter says he doesn’t think the president can legally call in the military. 

“Under that statute, he doesn’t have the authority to send the federal military into another state unless that state is in a state of ruin. Their government has to, in essence, completely collapse. Despite what Trump has been saying, I don’t see that he has actually overstepped the law yet,” Carpenter said.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina talked about the strategy they have implemented on Sunday and Monday that limited trouble, despite the large number of people in the marches. The rapid response officers stay out of sight until they are needed to protect critical infrastructure.  

“Otherwise from our own experience, if we set up a skirmish line just because, it’s almost saying, ok it's time to have a confrontation, and that’s not the message we want to put out. We don’t want to have a confrontation. It’s quite the opposite,” Colina said.

"The helicopter that’s above, and all the other cameras around the city let the police keep an eye on what’s taking place with these marches without actually being there. That way the marchers don’t feel like they are being watched or followed, and if the police are needed, we have seen them in mass quickly show up. It's worked the last two days and this is the way going forward," he said.

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